“The dancer’s body is simply the luminous manifestation of the soul.
Dance is the movement of the universe concentrated in an individual.
You were once wild here. Don’t let them tame you.”
-Isadora Duncan (dance pioneer)
GIRL IN BATHTUB by Everett Shinn
So some people, I’ve heard, get their creative ideas in the shower. My friend, Rob, for example got the idea for a whole ceremony during his morning shower routine. I, being more of a ruminating kind of girl, tend to get a cascade of ideas when lying in a hot bath for a while. Tonight I was in the bath and was looking at my body by the light of the candles and I had quite a startling realization: my body is with me for as long as I am here on the planet. OK. So you might think, “Jen, that is so obvious!” But think about it….
Every second of the day, my body (and probably yours unless you need life support) performs millions of functions autonomically. That means that you don’t even have to think about it or remind your body to do it. And thank God cuz if I had to remember to breathe in order for it to happen, I’d have been dead a long time ago! My body is constantly repairing itself, rebalancing itself, creating new cells, discarding old ones, fighting foreign objects on my behalf, and sending messages all over through nerve endings to other parts of my body so that all the systems are working together. It is a miracle really that I live in my body every day and I rarely give gratitude for everything it does. My body is brutally honest with me; it is incapable of lying. If I have overdone it, it lets me know. If I have issues I am not dealing with, it lets me know through creating emotions (fear, anger, sadness, anxiety) to get my attention on these matters. My body has its own language that I’ve been learning the past few years especially. It “talks” to me and gives me hints about what I need to do to take care of myself. If I am tired, it begs me to rest. If I am thirsty, it creates a parched, dry mouth so I remember to drink. If I am hungry, my stomach rumbles. If I am stressed, it reminds me to breathe. It is truly the most marvelous instrument I possess.
my body can sing beautiful sound into the world
my body dances
my body can see the world
my body can touch the world
my body makes love
my body has the capacity to create another human life
my body has the ability to give birth to that life
my body gets me everywhere I need to go
my body can enfold those I love in an embrace
And yet when I do happen to think of my body consciously, I notice that am often berating it, wishing it was different, comparing it to those of others, and telling it to shut up and do what I tell it to do- especially when it is giving me warnings to take care of myself better. The internal dialogue goes kinda like….
and the list goes on…
I don’t know about how you experience your own body or what kind of relationship you have with yours…
I, however, have been going through my life looking for my definition of a perfect relationship and all the while my body has been offering me one and waiting for me to pay attention and get into alignment with it. It will never leave me. It is always honest with me. It puts up with my constant abuse and still loves me enough to tell me what is so. In a way, it is not fair that it cannot escape my whims. But maybe it doesn’t care. And maybe it calls me to a higher level of responsibility in my life FOR my life and the preciousness of it. Lovers, friends, and people I love will come and go all my life but the relationship that remains is the one with myself and my body until my last moment on Earth. I think I found the true meaning for self-worth: the care for one’s life and so the care of one’s body- our only constant home during our walk here.
“Our bodies are the hotels for our spirits.”
-Tallisen Age 9
And more food for thought from Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything
“…the fact that you have atoms and that they assemble in such a willing manner is only part of what got you here. To be here now, alive in the twenty-first century and smart enough to know it, you also had to be the beneficiary of an extraordinary string of biological good fortune. Survival on Earth is a surprisingly tricky business. Of the billions and billions of species of living things that have existed since the dawn of time, most 99.99 per cent, it has been suggested – are no longer around. Life on Earth, you see, is not only brief but dismayingly tenuous. It is a curious feature of our existence that we come from a planet that is very good at promoting life but even better at extinguishing it.
Not only have you been lucky enough to be attached since time immemorial to a favoured evolutionary line, but you have also been extremely – make that miraculously – fortunate in your personal ancestry. Consider the fact that for 3.8 billion years, a period of time older than the Earth’s mountains and rivers and oceans, every one of your forebears on both sides has been attractive enough to find a mate, healthy enough to reproduce, and sufficiently blessed by fate and circumstances to live long enough to do so. Not one of your pertinent ancestors was squashed, devoured, drowned, starved, stuck fast, untimely wounded or otherwise deflected from its life’s quest of delivering a tiny charge of genetic material to the right partner at the right moment to perpetuate the only possible sequence of hereditary combinations that could result-eventually, astoundingly, and all too briefly- in you.”