My body is tough. Like really tough. It took a shit-kicking for years and it kept coming back for more. I pumped it full of drugs and alcohol, gnarly food and “herbal cleanses” for decades and it kept showing up for me.

I tried to turn my body inside out. I forced it through spin classes and dumb bell kick-backs (two more accurately named activities I have never found). I squeezed it into compression garments and push-up bras, like a toddler dressing up the family dog. I prodded it resentfully onto the bathroom scales every morning, never truly satisfied, no matter what the number.

And still…still it showed up for me.

My body loves me like nothing else on this earth, while I have tried my hardest to deny that love. My body has only ever wanted the best for me. It has been infinitely patient with my knocking about, trying everything in my power to make it into some thing it could never really be.

Yet it has never resented my attempts to alter it. It has never wished for me to be anything other than what I already am.

It’s love for me has never wavered to this very day. And finally, I have had to begin to admit a reluctant affection for her in return.

Like one of those ridiculous movies where a cop and his prisoner, through some arbitrary plot device, find themselves shackled together, I recently began to see my body through a lens of grudging, tentative courtesy.

“You’re not so bad, I guess” I seemed somehow able to admit one day a few years ago.

And my body, being the wise creature that she is, didn’t push. She just stayed steady as she goes. Remaining that same loving, unwavering presence she has always been. There was no celebration. No rushing delight.

And it was that steadfast, unhurried, open love for me, just as I am, that became my invitation to connect with her. I began to sit at her feet, just to listen, eager for her wisdom, hungry for her calm, steady presence.

Buddhist nun and spiritual teacher, Pema Chödrön once wrote, “You are the sky, everything else is just the weather.” I see now that my body is my sky. She always has been. She can hold everything in me and remain unaltered.

As I grasp this, a profound sense of debt wells up in me. The rabid dog of my self-regard fights an impulse to offer some sort of abasement or penance to my body for insulting, neglecting, and disregarding her for so long. I feel ashamed of how I’ve treated her.

But when I come back to my place at her feet, leaning into her stillness, I appreciate the complete absurdity of that impulse to atone.

My body is not punitive. She is forgiving. What’s more, she knows that nothing exists outside of the right now, so thoughts of penitence and punishment or apologies owed are just that: just thoughts.

My body has no use for my thoughts. They are just the weather.