I have a small hymn to sing in praise of my body. It has carried me so far, through so many roles, so many seasons, so many experiences. It took me on a jog (really more of a walk) this morning. It heals itself. In healing itself it heals me. My body shows me my limits and teaches me to rest. I broke my toe a month ago and hobbled around with a swollen bruised foot and now, just weeks later, I can put on my shoes and pound the pavement. How does it work? What magic? It comes together. The cells align. The body heals. I had surgery on January 31. They split open my abdomen from pelvis to belly button to remove a 9-pound ovarian cyst. I got a radical hysterectomy as a bonus. They found cancer cells, and if my body had not created a cyst and demanded a surgery, we would never have known about those cells, those ovarian cancer cells, waiting, sinister. I could have been dead by the time we knew something was wrong. Did my body create a cyst as warning? Or did the cyst come into being because of the cancer cells? I don’t know. I only know that I could be dead. I could have left my four young children without a mother. I have a thick pink line running down my middle to tell me this story every day. I AM HERE. I AM ALIVE. My 37-year-old body has borne four children into this world. It has pudge and cellulite and aches and pains and stretch marks. I love it. It is the tool of my most meaningful interactions: snuggles, hugs, kisses, intimacy, the casual hand on a shoulder speaking, the leaning in of heads during shared conversation, the meeting of eyes that understand, the creasing of a smile, the sound of laughter, the surrendered feel of weeping, all the beautiful overwhelming emotions of this life rise up in these physical cells, bearing me forward, carrying me from one moment to the next. Blessings on you, body. Blessings on all of us in this existence. We are here. We are alive. We are blessed. We are beautiful. We are whole.

Annie Mueller @Annie