Proof of Life: Physical Wholeness

a 6-part series on the dimensions of wholeness …
to activate you in your life + leadership


Three years ago, my husband and the father of my four children died suddenly. His proof of life ended. The anger and anxiety of grief were too much to bear.

Less than two weeks after he died, I sat down to lace up my gym shoes and told my mom I was going for a run. That warm day in December 2017, I wept my way through mile after mile; my first workout as a widow. In the months that followed, I would keep running and keep weeping, letting my grief run its course through my body.

I had run on the cross-country team my senior year of high school but had only run a mile here and there in the 20 years that followed. I had been pregnant six times, losing two babies. I gained weight, didn’t care much about my nutrition, rarely got enough sleep, and could never adhere to a routine of moving my body. My physical wholeness suffered and was sporadic and unintentional at best.

I took my proof of life – MY BODY – for granted.

When you bury your husband, something happens to your own proof of life. Something happens to the value of bodies.

By June of 2018, I had racked up miles I never believed I would and knew this was a turning point for how I would approach my temple going forward. Not only did the loss of my husband’s life make life more valuable and more sacred to me, but I was now operating at 50% capacity in the parenting department. Only one of us left standing, which meant that this body was responsible for staying alive and healthy.

I had to get healthy immediately.

I ran my first Chicago marathon with Team World Vision in October 2018. I could not believe I finished 26.2 miles – and before the sun went down, no less! Running gave me an outlet for my physical anger, rage, sadness, anxiety, fear, confusion, and lament that grief brought into my life. Eventually, it also became an avenue to physical wholeness, and I pressed into new goals and continued to reach them.

Little did I realize there was so much more to my physical wholeness up ahead!

Three marathons later, I found myself in a Spiritual Leadership Coaching certification training with Ezer + Co. I was complaining about how I still hadn’t lost the weight I thought I would after training for and running three marathons! What gives?!

My coaching trainers, April and Hendre, lovingly challenged me to assess my mind, my thoughts, my history, my choices, my feelings, my insecurities, my fears, and my lies.

The lies I had told myself for years about my body kept me stuck.

My physical wholeness was tangled up in thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that have never served me.

Being coached through that process was a life-changing event that will ripple through this body for the rest of my days.

For the first time in my life, I am claiming my responsibility for caring for my body 100%, and I am not turning back.

The privilege of caring for my body wholly required me to forgive myself for all the ways I’ve mistreated it, judged it, and shamed it over the years.

I couldn’t take steps forward into my new physical wholeness journey until I had acknowledged the truth about how I didn’t love myself and forgive myself for such deep betrayal. Forgiveness of self was the beginning of physical wholeness for me.

There are a million more things I could say about physical wholeness and why it’s crucial.

The bottom line is that living and leading with wholeness requires 100% honesty with yourself.

Being coached in the most tender places of my soul brought transformation. As I live and lead, I am confident that this body is authentically giving its absolute best, even on the days that I miss my goals! The beauty of a body that is whole is that it knows its value does not come from success or failure in any one arena of wholeness, but rather genuinely believes its intrinsic value of reflecting its Creator.

Being physically whole does not cancel out struggle. To struggle is to be human. Physical wholeness is the mindset and framework with which we can approach struggle, hard work striving to meet goals, rising and falling in our journey towards greater physical wholeness. It is a lens through which we can view all that we do with our bodies, both in work and pleasure.

Physical wholeness begins in our sleep, nutrition, and movement patterns – AND our thoughts, beliefs, emotions -because our bodies are our fundamental source of life.

I’m claiming a 10 on the physical wholeness scale today, and it’s not because I’m a perfect weight, size, or look. It’s because I’m fully participating in my physical wholeness journey. I have authentically embraced the in-depth process of loving myself and seeking physical wholeness every day forward. That is my proof of life!

What about you, sister?

On a scale of 1-10, how are you participating in your physical wholeness? Your body is your proof of life. You are worth the investment.

Ezer + Co. - Melissa Sogavo

Melissa Sogavo

Certified Coach

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