Last week I took my car in for its 36,000-mile checkup. “Looks brand new!” Mark the technician said as he did his initial walk-around. “Yeah,” I smiled. “I take good care of her.” An hour later, checkup complete, his words of wisdom were simple, “Whatever you’re doing, keep it up!”

When I purchased my car last year I was determined not to take her for granted. I was starting a new and important relationship with the nicest automobile I’d ever owned. I named her Zuzu (it means “beautiful pearl”), and I committed to doing simple things to maintain her – keeping her clean inside and out, feeding her well and giving her plenty of fluids, taking her in for regular checkups, driving her with care, making repairs immediately – and talking to her. When I get in or out, I greet Zuzu by name. I thank her, I wish her well, I say good morning, good night.

If I can manage to maintain my car – to treat her with respect (and, dare I say, affection), I should certainly be able to do the same for my own body. Aren’t I worthy of being maintained with the fuel, activities and attention that I need to stay looking and feeling my best? Kind words, good food, plenty of fluids, regular checkups, speedy “repairs” (regular yoga, dance, rest, community, affection)?

My determination not to take Zuzu for granted has paid off, so far. By consistently and actively acknowledging her value to me her value has been maintained. That’s the secret. Value what we have and treat it with the respect it deserves. That goes for inanimate objects, human and other animate beloveds we’re in relationship with, and ourselves. Maintenance. Small, regular, committed practices. To show we care. Just imagine the effect.