Sunrise inspired deep appreciation for Life, Body and the beauty of the Big Island of Hawai’i Photo by Ashley Jones
The ancients knew the body was key. Far more than merely a vehicle for traveling from birth to death, the body contained keen senses. They relied on its appetites and desires to guide them, awaken them and enlighten them to greater understanding of themselves and the world around them. Instinct and intellect were designed to work together to foster creative exploration. The body held access to both the mysteries of the inner realms and the sensory delights of the natural world.
We have come a long way since then. For countless generations, we have been systematically taught that the body is not to be trusted, that it is weak or even evil, that it is something we must overcome or deny, lest it lead us somewhere we ought not be. Somewhere along the line, we lost touch with the brilliance of our bodies and their tremendous ability to feel and heal and offer us a life in which we can be fully alive. Instead, we have learned to shut ourselves down. We are uncomfortable with our emotions. We don’t know how we feel, much of the time. We wear shoes that pinch and clothes that someone told us are fashionable. We eat food that is unnatural. We dedicate ourselves to climbing a ladder. To making it. We sacrifice our sanity to ‘make it’. And when we get sick we blame our body for having failed us…
The body was born of Love. It thrives on care and comfort. It needs to be challenged and rewarded. When we stop long enough to hear what our bodies have to tell us, we hear a very different story than the one we’ve been told.
I grew up in a family in which my mom, and both grandmothers were perpetually, considerably overweight. It seemed to me that they and my aunties were constantly fighting a losing (gaining) battle with the scale. As a teenager, I made a clear decision that I would not follow in those well-trodden footsteps. Instead, I played out my own version, with eating disorders and self-loathing for anything less than what I perceived as bodily perfection. I spent a lot of my life at war with my body. Through it all, my body kept me honest. As long as I was acting out, I couldn’t fool myself into believing I was really okay.
It took me decades to work through the generations of body shame I inherited, witnessed and perpetuated. As I awoke from the nightmare of what had happened and why, I began my journey back into a healthy relationship with my body. We grow stronger through Love. Learning to Love oneself, wholeheartedly opens the floodgates to deep levels of healing. As we heal, our bodies grow stronger and more vibrant. We begin to be able to trust ourselves and our appetites and desires to lead us to a more fulfilling life. We start to be able to hear the inner voice of intuition that can guide us swiftly in the direction that is most rewarding. Healing happens as we turn toward ourselves.
Though we have been conditioned to believe otherwise, our bodies truly are our temples. When we stop and drop into the sacred silence within, we hear our heartbeat. As we cultivate a connection with our heart and learn its ways, it tells us what we need to know and where we should go. The ancients were right. The body holds the keys to the kingdom. The body is the bridge that connects our consciousness to all the other realms. As we find our way back inside, our Presence switches our circuitry back on and we begin to feel more alive.
Time spent in nature, movement practices that feel restorative and enlivening, quiet time of meditation, reflection and prayer and time spent with beloved animal friends, all help us to ground ourselves and create a loving relationship with the miraculous gift that is our bodies.
If we want our lives to change for the better, we go within. If we want more Love in our lives, we go within. If we want to be healthier and happier, we go within. We have to go inside if we want to thrive.
P.S. I would love to hear about your challenges or experiences with coming back home to your body. Especially as women, we have a lot of conditioning to shed and messages to delete from both conscious and unconscious mind. This is a conversation so many of us have had and the more light we shed on the subject the more we can all rise in Love.