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On Sunday night I sat on my team’s hockey bench, sucking in air after a long shift. I cursed my body for the poor choices I’ve made when I’ve given in to the addiction of sugar, and the laziness of screens.  I love the game of hockey – the thrill of chasing the puck, confronting an opponent, and being part of the team.  But at times my body holds me back, and at that moment I felt like quitting for not being as fast, as strong or as skilled as some of the other players.

And then I remembered my brother.  And what he would give for lungs that could play hockey, for the chance to be sucking wind on the bench after a tough shift.  I took notice of my breath, of the relief of air entering lungs, and felt my pounding heart slow down and my energy return.

Later that night I lit a candle as a prayer for my brother’s health.  I pictured him playing with his dog, and skating with my niece, and swimming at the cottage.  I cannot wait to see him run.

As gratitude for my body, I wrote these words:

This body is not perfect.

She is marred with scars and stretch marks.

At times she creaks and groans.

I hide her from the lens of cameras and the eyes of others under layers of cloth and shield.

This body is not perfect.

She is not as fast, as swift, as graceful.

At times she huffs and puffs.

I conceal her fatigue and weariness with silent gasps for air, for life.

And yet this body moves.

This body breathes and digests and regenerates.

She can run and play and jump.

She makes rhythm, song and dance.

This body tastes and hears and smells.

She feels my lover’s embrace.

These eyes seek out beauty in its endless forms.

These muscles and bones are strong and able.

These lungs take in air and give oxygen to this blood.

This heart circulates life to each cell.

This body is blessed with health.

She deserves love over judgement, movement over idleness, food over filler.

This body deserves kindness.

This body sustains Life.

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