Today I gave myself a pedicure.
It’s something I’ve been telling myself I’d do for weeks — even possibly months! — because I’m hard on my feet and have a tendency to develop callouses easily. But it takes time to care for my feet, so I’ve been putting it off.
Just after I got started, the phone rang. It was Kirk, checking in while he was grabbing lunch. We talked for a few minutes, but then he needed to hang up and said he’d call back shortly.
So I decided to wait on the pedicure treatment until he called back.
I sat on the side of the bathtub with wet, soapy feet and checked in on Facebook.
There, I discovered a trail of status updates by a friend who is attending a conference that includes a panel discussion of pacifism vs. the just war theory. You may or may not know that I began studying nonviolence and peacemaking about four and a half years ago, so I was quite interested in the views my friend had begun sharing about the conference.
And I dove right into the discussion.
Thirty minutes later, I still had wet, soapy, un-pedicured feet.
But the dialogue had absolutely lit me up. I love thinking about nonviolence — what it means, what it looks like, how it finds a home inside our daily lives, what it means concerning the broader world, how it interacts with politics and nations and citizenship and humanity.
I sat there on the bathtub edge and connected, once again, with my conviction about the dignity of every human person, about the power of love to overcome and transform violence, about the spark of God in every person that causes me to honor them and seek to never do them harm.
(I am by no means a guru at this.)
When I picked up the loofah and began sudsing my feet again, I kept thinking about my nonviolence convictions. And then as I rubbed my feet and ankles with my peppermint foot scrub, my thoughts turned toward the care I was demonstrating toward my feet in that very instant.
As I ran the hot water over my feet, washing the suds and pumice granules away, I began to realize something: the two — nonviolence and the body — are actually connected.
If I’m so keen to care for and honor my neighbor, no matter who they are, should I not also honor and care for my own body?
Perhaps caring for the body has something to do with the “do no harm” principle.
I’m doing my body harm when I feed it junk food. But conversely, I’m treating it with love when I feed it living foods, when I do yoga, when I take the time to pedicure my feet and them smooth their skin with lotion.
Can I regard my body the way I seek to regard other human beings? Shouldn’t the nonviolence principle also apply to myself?
What are your thoughts on the “do no harm” principle as applied to your body?