I have a friend who gets a dress made for herself every year on her birthday. It’s a beautiful thing, to have something tailor made to fit you. A luxury; an indulgence; a gorgeous practice of honoring the body and, therefore, the self. Along those lines, one of my favorite things about my undergraduate program was custom-designing my own curriculum – it fit me perfectly, because it was designed specifically for me. It wouldn’t have been anyone else’s perfect program, but it was mine, and it couldn’t have been better for me.
It occurred to me, recently, as I’ve been focused on body-love and embodiment this summer, that every single one of us has something of this caliber, something uniquely formed to fit us perfectly – something that fits us like it could never fit anyone else: our bodies. Our bodies evolved specifically to be our bodies: you were the strange attractor that pulled together the specific sperm and egg to create a container that would house you, that would form and inform you throughout your journey.
How amazing this is? As humans we each have a body specifically and perfectly formed to contain and protect our unique selves on our diverse journeys – oh, yes, not only is the body the perfect, made-to-order container for your soul, but it is perfect for your journey, also. It evolved specifically to be the medium through which you live into your unique purpose. The thing that you came here to do, the part that is yours to play in the evolution of humanity, the evolution of consciousness, the evolution of love, can only be accomplished by you, can only be accomplished in your body, and can only be accomplished on your journey.
In this way, your unique purpose has all of your ancestors (both physical and spiritual) lined up behind it – part of each of their reasons for being was to join together in evolving you, just as part of your reason for being is to join together in evolving whatever offspring – whether in the form of children or ideas or art or, well, anything, really, that you creatively produce. This is the generational covenant. You can do things that your ancestors couldn’t dream of because they followed the evolutionary impulse toward your creation and formation precisely so that you could do those things. And you will follow your own creative energy into evolving a next generation that can reach further than you could, as well. Evolution is optimal; everything is in its perfect unfolding.
This is why the only thing required of us is to trust and follow our own divine longing; the essence of what drives us forward. And this is why we have to follow the essence of our longing rather than the form — because we can’t conceive of the form; it is literally beyond us – it is what we are evolving into, and we haven’t yet evolved the capacity to even understand what that is. But, miraculously, we have evolved the capacity to imagine this ultimate evolution: to dream it; to make metaphors for it and tell stories about it. The advent of human consciousness sped up our process of evolution exponentially simply because it gave us the capacity to begin to understand our longing – not to grasp its goal, but to understand its existence, and eventually to begin to take responsibility for following it. That responsibility, which we experience as unique obligation, is what I think will help us to eventually evolve the capacity to direct our own evolution; to evolve consciously.
What I mean, is that the more and more responsibility to our evolution we develop, the more we will be able to trust ourselves to behave in a way that is responsible. This trust will allow us to walk right up to the edge of our evolved capacity. And there is an inordinate amount of power in touching the edge of something; rubbing up against it and in so doing, expanding what is possible in the universe. This kind of touching an edge – not shying away from it or racing up and blasting through it, is a true meeting, which always results in conception and a birthing of something utterly new; the next evolved iteration in the impeccable unfolding of the Infinite Benevolent Evolving.
To meet in this way is to bring your boundaries all the way in to rub against your very essence; your unique self. Skin rubs against skin while heart rubs against heart while mind rubs against mind while soul rubs against soul…the ultimate lovemaking. Our boundaries include so much more than our essence, generally speaking. They contain and protect our memories, our stories, our habits and patterns. But in a true experience of essential, authentic self, none of those protections are necessary, and all boundaries are shed except for the one that was designed specifically to contain and protect your unique self: your body.
In this way, the body is the essential boundary for an incarnate life. and we can either live in conflict with it – bump up against it – or live in sweet lovemaking with it – sliding self against skin and revelling in it.
When we are able to exist in a state of trust and shed all that does not belong to our essence, we are able to shed every extraneous boundary until the only one that remains is our skin, which we inhabit fully. It gives us all the separation we need from the One to know ourselves as distinct, while at the same time affords us all the contact we need to know ourselves as One. It is the line upon which we can balance in the I/We, without having to sacrifice even the smallest part of either.
Embodiment, then, offers us an experience of the highest form of Love, and it offers it to us through the teaching of containment – of appropriate boundaried-ness. How do we know it’s appropriate? Because it’s the body you have, the one your soul incarnated into because it was conjured up just for you. My body is the boundary that exists to help me surf on the frothy edges of my own being, because it’s there to show me where those edges are. My body is the boundary that helps me experience all that I contain; all that I am. My body is the boundary that helps me to connect with all that I experience as other, by making contact with it. This boundary is a gift; it gives me myself and it gives me connection. I couldn’t possibly experience what it is to be a Self if I didn’t have this body; I couldn’t possibly experience what it is to connect with Other if I couldn’t experience what it is to be a Self. And so the boundary is necessary in order to participate in the Grand-Love-Making of the universe.
It’s breathtaking, really, to get to be in a body. From this perspective, boundaries are one of the highest forms of love – all a reflection of how our bodies boundary us perfectly. From this perspective, embodiment is the journey of living into that love, and my body is the greatest gift I have ever received. All of my resistance, all of my shame, all of my quibbling about weight or pain or acne or menstrual cramps…it looks different through this lens. It looks like resistance to love. The truth is that the journey of evolution that we are engaged in is a deeply mysterious one; we can’t see it in its fullest unfolding, yet. And so often I value my mind over my body, and when my mind tells me that my body should be different than it is, it’s easy to listen.
But if I can truly trust that my body is my perfect, custom-designed vehicle for my specific essence living my specific purpose at this specific time, then the idea of my body being in any way “wrong” is ludicrous. Perhaps, instead, I can let my body tell me when my mind needs to be different than it is. Perhaps I can let my body inform my actions. Perhaps I can let my body lead the way, trusting, that within the container of my own flesh and blood, I am safe — because this is the container that was built to house me, and it is all the protection I need. The more I cultivate this trust, the more I can live right at the edge of myself and my evolution… and the edge is where all the juice is.
Looking at it like this, all the boundaries in my life take on a different hue. Rather than seeing a boundary as existing to keep something out or something in, I can see it as existing to point to the edge – to direct us to the sweet spot where containment and connection meet. Boundaries, then, become the signpost for the places of meeting; they inform us about how to approach and dance with what is. So today, I am grateful for all the boundaries in my life, and all the space they open up inside of my experience to more fully embody the juicy, creative, expansive, infinite evolving all.