Tuesday, July 15, 2014

At Home in My Body

Yesterday I told a dear friend that I am more comfortable in my body these days than I was before kanswer. We were talking about getting massages and it occured to me that I could be uncomfortable or nervous about having my upper torso massaged since I am now boobless. When I thought back to pre-kanswer massages, I realized that I was more uncomfortable with receiving massages before I gave up my mammary glands.

I also realized that I would never have offered to show my bosoms to friends or family members, but I have no qualms about showing off my scars. These scars are evidence of a battle I won and from which I have emerged whole and happy. They are a daily reminder of suffering, strength, pain, hope and healing. I would never and could never wish kanswer, but these scars on my chest are a daily reminder of lessons learned and hope gained.

I have grown to love and appreciate my body more than ever. Why? Because this body has served me well. It has grown and shrunk, expanded and deflated, run and walked. This body has produced two human beings with souls of their own. It has endured surgeries, chemotherapy, outrageous heat, and tooth-chattering cold. It has carried me across oceans and rivers, into and out of, onto and off of boats, trains, airplanes, cars, and buses. This body has been hit by a car, bitten by a dog, knocked unconscious, fallen off bicycles, tumbled down several sets of stairs, and endured pulled hamstrings, broken toes, and fractured ankles (yes, the last three are plural!). But somehow, this body of mine has recovered from all that it has endured and serves me faithfully and without much complaint.

I used to spend a lot of time comparing my body to other people's bodies. I wanted her small feet. I wanted her long hair. I wanted her six-pack abs. I wanted her awesome biceps. I wanted her long neck.  I wanted her full lips and her perfect teeth. I wasted too much time not only focusing on the ways that other women's bodies were better than mine, but also criticizing many of my own physical attributes. Only recently have I come to accept that this body is the perfect body for me. This body is exactly the body I need for the life journey I'm on. I am more at home in this body of mine these days than I have been at any other time in my life. I am enormously grateful.

In a book I am reading about spiritual friendship, Anam Cara, there is a chapter about becoming friends with our senses and our bodies. In that chapter, there is a blessing for the senses and for the body.

May your body be blessed.
May you realize that your body is a faithful and beautiful friend of your soul.
And may you be peaceful and joyful and recognize that your senses are sacred thresholds.
May you realize that holiness is mindful, gazing, feeling, hearing, and touching.
May your senses gather you and bring you home.
May your senses always enable you to celebrate the universe and the mystery and possibilities in your presence here.
May the Eros of the Earth bless you. 

I hope and pray that each of us and all of us will find our way home to our bodies, that we will be more grateful for all the parts of us, and that we will stop succumbing to the temptation to compare our bodies with others. These miraculous bodies are worthy of gratitude, tender care, massages and love.

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