luke in labyrinth

"The body is the only thing you own. It’s the only thing you have a total right to work on. It’s the only thing that will bring you absolute results without any other outside addition. There’s nothing you can name that will do that." - Gregge Tiffen in Open Secrets: The Hidden Worth of New Wealth (

Inspired by reading more of Gregge Tiffen’s work, yesterday morning I woke to being curious about my body, so I decided, just for the day, to pay attention to what I ask of it. The first 10 minutes alone set the stage for a day of wonder and the emergence of deep reverence and gratitude.

I promise this post isn’t a biology lesson (my least favorite subject in school and one I came close to flunking), but along the way, my curiosity led me to look up a few facts. I learned that the body has approximately 640 muscles (though there is some debate about the exact number) and 206 bones (208 if you count the sternum as three). Those count for only a portion of the billions (some say trillions) of cells that make up each physical body on the planet.

Scientific fact aside, I came to a deeper awareness of my body as an awe-inspiring creation in terms of what it is capable of: movement, food processing, sight, taste, touch, speaking, hearing (just to list a few!). Can even the most complex of man’s creations come close to that? To add to the wonder, each of us has one of these amazing creations. It is ours, and ours alone, to use.

Just how much I take my body for granted began to come clear by the time my first foot touched the floor when I got out of bed. By that time I’d directed my body to open eyes; stretch each arm, leg, and my torso; sit up; swing legs over the side of the bed. Then, to stand, to take a step, and another, and …

Ten minutes or so later having brushed my teeth, built a fire, made a cup of tea and settled into my morning quiet time, the wonder was building. I looked at my hands in awe of their role in my life. I thought of my little feet and their ability to hold me upright as I move through the day. Although I don’t to push my body to athletic limits, I do demand that it move through each day’s events. Some days – like those when I was schlepping rocks up to the labyrinth site, shoveling snow, or hiking high up in the mountains – I ask more than others. With only a rare groan, my body complies.

My experiment yesterday brought me to a place of deeper appreciation, reverence, and gratitude for this body and all that it does. It also brought a sense of deepened responsibility and possibility: responsibility to care for it in perhaps some new ways, certainly with more awareness, direction and purpose; and possibility for the results that are certain to follow.