Yesterday, for the very first time, our Jack Russell Terrier brought his beloved tennis ball into the kitchen and nosed it towards my feet. Yesterday, for the very first time, Sparky passed the ball so that I could pass it back. Yesterday, Sparky played with me.
If you’re reading this and wondering why this is such a big deal ~ it’s a big deal because JRTs are traditionally the premier league footballers of the canine world. And yet, when we picked up Sparky from the local rescue kennels a year ago, he didn’t even know what a ball was for. In fact, he was afraid of balls. He was afraid of alot of things : loud noises, sudden movement, being abandoned. If he thought he’d done something wrong, he immediately took himself off to hide.
Over the past year, we’ve watched Sparky closely. We’ve worked hard to understand what he’s trying to tell us. We’ve spent plenty of time with him and made him feel a very welcome part of the family. We wouldn’t be without him : he even came on honeymoon with us! We’ve rewarded him, we’ve comforted him and we’ve encouraged him. We’ve learned what he loves the most – walking , smelling things, snuggling and being close. And we give him those things because we love him.
And yet in this past year, Sparky has still been wary of us. He’s still been nervous. We can understand that ~ he’s a rescue dog and we’ll never really know his history and how he came to be in our local pound. So yesterday was a really big deal in our house because Sparky trusted us enough to know that we wouldn’t take the ball away from him (it’s a closely guarded treasure that is never far from his paws).
As he gently nudged the ball to me, he looked me straight in the eye. He waited to see what would happen. I nudged it back. He returned it to me straight away. This wasn’t wild, haring JRT fun (which is his usual style), this was something gentle. This was about connection and trust. And it was a deeply moving moment.
So what’s all this got to do with you, your body and your weight? Well. Here’s the thing. If you’re reading this, chances are that you’ve been “battling” with your weight for quite some time. Chances are you may not have cared for your body in the optimum way. You may not have exercised it , you may have overfed it, you may have stressed it, you may have loathed it, you may have wished it wasn’t yours. In short, there may have been times when you wished you could have left your body in the local pound!
And here you are today and you’re ready to lose weight. In other words, you’re at the point of picking the dog up from the pound. A dog that’s been neglected and hurt ; a dog that’s had its trust broken ; a dog that hasn’t been listened to ; a dog that just hasn’t been allowed to be a dog! [Sorry for being a little direct here but I’m just going to say it how it is. I’ve been guilty of exactly the same crime and it wasn’t until I acknowledged that the “bad guy” in all of this was not my body, that I was able to make peace with my body and lose weight]
So – here it comes. Brace yourself : if you want a healthy relationship with your body, there’s some stuff you need to do. If you want the rewards from the relationship, you have to be prepared to re-build the relationship with your body and rebuild the trust. And it might take time. And that relationship will require nurturing and supporting for the rest of your life.
And listen. It may not go as smoothly as you’d hoped at first. It might take a while to understand your body’s communications, its needs, wants and desires. It may take a while for your body to trust you again – and it might take you a while to come to terms with your role in the original breakdown of the relationship.
But one day, your body will pass you the ball and the joy that passes between you in that moment will create the kind of alignment required to live a healthy, active, nourishing life which is good for every single inch of you : mind, body and soul.
Now is your opportunity to make the connection with your body and to welcome it back into the family. Show it compassion. Show it love. Let it be close, let it be comforted, let it be fed, let it play, let it rest and let it choose when it’s ready to pass you the ball.
A healthy relationship between mind and body is key to maintaining a healthy weight in the longer term. And in that relationship, trust is a must 🙂
© Jane Talbot 2013