"Growing in gratefulness begins with a desire to change our perceptions. We begin to give up the need always to be right and to be in charge. Not only can we not be grateful for what we are not able to see, how we see shapes what we see. If I choose to ignore my body, which is my primary habitat, I cannot begin to be grateful for it. If I regard my body with disdain, or with shame, I will fail to see its inherent beauty. If I only see what is 'wrong' with my body (too fat or too thin, too young or too old), I fail to celebrate the body as God's own creation. What does it mean that in the United States, even in the midst of a recession, many billions are still spent on cosmetic surgery? Leaving aside reconstructive surgery following accidents or cancer operations, the majority is cosmetic. As a culture, we are willing to spend vast amounts to transform our bodies into the air-brushed photograph on the cover of Vogue or Elle, a statistic pointing toward our deep ambivalence toward these bodies that we have been given for our earthly journey.
"What would change for you if you were able to begin and end the day thanking God for the life of your body, for its steady continuing, for its ability to transform food into energy and breath into life for cells? What if, when beholding yourself in the mirror, you suspended your inner critic and instead asked for eyes to behold your physical self as God does? What if, upon healing from a cold or a stomach ache, you intentionally gave thanks for the body's ongoing ability to recover from the daily assault of viruses and bacteria? I invite you to notice your own embodied life, specifically the life of your unique body. As you begin to notice, you may be open to beholding your own body with the long loving look of the contemplative life. Perhaps you will allow yourself to suspend any attitudes of scorn, negligence or even disgust. Perhaps you will even be able to receive Jesus' counsel, 'Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned' (Luke 6:37)."