Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Body...The Essence

“Eventually you will see that the real cause of problems is not life itself. It's the commotion the mind makes about life that really causes problems.” Michael Singer

Who are you?

I’ve been reading a fabulous book entitled “The Untethered Soul.” This question is posed early on in the book. Much of what the book brings to light isn’t what you are, but what you are not.

Fifteen years ago if you had asked me that question I would have come back with a whole host of responses. “I’m Molly. I’m a runner. I’m a woman. I’m a terrible cook. I’m messy. I’m married. I am an educator.” That list could go on and on.
Today when asked that question I would comfortably land on a response that back then would have appeared meaningless and frankly, I’d have thought, a little bit “whoo whoo.”

Who am I? I respond simply “I am.”

The older I get the more aware I become of how often we define ourselves by the physical forms, circumstances and people around us. “I am fit. I am rich. I am married.”

The interesting thing to consider, though, is the same person who can now say that “I am the founder of Girls on the Run, I am 49 years old and I am single” was at one time the same person who said, “I race road bikes, I am 35 years old and I am married.” The form, circumstances and people in our lives change, but the one constant is the me inside there, going along for the ride.

Take a look in the mirror sometime. Sure…you see a body, some eyes, the reflection of the room behind you…but down inside the physical form reflected in the mirror…lives the YOU inside of there. The you that stays constant, is forever present and knowing life through the experience we call being human.

When I focus on the me in there, an internal kind of giggle bubbles up. When I stop thinking, I can literally feel the essence of the me riding around inside. Call me crazy, but the incessant talk that goes on all the time (yes we all have it)…well…someone has to listen to it. Who listens? I do…the I that never changes. The I inside. The I hitching a ride for the length of time my body is in existence. The thoughts change because of the context, experiences and circumstances around me, but the me who listens, never does.

To experience the essence of you...try this small experiment this week. When referencing your body, remove the possessive from your sentence. For example, instead of saying “I am tired,” try saying “the body is tired.” Instead of saying “I feel hungry,” say “the body feels hungry.”

Women, in our culture, identify so much of our essence, being, selves with the body. See how you respond or don’t respond when you say “the body is stuffed” rather than “I am stuffed.” See what happens when you say “the head hurts” rather than “I have a headache.”

The need to identify ourselves with the physical form slips away and we can more objectively observe the body as something to experience, nurture, care for and appreciate. We no longer identify our worth with the physical.

This ability to observe how we internalize, bring in and identify with the messages of the outside world is at the core of what Girls on the Run is all about. We help girls to become “the boss of their own brains.” We give girls the tools to step back from the whirling world around and examine with open eyes, the messages they not only receive from “out there”, but turn into those they hear on the inside. The outside world requires that we fill in the blank “I am…”with a descriptor of our physical manifestation whereas Girls on the Run gives girls the freedom to not only NOT fill in the blank but remove the blank altogether and simply know the joy of being.

This is deep stuff. I’m not sure I would have “gotten it” when I was younger…heck even just a year ago. But I’d like you to give it a try. Lean into it. Trust the process. Let me know how speaking of your body in the third person feels. Does it make you laugh? Does it feel weird? Does it allow you to see that you are NOT your body, but the spirit that resides within? Does the body become something you appreciate? Let me know at


  1. Oh, Molly, what an interesting exercise. I love considering how I am not how I would have defined myself at other times in my life. I'll be thinking about this a lot.

  2. Molly - I have been reading this blog for a while - thank you for writing it, thank you for sharing your thoughts and is wonderful!

  3. Molly,
    What a great idea! I just found out two weeks ago that I am pregnant and I vow to myself to be positive about my ever changing body throughout this pregnancy. I will continue to nourish my body and exercise to give the best start to my baby. But I believe there should not be an ounce of negativity during this amazing miracle!