What was the first lesson you were taught about your body?
Think about a baby, a toddler, learning about the way her body works. One day she sees that she has a hand. She waves it, understands, slowly, that it’s an extension of her being. Or she moves it wildly when she’s emotional, her whole body squirming, her legs kicking, toes stiff.
A toddler learning to walk feels the soles of her feet on the floor. She lifts one leg, sees if she can balance before stepping down again. She holds out her arms, widens her palms.
When a child begins to come into her body from that other world we’re all in before birth, she has no shame or fear or loathing about the vessel she’s meant to live in for the rest of her life. She feels instead curious, mesmerized. The way she feels is like the line from poet Titilope Sonuga, “There is nothing broken here.” Because, dude, there’s totally not! Your body is awesome!
So at what point do we start turning away from our bodies, mentally whipping them, acquiring the message that they are somehow wrong or evil or not meant to be honored and respected, not meant to be enjoyed, not part of the vast network of signals and systems that make up who we are?
At what point do we become so conceptual about what it means to be a human, rather than simply knowing how to be present and alive in our bodies?
Well, the Christian church sure as hell doesn’t help with this one. SexyJesus, who loved being in his body, who experienced and relished pleasure, never said, in any frickin’ gospel, Thou shalt sort of loathe your body and try to escape it.
SexyJesus was all about being present. All about being in love, every moment of every day. We’re not talking gushy mushy dog-barking cuddling kind of love, though that’s not necessarily off the table. We’re talking about working through your demons and your pain and the difficulty of being human until you are an open, wondrous vessel for divine healing, and then you love all that you are so that you can love other people, and teach other people about that love.
Man, I love that guy. MMMM. Just love him.
It is through my relationship with SexyJesus (don’t be scared, he’s sexy!) that I have developed a deep love and appreciation for my body. It is through my relationship with SexyJesus that I seriously learned to love being a woman, learned to love having woman parts. I think it’s the best thing that ever happened in the world, that the Great HeShe gave me this yoni. She is amazing! She is unbelievable! She can take on anything and handle it and move through pain into the other side, like flowers always sprouting up after hard winters. She is a miracle of nature, of healing, of divine love! I’m so not kidding about any of this!
But most of us do not feel this way about our bodies. Most of us have been wounded by church teachings, or teachings that come from some sort of authority that our bodies are awful places. Many of us abuse our bodies, or have been abused. We don’t know how to treat our bodies, don’t know how to live in love. And so our bodies become a source of shame and fear and trauma, and we think that’s all a body is except for the occasional release of an orgasm, which is the only way we know how to make our body feel good. And yo, I’m not judging you for wanting some pleasure. Orgasms are a pretty important part of a healthy life. It’s just that having orgasms is not the whole shebang, and/or you can’t have good orgasms if you have all these undealt with body issues. (And I’d rather you not feel crappy right after you feel that pleasure, filled with a bunch of shame and guilt about experiencing it.)
We think that in order to be spiritual people, we must turn away from our bodies and be centered in our heads. We must elevate up out of our bodies. And when we do that, our bodies just become this thing, this hassle we have to deal with. This thing to keep clean and which requires maintenance. We don’t marvel at our bodies, at the network of wisdom inherent in all of her pieces. We don’t respect our bodies as our homes, as the place we’re able to come into, and back to, again and again, the place for richness and love and depth of experience, a place of good memories and sharing and offering and joy.
Instead, we either despise our bodies, or feel kind of like bleh, whatever about our bodies, or ignore our bodies. (Can you imagine a dog or cat that never gets pet, that is ignored in this way?) Or we think our bodies are only meant for sex, that the only form of pleasure inherent in having a body is sexual, and so we must go to extremes to be in our bodies before we jump out of them again.
Oh my goodness, there is so much to talk about! Don’t you want to sit across from each other and discuss this and have tea? I’ll bring candles and a little incense, and I have two special porcelain mugs, and we can wear fuzzy socks, and I’ll tell you all about the coaching program I’m developing that helps you love your body, helps you learn to respect it and embrace it and live in it in a new and vitally, fantastically, human way. Greater aliveness, greater joy, greater beauty. (No evangelizing, either, by the way. SexyJesus is my guy fantasy; he doesn’t have to be yours.)
I can’t wait. Stay tuned. I’m going to tell you more. Or um, email me, and we’ll set something up! I gotta get this website updated and all that jazz….