I don’t find the body scan easy. It is easier if i am well rested and feel good about myself. I grew up in a world of body shaming. There wasn’t a part of my body that was not criticized and attempts made to alter the flaws. I sometimes wonder if those who were valued as children have an easier time. And of course at this time of my life, there is the aging body.
I have discovered that when practicing the body scan, if i am carried away on a wave of self criticism, i can make a couple of choices. The first is to explore where the message came from and if it is valid. It only takes seconds for me to realize that it is not true and that i am fine just the way i am. The second way i can deal with the small self-critical voice is to switch my focus.
If it is a practice where i am tired and feel vulnerable and i can’t seem to let go of the messages, it is OK to move out of the body scan and interject some modified metta phrases or revert of a focusing on my breath. After all, it is my practice. Generally speaking it only takes a couple of loving phrases or a few breaths for me to come back to the body.
I am a long way from being totally free from the past and my body will continue to age. Despite that, now that i have developed some tools for managing the messages, I find the body scan easier. Some days when the practice ends, i realize i have made it from head to toe without interruption. When i recognize this, it feels like i have just given myself a big hug!