The Single Days
Back when I was single, my body was my own. I showered by myself, slept by myself and if it wasn't working right, it was mainly my problem and had a minor affect on other people (at the risk of sounding ungrateful, I have been very blessed to have terrific friends that took care of me when I was sick!). What I had for dinner was more a question of convenience than nutrition. I wasn't about to make a huge meal from scratch for just me when mac and cheese was quicker, easier and tasted just fine. Frozen burritos and microwave meals were staples. If I wanted to eat more vegetables, it usually consisted of prebagged salad or something from the freezer or a can.
Of course I still cared about hygiene. I wanted to look and feel presentable for my own sake as well as for those around me. But the products I tried using to fix my oily hair or the scents I used to make me smell nice were still mainly affecting me. Most physical contact with others was limited to brief hand shakes or hugs.
Mawaige, That Bwessed Awangement
Then one day I got married and suddenly I'm not my own person any more. I belong to my husband, and everything I do affects him as well as me. My morning and bedtime routines aren't only mine anymore. If I'm going to be using any scented stuff, it had better be husband friendly and physical contact is no longer limited to a brief handshake or hug.
The food I make isn't just for myself and I need to think about its effect on someone else too. Since I knew my husband had a higher standard for what he ate, I knew I would need to be changing my habits. I also figured it made a lot more sense for me to finally start eating healthier rather than trying to drag him down to my level. It has always been easier to make a more substantial meal if I'm making it for more than just myself, so the transition was (and still is) mainly in learning how to cook food so it is tasty. It has still been a gradual process, and when we were both working our meals were often less complicated than they are now when I can start prepping any time of day.
There Is Something Growing Inside Of Me!
Becoming pregnant brought on a big paradigm shift (I hear that it does that for a lot of people). Now everything that went into my body was going into another body. My husband could always choose whether he wanted to eat what I made for dinner or if he had the same lunch as me. He could share his input on what he wanted to eat. But our baby didn't get any say in the matter. Thankfully I didn't have to try to cut out any big habits like smoking, drinking or drugs, but I was still concerned about what was going into my body. Even when I didn't want to care, my husband would gently remind me "Is that really a good idea? Even if it won't bother you, there is someone else that gets to eat it too."
Being completely responsible for sustaining another life- one much smaller, more helpless and totally dependent- definitely made me think about some of my habits and how I treated my body differently than I ever had before. Some people are able to take care of their bodies when it is just them and no one else is dependent on them, but having a baby was a total game changer for me.
Growing Our Family
Once Critter was on the outside, he was still completely dependent on my for survival, but I had to take an even more active role than while I was pregnant. He was still getting everything that went into my body, but now it was through milk rather than the umbilical cord. I also started being more concerned about what was on the outside of me. Just because I enjoyed things that smelled nice to me didn't mean that his brand new system would like it. In fact, I was pretty sure that smelling blackberry vanilla wasn't nearly as important to him as smelling mommy, and I wasn't sure I wanted blackberry vanilla on him. I started to question soaps, shampoos and everything I was putting on or in my body. I didn't want to be worried if he was cuddled close to me or chewed on my hair.
As a side note, a few months after he was born, I decided to ditch shampoo and conditioner. I often found that my hair would be more oily right after washing it than it was a few days later. I could fix this, but every time I moved, I had to figure out a new formula depending on the water we had. While my hair still isn't perfect, it is far better after not having used shampoo in over a year than it was fresh out of the shower when I did. Plus, I can have Critter join me in the shower and I don't need to worry about anything questionable getting on him (and he isn't left free to terrorize the house either).
My Body Has Never Been My Own
Now really, on my journey to crunchiness who my body belongs to hasn't really changed. Even before I belonged to my husband or my son, I was God's.
"What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s." (1 Cor. 6:19-20)
This is part of why I believe in the law of chastity (which I wrote about before). It is part of the reason I only have one set of piercings and no tattoos. I know that I have been bought with a price. That price is the same no matter what I do, and the price has already been paid. I have agency and I can choose to live however I like, but my choices affect a lot more than just me. I also know that I am accountable for living up to the knowledge I have. I don't think the application of this principle is the same for everyone. But I do feel like I have learned some things that are important for me and my family to focus on and apply.
The nearest temple building to where I live now is in a nearby valley. Being Utah, that valley is often filled with questionable air quality and smog. The temple isn't immune to the pollution in the air and sometimes the stones will look dirty because of it. But rain comes from time to time and washes it clean, and if the rain doesn't do a good job, there are other ways to keep the exterior clean, and the temple is shut down a few times a year so that it can be thoroughly cleaned on the inside (and by thorough, I mean that they lower the chandeliers and polish each and every crystal individually).
I can't avoid all the bad things in the world, no matter how hard I try. But it is better to be where I need to be, doing what I need to be doing than for me to be in pristine condition somewhere else. It would be easy to build temples in remote locations that are far from polluted air and would never be dirtied by muddy feet coming in from the rain. But that isn't the purpose of the temple, and that isn't the purpose of life. The point is to find out what is necessary to make the temple a place that the Holy Ghost can dwell. Individual application of this principle can be sought through study and prayer. Our family feels that eating more whole foods and avoiding many toxic household products is an answer to this. Some people do much more than us, others do much less and still have good results. Don't forget that when Israel left Egypt, they built a traveling tabernacle to meet their needs as they traveled. It wasn't the same as Solomon's temple, but it served the same purpose and was much better suited to their situtaion.
A Word About Foot Zoning
One of the things our family has been learning about is natural healing. I recently took a class from Family Foot Reflexology that gave me tons of great knowledge and some great tools to take home and use with my family. If you want to learn more about what it is, click here. It is another witness to me that God's plan is perfect and that He has given us everything we need to help ourselves and our families. In a nutshell, your entire body is mapped out onto your foot, and if a place in your body is ailing, it can be identified in your foot. After identifying the problem, you can use tools to help trea the ailment. For example, last night, my jaw was bothering me. I rubbed the spot on my foot that correlates with the jaw and sure enough, it was tender and I could feel triggers there. I rubbed it for a while, then rubbed some oils into it and this morning it feels just fine. This course has given me some amazing tools to help myself, my family, and my friends and I personally feel that this is part of what God expects from me in taking care of my body and treating it as a temple. While it isn't for everyone, it can be amazing tool and I'm really glad a friend shared it with me. If you are interested in learning more, getting a foot zone or signing up for a class let me know and I'll tell you more about it! This post isn't meant to be just a plug for foot zoning, but I feel like I would be remiss if I didn't include it in here with my other musings.
What methods are you using to take care of your body? Does my confusion of affect and effect drive you crazy?