The Wisdom of Your Body

Finding Healing, Wholeness, and Connection through Embodied Living

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Pub Date 12 Oct 2021 | Archive Date 07 Jan 2022

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Many of us have a complicated relationship with our body.

Maybe you've been made to feel ashamed of your body or like it isn't good enough. Maybe your body is riddled with stress, pain, or the effects of trauma. Maybe you think of your body as an accessory to what you believe you really are--your mind. Maybe your experiences with racism, sexism, ableism, heterosexism, ageism, or sizeism have made you believe your body isn't the right kind of body. Whatever the reason, many of us don't feel at home in our bodies. But being disconnected from ourselves as bodies means being disconnected from truly living and from the interconnection that weaves us all together.

Psychologist and award-winning researcher Hillary McBride explores the broken and unhealthy ideas we have inherited about our body. Embodiment is the way we are in the world, and our embodiment is heavily influenced by who we have been allowed to be. McBride shows that many of us feel disembodied due to colonization, racism, sexism, and patriarchy--destructive systems that rank certain bodies as less valuable, beautiful, or human than others. Embracing our embodiment can liberate us from these systems. As we come to understand the world around us and the stories we've been told, we see that our perspective of reality often limits how we see and experience ourselves, each other, and what we believe is Sacred. Instead of the body being a problem to overcome, our bodies can be the very place where we feel most alive, the seat of our spirituality and our wisdom.

The Wisdom of Your Body offers a compassionate, healthy, and holistic perspective on embodied living. Weaving together illuminating research, stories from her work as a therapist, and deeply personal narratives of healing from a life-threatening eating disorder, a near-fatal car accident, and chronic pain, McBride invites us to reclaim the wisdom of the body and to experience the wholeness that has been there all along. End-of-chapter questions and practices are included.

Many of us have a complicated relationship with our body.

Maybe you've been made to feel ashamed of your body or like it isn't good enough. Maybe your body is riddled with stress, pain, or the effects...

Advance Praise

“No single leader has impacted my concept of healthy embodiment more than Hillary McBride. Her work fundamentally changed the way I talk about, think about, treat, and cherish my own body. The Wisdom of Your Body is the exact message I wish someone had given me thirty years ago. Perhaps the best endorsement I can offer is that I gave a copy to each of my daughters. This book will help set women free. We will be talking about McBride’s work for decades.”—Jen Hatmaker, New York Times bestselling author of Fierce, Free, and Full of Fire and Of Mess and Moxie; host of the For the Love podcast

“In The Wisdom of Your Body, McBride offers us a clear and practical road map out of the most painful and difficult schism in modern life: the division between people and their own bodies. This is a book offering profound healing and insight—the rare tome that can change not only individual lives but also our world.”—Mike McHargue, host of The Cozy Robot Show and author of You’re a Miracle (and a Pain in the Ass)
“In The Wisdom of Your Body, Hillary McBride offers both permission and practices to get to know who you are in a holistic way. This book is an invitation to look deeper and to live a fully connected and embodied life. These pages are filled with stories you’ll remember, ideas you’ll want to come back to, and gentle reminders of what’s true: even here, there is a way home.”—Morgan Harper Nichols, author of All Along You Were Blooming
“This might be the revolution for which we’ve all been secretly longing. Wise, political, powerful, and deeply healing, The Wisdom of Your Body is a book I will be recommending to everyone. Hillary is such a worthy guide, the kind you can trust in the most dangerous wildernesses of your body and soul and mind. I could not be more grateful for this book.”—Sarah Bessey, author of Jesus Feminist, editor of the New York Times bestseller A Rhythm of Prayer
“As a gay man raised evangelical, I was quick to despise my body and learned to float above it. It is the most important work of my adulthood to not only reconnect with my body but learn that I am my body. This book is the indispensable tool I’ve been looking for. My soul and my body shout: Required reading!”—Jedidiah Jenkins, New York Times bestselling author of Like Streams to the Ocean and To Shake the Sleeping Self
“Soulful. Joyful. Hillary McBride is the gentle and powerful voice that calls us back home to ourselves.”—Kate Bowler, Duke Divinity School; author of Everything Happens for a Reason
“Too many of us have been taught that the body is bad but the spirit is good. I am grateful for Dr. Hillary McBride, who has the ability to bring together both the spirit and the body through research and her personal experience to show us how our body can also be our teacher. The Wisdom of Your Body deftly draws from ancient and contemporary sources to emphasize that if we are connected to our bodies, we are connected not only to community but also to the Divine.”—Richard Rohr, OFM, Center for Action and Contemplation
“If you have ever felt disconnected from your body and wanted to find the way home to yourself, please read this book. McBride’s insights are a gift to us—through tender stories and valuable expertise, we learn the importance of embodiment and what it means to be human. I believe this book can lead us all toward healing.”—Kaitlin Curtice, author of Native: Identity, Belonging, and Rediscovering God
“This book is a gift. A gift filled with wisdom and sound research all eloquently threaded together. This book is also a key for unlocking the unacknowledged mysteries and marvels of the human body and how it connects to everything. McBride is not only informative but encouraging and vulnerable. This will be a book you can’t put down and one you come back to year after year as you relearn the wisdom of your body as it continues to change and grow.”—Arielle Estoria, poet, author, artist
“An essential read for any on the journey of spiritual, mental, or physical wellness. McBride’s teaching and invitation to connect with the wisdom of our bodies changed my life. I’m so grateful her collected insights live in this elegant book.”—Scott Erickson, author of Say Yes: Discover the Surprising Life beyond the Death of a Dream
“Everyone who knows Hillary McBride falls in love with her. She has this magic in her personal life and clinical work that disarms you and suddenly, you’re in love. But the deeper thing is that she gives you insights, keys, and practices to fall in love with yourself. And this is what she does in The Wisdom of Your Body. McBride takes us beyond knowledge and into experience; she explains how we have arrived at our ideas of the body, dismantles those ideas, and lovingly paints a better way. This book and its practices are what our society desperately needs because it creates lasting change at the heart of who we are.”—Lisa Gungor, musician, author, and co-conspirator of Sacred Feminine
“From her opening invitation to the last sentence in The Wisdom of Your Body, McBride holds the reader close with the fierce gentleness of a mother, just as she holds herself. All the while, her words wink at and dare each of us to say a resounding and resonant yes to our bodies—to their sacredness and to their salty, earthy goodness. I believe this work, this vulnerably and brilliantly written book, will create healing ripples in the world for years to come.”—Audrey Assad, artist, author, mother
“Hillary McBride has changed my life through her combination of powerful intelligence and extraordinary tenderness. This masterpiece will awaken us individually to reclaim the wonder, delight, and beauty of our bodies, and collectively to dismantle the systems that have told us otherwise. McBride presents hard science and mind-blowing facts in a compassionate voice that results in a can’t-put-it-down companion for all who are seeking the confidence and self-love we know we’re capable of. McBride has given us a new handbook for embodiment with tools to deepen our relationship with ourselves and to expand our understanding of each other. What a treasure!”—Mari Andrew, author of Am I There Yet?
“Hillary McBride has written us a road map back home. Back into our bodies, which are our true home and our gateway to healing. Reading her words feels like a mixture of the most attentive, attuned doctor sharing deep wisdom and science, a parent expressing loving tenderness and care, and a treasured friend offering camaraderie and communion. McBride’s words are a gift to the world.”—Ruthie Lindsey, speaker and author of There I Am

“No single leader has impacted my concept of healthy embodiment more than Hillary McBride. Her work fundamentally changed the way I talk about, think about, treat, and cherish my own body. The...

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Featured Reviews

Drawing on her doctoral research and clinical work, McBride invites her reader to learn the deep value and embrace the vital practice of embodiment. She lays out, in terms that are easily understandable, how the impact that embodiment or the lack thereof has on all aspects of our health - physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. She offers an enormous amount of compassion as she explains how our socio-cultural history has led so may of us (perhaps nearly all of us) to be disembodied, often without even realizing it. Each chapter concludes with "things to think about" and "things to try", inviting the reader to a posture of curiosity and experimentation, to listen to our bodies and learn what helps us to listen to them and settle into them. Overall, a very helpful book.

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Thank you NetGalley and Brazos for an advanced copy of The Wisdom of Your Body.

Embodiment is a relatively new concept for me, having grown up in a faith tradition that emphatically teaches the body is bad. I wasn’t sure what to expect as I started reading, but as I read I could feel this book helping me change. There were times I could feel the stories and thoughts Hilary shared affecting my body, and that made it hard for me to read in those moments. But the permission is there to take your time. This is not a book to rush through, and certainly it will need to be read again as I can feel my body is still processing. I can see how I am already starting to think differently about the stress response in my body, how I view the role emotions play in giving me guidance, and, how my body is connected to spirituality.

The truths and concepts Hilary shares are incredibly important for anyone who feels the messages (feelings are bad, there is an ideal body, bodies are impure to name a few) we have been given about our bodies continue to cause harm to them. Bodies are good, sacred, and hold so much wisdom. Hilary shows us how we can return to that truth.

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THE WISDOM OF YOUR BODY by Hillary McBride is that rarest of books -- accessible, wise, and so powerfully expressed it stays with you. Versus powerful, lifelong messages and rules that keep us small and isolated, McBride reminds us that we hold the power in our own hands for who we are, how we express ourselves, and how we live well. Gently, compassionately, and lyrically, she reveals the false narratives that are so ubiquitous, unexamined, and seductive that we fail to see them as the limiting, self-serving stories that drive so many to despise themselves and their bodies, to do themselves harm in large and small ways, and to fail to hear that small, still voice within that never ceases imploring us to listen to our own wisdom and act in alignment with our overall, long-term wellbeing. I felt like I'd shared tea and conversation with a wise, witty, funny, and well-spoken friend. I received an advance reader copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review.

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Thank you Dr. McBride for writing this book- one that I want to put into the hands of all my friends! This book gave me a brand new perspective on the relationship between my mind and body. Growing up, I heard quotes and teachings that insinuated the relationship with one's body as unimportant. But Dr. McBride's research and empathetic, considerate prose exposed the unhealthiness of those ideas, which really come down to distrust of one's body. But that trust can be rebuilt to live a healthier life. My favorite quote from the book was "Trust is a process, not an event. It takes time to build a trust-based relationship with ourselves. We always have the chance to rebuild trust after it has been disrupted." Each chapter is practical and easy to follow, even ending with sections titled "Things to think about" and "Things to try." You won't regret getting your hands on this book!

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I read this book slowly, and I'm sure I'll read it again because there is so much good information in it. I'd love to read it in a discussion group.

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The Wisdom of Your Body is an excellent book, it is accessible, well researched, easily readable, and applicable.
Told through stories and research, McBride crafts a book to help people live more fully in our bodies. She addresses a wide range of topics: healing from physical trauma, feeling feelings, politicization of bodies, and sensuality and sexuality.

The chapters are laid out in a way where you could read them out of order, each chapter concludes with a practice or prompt to take what you read further.

Our bodies exist as part of us, but we are largely disconnected from feeling and trusting this part of ourselves. McBride brings light to areas we may need to heal from, grow in, and learn to inhabit. Highly recommend.

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Hillary writes about neuroscientific research and the topic of embodiment with such balance. l don’t feel like I’m reading a textbook when I read Hillary’s writing. This book feels like a story, a compassionate love letter, and a narrative of her own lived experience in a body in a broken world. Trauma, body image, and dissociation from our bodies are such sensitive topics, but this book invites them to the table of discussion with empathy and care. Hillary gives prompts and questions at the end of each chapter for self-reflection which I LOVED. As someone who has spent years disconnected from her body - this book offers such wisdom and a healing balm. Our bodies are so damn smart. We’re on the same team.

🥺 I tearfully made my way through so many chapters. I’m a big fan of metaphors to describe concepts and this was packed full. Wow - I just don’t have enough words for this new release. @hillaryliannamcbride is a gift to the world - Congrats to her on this powerhouse of a book.

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This book covers a variety of different topics and implications for life, addressing different ways that people can move into a deeper sense of embodied living and work through negative beliefs that they have about their bodies. At times, I felt like the author tried to tackle too much all at once, and that some of the heavy topics didn't get their due, but the range that this book covers will make it helpful for a variety of different people, since she isn't focused on just body image, or just sexuality, or just chronic pain, but covers all of these and many other topics.

Although this therapist writes to a predominately female audience, she also includes some examples from male clients and some applications for specific struggles that men are likely to have based on their upbringing and the social messages that they receive. I appreciate that this book isn't just about women's issues, and is more holistic than that. She also does a good job of writing from a Christian belief standpoint without making the book inaccessible to people who don't share her beliefs.

I enjoyed this book, and it gave me a lot to think about. I certainly didn't agree with everything that the author said, but she wrote in a logical and clear way, explaining what she meant by things instead of just making assertions and moving on, as many authors of body-focused books do. I appreciated her reasoned approach and gracious tone, and since people can easily take or leave what does or doesn't apply to them, I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in the topic.

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Dr. Hillary McBride is a clinical therapist. In this book she brings together research, the experiences of others and her own experience to deal with the topic of how we view and treat our bodies. The quality of our lives change as our perspectives on our own bodies change. This book brings intriguing thoughts and insights to embodied living. One of the things that I've enjoyed while reading it are the questions to consider at the end of each chapter. I found it to be an interesting, thought provoking read. #theWisdomOfYourBody #NetGalley

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