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For most of my life I have thought my mind much more important than my body. I appreciated my mind because I liked school—I was good at it. Well, I was good at most of it. Gym class was always painful. As a chubby kid, there were many things that I just couldn’t do well and, some things that I couldn’t do at all. (I never managed to get over that damn pommel horse for example and, a personal regret of mine, I could never do a cartwheel. I guess it’s too late now —next life.)
Since my mind worked reasonably well and earned me praise from others, while my body only seemed to garner their disdain, it’s not surprising that I did everything I could to improve my mind and I left my body to its own devices. I actually often told people that my body’s only purpose was to prop up my head and keep my brain alive.
I’ve been rethinking that philosophy in recent weeks. It seems not only shortsighted, but just plain wrong. I now realize that while I have worked to develop my brain, I have left my body completely “ignorant.” My body is the physical equivalent of an illiterate, uneducated adult and it’s my fault. Now it’s my job to get it the remedial education it needs, so that it can fulfill its potential.
Can you tell I’m an educator? The analogy may be strained, but it resonates with me. I am now starting to give my body the attention that it deserves, and to my great relief, despite decades of neglect, it is responding!