What if we approached the care of the body more like cooking?
Many conditions affect the meal and the cooking process: the ingredients, the temperature, the knowledge of the cook, the altitude, humidity, the equipment, etc. When you are cooking, you make minor tweaks to the conditions continually. You add an ingredient, and then you taste it to see how that changed things. You may put a thermometer in it, take the temperature, adjust it slightly, wait and see how that sits. You stir it, and you give it some attention, then you let it sit. You recheck it (you repeatedly inquire), you have to stay present.
And we don’t expect that at every step of the meal prep that it’s going to taste amazing and be perfect. It’s not always good. At some stages in the process, it probably looks and tastes terrible. And then for a brief moment, when it’s complete- it may be amazing, it may look and taste perfect. So we eat it, and then it’s gone. And we start all over with the next meal. Over and over again, it is a process- changing and evolving.
A common misconception that gets us into trouble when it comes to our bodies is that we should always feel good. We operate in this space where we need to fix it and make it go away if we are hurting, sad, low on energy, or having a bad day. We believe we should somehow always sit in
this magical place of feeling good and happy. However, that is not the reality of life. Take nature, for example; there is no constant state. The sun is not always shining. The flowers are not always in bloom. There are seasons, and there are ebbs and flows. It, too, is a process- changing and evolving.
The same is true in our bodies. Our systems ebb and flow; they change every moment of every day. We are not stagnant beings, we are constantly shifting and evolving and course correcting. At some stages, we may feel terrible or look terrible, and at times we may feel and look amazing.
Can we embrace the idea of repetitive inquiry? Can we get in the habit of checking in (inquiring) ALL THE TIME, over and over again- like when you are cooking? At any moment- taking the temperature of our system, then adjusting, making minor tweaks. Taking into account all the conditions that affect our system- did I get enough sleep? Have I been eating well, drinking enough water? How is my stress level? How much activity have I done/not done?
Can we get curious? Can we pay attention? Can we repetitively inquire?
When you are paying attention, if you can stay present, you may stop doing push-ups after the 20th rep when your shoulder tells you it’s had enough. You may get up from your desk to stretch when your back starts hurting. If you can engage in repetitive inquiry, you can turn down the temperature a bit and keep your meal on track before everything burns!