The Sacred Practice of Loving My Body

The principles of building a healthy committed relationship comes with the want to be in a constant exchange of learning, listening, loving, growth and betterment for the good of those relating to one another. I have been growing a fuller exchange with my own body, committing myself more and more to a spiritual practice of building a deep and loving relationship with it.

I realized that I had healthier relationships with the bodies of others, that I was taught to look on another’s shape and form and appearance and want what they had and praise them for it. It has taken investment in understanding that I needed to unlearn these constructs of comparison and create practices that would uplift the way I saw and praised my own body. These practices began with taking the time to really listen and learn about what my body needed, what it was capable of doing and what stories it had to tell me of who I am and what I carry as I walk in this world. This was the root of what made me realize the sacredness of building a loving relationship between my body and my spirit.
My practice in Physical Theatre was the starting point of my exploration toward understanding what it meant and felt like to know my body. Physical Theatre work challenged me to delve into knowing myself whole. Understanding the science of my anatomy and discovering how diverse the modalities of all my body parts were, helped me to take risks in what I was capable of doing as a human being and stimulated my mental desire to know my physical self in new ways. My fascination of my own body grew in being aware of what it meant to feel and meditate on the movement of my inside organs and bones and muscle structure in connection to the outside world. Every movement awakened energy from inside me and these energies could travel from every inch of my being speaking something powerfully without words. I realized how much a slight bend of my fingertips, a tilt of my head, a minor shift in my weight from one leg to the other could communicate something greatly. I learned how endless the discovery of my body’s capabilities to feel and make others feel was. And I found myself wanting to learn more and more how to harness this power.

I began to make connections to the way I treated my body to the way I moved through this living. Like, recognizing that what I fed and nourished my body- what my diet looked like, what it was that I allowed it to feel of different movements and what I said to it, what I believed of its value and capability- these all determined the way I physically and in turn mentally and in turn spiritually moved through the world. I found a deep value in knowing what I put into my body. I found awareness in how certain foods and substances truly made me feel. I began cooking most of my meals, increasing the consumption of food grown from the ground. Paying homage to the hands that work to prepare the growth and passage of every grain of rice and every fragment of a living animal into my home and onto my plate. I learned to be critical about how food made me feel, how it effected my capacity to participate fully in every activity and experience presented to me.

I also challenged my body again and again to feel actions, rhythms, energies of different movements I had never placed in my bones and muscles and joints before so I could awaken my ability to be challenged to go beyond knowing. From pole and aerial movement that let me feel what it is like to be suspended above the ground- so close to flight, to cultural dances from other countries and my own that helped me to feel histories/herstories imbedded in the tradition of movement and the truth of what genes spoke of experience of ancestors, to martial arts that has brought a strength and countering of fear that I have not known- a sense of primal energy that keeps me vigilant and unafraid, and to moments of letting myself just move freely in my living room, returning to the freedom flowing of the child I was, who moved with no judgement or intention- just feeling and liberation.

Photograph taken by Edward Pages

I learned love for my body in appearance later in my growing, as we are raised in this world that often makes us shame our bodies, and deny it praise and love. An emotionally, psychologically and physically abusive relationship results from our feelings and notions that something about our physical being needs to be different, needs to change. How many times have you looked in the mirror and believed that what you see is not good enough, is not beautiful, is not worth the love of others, or more importantly not worth the love of yourself? I make the intention now to begin every day by not looking in the mirror, but feeling my body when I wake. I wake not valuing my body for its appearance, but for the miracle and wonderment of its capacity to move, the ability of my toes to curl, my eyelids to blink, my chest to rise and fall in breath, my knees to bend. I wake praising how my body can stretch, and roll, and bend, and flow. I begin my day feeling my body even before I let my toes plant themselves onto the floor. And when I finally look in the mirror I don’t look on with judgement of superficial beauty, I look on with wonderment. This is how I learned to value my body’s appearance in a deep way. I see miracle in every part of me, I see particles and elements and matter, I see a human being, I see my ancestry, and my life’s experience in the whole of my body and I value the stories that live in every inch of me.

Representation of the light of physical self that holds my spirit and protects it.

I’ve learned how sacred my body is, and I have worked to build in my relationship with it for the benefit of my full being. To maintain an understanding of its sacredness, I had to create sacred practice that allowed me to love my body whole. I arrived in this place, by making it a practice to love myself unconditionally- that is without influence of the conditions and constructs of others. And I know, like all other loving relationships, that it takes work, and that I have to choose to do that work every day. Building a loving relationship with your body is re-membering yourself every morning you wake, and it is actively exchanging with it in full attentive presence, where you are listening to it, giving it opportunity to learn what it is capable of doing, feeding and nourishing it and giving it the space to explore and move past limits. Being committed to building in my loving relationship with my body is not always wonderful, it’s also challenging, but that’s why it has become such sacred practice for me. All Love takes commited, sacred practice, and Love for all others starts with loving yourself whole- spirit, mind and body. People say it’s what’s in the inside that counts, but I’ve learned that how you feel about your outside is so important and with sacred practice I’m learning how to love my body more and more every day.


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