Body Love

I had a startling revelation a couple of weeks ago.

I, the creator of a blog called embodied experiments, have not been fully embracing my own embodiment.  In fact, I have been blaming my body for some things that weren’t my body’s fault at all.  For years.

If you’ve been following the blog, you know that I had an intense childhood, and that one of the intense things I experienced was incest.  And very early on I heard and embraced the truth that “it’s not the victim’s fault.”  Only, I didn’t realize that I’d already put the blame somewhere, and that I hadn’t only assigned it to my perpetrator.  I didn’t realize that some part of me had decided that everything that happened was because my body was wrong.

We teach what we need to learn, and I can see how I had to become a fierce advocate for full embodiment in order to dredge up enough ferocity to turn and look at the truth – that blaming my body for the trauma I experienced has been blocking me from my own full embodiment for all these years.  That if the relationship between my consciousness and my body is a marriage, we’ve been sitting in marriage counseling on opposite ends of the couch, my body pleading with me to look at her, embrace her, make love with her…and my consciousness sitting stone-faced; angry and untrusting, full of blame, unable to see her as anything other than a betrayer.

Our bodies love us.  It’s kind of a radical truth in my world right now.  Our bodies love us, and they long for us.  They want us to fully inhabit them.  They want us to partner with them in the trinity of inner-marriage – where body exists, consciousness exists, and self exists as the dance of the two together.  And I know I’m not alone in having a story about my body being wrong.  We all have our own reasons; we come to it in different ways…but I think most of us have something like this hanging around.I’ve done a lot of work, these past few weeks, to stop seeing my body as my betrayer; to stop blaming it for things that it couldn’t control.  To listen to what it wants.  And I’ve dedicated 60 days to falling in love with my body: to meeting it in love the way it loves me; the way it has continued to love me and stay with me through all the times I have left it, or shamed it, or been unkind to it.

The 60-day container (which began on June 1st) is framed around a specific food-plan I am engaging in to re-set the microorganisms inside my body, and specifically to support my body in cleaning out some candida overgrowth.  The beginning of this program involved a week on a liquids-only cleanse, and it was great.

No, really – I expected to hate it, to feel hungry and miserable all the time, and to want nothing more than for it to be over.  And, of course, I had my moments.  But mostly, I felt sweetness.  I felt my own determination to make choices that support my body’s fullest health, and I felt each of those choices as an act of love.  And I felt my body’s joy at finally being loved by me in this way. In the inner-marriage of consciousness and body, we were still in the marriage counselor’s office, but we moved to sitting next to each other, holding hands.  And it made all the difference.

And thank god, because when week 2 rolled around, with the reintroduction of solid food, things got rough.  In our marriage-counseling analogy, we’d moved from sitting in silence, to holding hands and deciding to work together, to dredging up and working through all the things we’d been holding on to – on both sides – during the years of not talking.  I’ve been emotional.  I’ve been sick.  I’ve been feeling physical pain from years ago that I’d blocked out at the time.  And if you could have seen me almost in tears in the grocery store when I realized that I can’t even buy gluten-free crackers but have to make my own, you would have laughed along with me at how pathetically emotional I was.  But, cleanse-heightened emotions aside, I feel my own commitment to stay with it, regardless of how uncomfortable it gets, because I can feel consciousness and body working together on this; I can feel how all this discomfort is a movement toward health.

There’s an identification in me that says “I am my consciousness, and I happen to be inhabiting this body.”  And I want to undo that identification; to embrace my body as me.  The 60-day diet is the container for this undoing, and the liquid diet kickstarted the process, the reintroduction of solid foods (and subsequent struggles) intensified it, and it’s a process that requires me daily attention.  So I’m entering into a practice of gratitude for my-body-as-me: this part of me that loves me so well; that has stayed and loved me when I’ve left; that has loved me through my blaming of it and shaming of it.

And daily I’m finding things to give thanks for: for my skin, that protects me; for my intestines, that digest my food (whether they do that with ease or not); my heart that pumps my blood; my feet that carry me here and there; my hands that type and cook and touch; my eyes that take in color; my ears that translate the vibrations of work and music.  And for the pain that tells me something’s wrong, and for the sickness that tells me something old is getting cleaned out, and on and on and on.

I can feel the glow of being newly in love, only it’s not with any external partner.  It’s with me – a bigger picture of me – a me that includes my body as more than just the medium through which I experience this life, but as an essential part of the makeup of this me.  And I can feel the heaviness of tending to a relationship that has long been dysfunctional, and the challenge of that, and the pain of that, and the glory of it.  And I feel both the glow and the heaviness in the same relationship – the old and the new, right here, within myself.  It’s stunning.  And it’s a lot.

It isn’t always easy.  Choosing to be fully embodied comes with pain, and dis-ease, and what sometimes feels like overwhelming experience and stimulation.  But no marriage is easy, and I’m absolutely convinced it’s worth the hard parts.

And, reflecting on the discomfort it has caused me to be fighting with and blaming my body for all these years, I have absolutely decided that full embodiment is better than the alternatives.  I am fully committed to nothing less than a thriving inner-marriage of self, where my consciousness and my body make such beautiful love that we/I conceive and birth a glorious riot of creative manifestations; birthing my/our-self over and over and over again into the moreness of me.

So, this post launches a new phase of this blog.  I’m calling it the Summer of Embodiment, though I may decide to extend it beyond the summer.  But from now until Labour Day, at least, I’ll be writing about body.  And my guest bloggers?  They’ll be writing about body.  And in-between blogs, there will be some recipes – both for delicious, nourishing, healthy food and for scrumptious, luxurious, body-nourishing products like scrubs and masks and wraps.  And whatever else unexpected and delightful emerges along the way.  I’m revolutionizing my relationship with my own body, and I’m inviting you along to do the same.  I’m declaring that my body is not wrong, that none of our bodies are, and that I’m willing to do the work it takes to love my body the way it loves me.

On that note, how’s your body/consciousness relationship going?  Are you willing to do one thing – just one – this week to nurture that relationship? What will you do? Is there anything in particular you’d like to see addressed on the blog for the Summer of Embodiment?  Are you willing to jump in and say, “Yes, there are ways in which I’ve believed my body is wrong, and I’m ready to let go of that”?  Let me know in the comments, or message me privately – I love to hear from you!

3 thoughts on “Body Love”

  1. Yes yes yes! Sana, you continue to amaze me. I love this, and it fits right in with my intention of starting to love my body, one part at a time. I don’t know if letting go of the belief that my body is wrong is entirely ripe for me at this point but I’m going to start with noticing the judgments. I’m excited to watch this journey unfold throughout the summer!

  2. I think it was an interesting point you made about a part of you feeling like your body was to blame for what happened to you. I think it’s a subtle, but very pervasive part of the culture that if someone suffers a sexual trauma, somehow it must be their fault. Like they didn’t do enough to counter the fact that their body was irresistible to someone. And even if there’s no rape or even overt harassment, women are always being told to cover up their bodies so they won’t be a “distraction” to men or cause them to think “impure thoughts” and being labeled in derogatory ways if they don’t. A lot of people who perpetuate these messages seem to think it’s with good intentions, but the underlying message is “there’s something wrong with the female body. It’s dangerous. It causes people to do and think bad things.” It hadn’t really occurred to me before that this could affect a person’s relationship with her physicality and just her body in general, since I’ve mostly thought of the mental and emotional effects this has, but that’s definitely an interesting point.

    1. Yes! So beautiful. I am in! This week, I plan to say goodbye to sugar, wheat and dairy again and spend the time cooking healthy meals for myself as a gesture of body love. Thanks for the inspiration!!

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