(NB I looked at my past few weeks’ posts, and I realized I haven’t written about don Miguel Ruiz’ The Four Agreements Cards. Time to get back on track.)
The card I drew for this post is from the Agreement: Always Do Your Best. The card says:
Love and Nurture Your Body
Your own body is a manifestation of God. And if you honor your body, everything will change for you. Practice giving loved to every part of your body. This will plant seeds of love in your mind, and when they grow, you will love, honor, and respect your body immensely.
I am the last person in the world to know anything about honoring my body. I know very well how not to honor my body; even now, with my best efforts, I still dip into the peanut butter sometimes — usually late at night. In the morning, my blood sugar will soar. As recently as Monday, my nephrologist showed me the difference in my kidney function between when my blood sugar is high, and when it is slow. Two metabolic panels — during the first blood draw, my sugar was 504 — I hadn’t given myself a bolus at breakfast. My creatinine level on that test was 3.3. During the second draw, my blood sugar was 129, and my creatinine, 2.7. Obviously an important difference.
These tests were a month apart, and the rest of my life remained the same during that time. Blood sugar, which I ignored most of my life, apparently affects my kidneys immediately — new information for me, though not a surprise. Knowing this fact, even I would think I’d be careful about my glucose levels. I am managing my diabetes much more successfully, but when my desire for those nighttime snacks distracts me from my strict food plan, I am dishonoring my body, and in the spirit of this Agreement, I have no excuse.
Except that I am doing my best, most of the time. My weakness for nighttime snacking is pervasive, but I have at least changed from candy bars and cookies to fat-free cottage cheese, boiled eggs, and that omnipresent peanut butter fix. By adding more protein, and eating fewer processed carbs at night, I am accomplishing my goal, 160 or less, five mornings out of seven. I can feel some of you cringe at the numbers — 80 to 110 just is not realistic for me, because I still throw up about half the time when my BS is under 100. If I could make that <160 goal all the time, I’d consider myself well and truly controlled.
I cannot claim the right to judge others in this regard, but that doesn’t keep me from noticing the hundreds of ways many of us dishonor our bodies. Another of mine, and one I share with many people, is being overweight. For years and years, I would try any diet I heard of, usually with no luck at all. Now, I realize, my weight is not an embarrassment, nor a judgment on my character or my habits — my weight is part of me, and doing my best in that area, or any area, changes daily. As long as I am doing something at the limit of my talent, my emotions, my behavior, I can expect no more of myself.
My initial reaction to this Agreement was derisive and doubtful at the same time. The perfectionist I grew up to be just knew that I could never do my best, unless I was perfect. And since I couldn’t accomplish perfection, I refused to take the Agreement seriously.
Over the years, my feelings changed. First, I noticed that other people had done their best, in their own circumstances. That knowledge opened the way for me to accept that I did my best, even when my best wasn’t very good. I am still caught up in judging myself and others, at times, but now I see much more quickly that most of us are just trying to get along in life, doing the very best we can.