Exploring the body vital

Our bodies are with us throughout our lives

to  help us experience ourselves

and the world around us

They show us the limits of our experience

yet represent the starting point

of our boundless potential

I had the chance to visit the BODY WORLDS Vital exhibit yesterday in Louisville for a creepy, intimate, and illuminating look inside the human body.  I’m sure I would have found it intriguing no matter what — these are actual human bodies, preserved and displayed in a way to show you how your insides all work — but a week after coming too close to being a specimen myself, I was especially fascinated.

The body’s muscles, laid bare

Bodies were positioned to show them in motion — running, dancing, lassoing, and this beautiful scene of a man lifting a woman over his head.

I don’t think often enough about what’s going on inside my body. It’s there, it does its job, and only when I am in panic mode do I pause to wonder just what’s going on. In the hospital with rhabdo, statistically speaking I had something like a one in 12 chance of my body shutting down permanently because of kidney failure. I doubt I’d ever even given my kidneys a passing thought before. I got to see what kidneys actually look like yesterday, and read with way more interest than I ever paid in science class, that the body’s entire volume of blood passes through them 15 times an hour.

It’s a marvel that we function from minute to minute, let alone the decades that most of us have here.  I got to talk this week with one of my favorite writers, Andrew Pham, a man who has biked the length of Vietnam (you should read his book about it – Catfish and Mandala) and he said that he wants to be the 80-year-old guy still running and swimming. This is the kind of wisdom I’m trying to instill in my frenetic little brain.

I’ve no interest in blaming or torturing myself for being hurt working out, but I do have only myself to hold accountable for not letting it happen again. If I tear down everything that is so carefully constructed in my body before I’m even 40, I won’t be able to use my body for its born intent – to experience the world.

We’re born to move and I want to keep moving.


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