These Arms

Yoga philosophy encourages the practitioner to regard oneself with love and compassion – in the present moment-as is. Not when ten pounds lighter or ten pounds stronger, but today. Now. Conversely, marketing crusaders aspire to have us mired in a morass of deficits: not tall enough, not light enough, not smooth enough, not strong enough, not young enough, not them enough.

Age and wisdom, and a philosophy that views life from a perspective of abundance rather than want, all persuade me to cultivate gratitude instead.

Consider arms, for instance. Mine are just average arms, but these are really good arms. They can move in almost every direction at will and have conveniently grown in proportion to the rest of my body for a lifetime. They can immobilize themselves when strained, and heal themselves when lacerated.

They have never broken or cracked under pressure, and have never needed a replacement part. They have lifted, pushed, and pulled thousands of pounds so far. They have climbed trees, opened doors, lifted boxes, rocked babies, swum laps, moved furniture, cooked meals, cleaned houses, stacked books, pulled weeds, hung curtains, and paddled canoes.

My arms have been getting the job done for sixty-two years now.

I can’t think of a machine that is as versatile or lasts this long without maintenance. Can you?

It’s pretty amazing when you consider it that way, right?

I think so, too.

If I sense a descent toward depreciation of self in mind or heart, I have only to look down at my somewhat seasoned, still-as-strong-as-ever arms and I shake it off. I smooth a bit of lotion on them for good measure, and stride out the door in gratitude.

Hey! Have I told you about my legs?

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