Week 5. The Body
Discussion about body is an ongoing and a massive one but this week, somehow, it seems the right time to take this task on and ponder on this topic.
What if we would take the social constructs put on and around our bodies and would just try to see it as it is. Which sounds hard and to be honest is hard since we’re living in this context and don’t have a habit of tuning out of it. But let’s just try to imagine for a minute that our body is the only thing we have, it’s our survival - it helps us to get our food, hydration, shelter needs met; it’s our transportation, our only clue about us and the world around us so we rely on it to keep us informed about what is going on inside and out of us. I invite you to experiment on this because mental exercises like that can help put some things in perspective. Let’s call it “The Desert Island Test”. Actually, it just occurred to me that maybe that’s the reason some shows like “Survival” were very popular when they aired. Because people could extract themselves out of their cultural context, their “normal lives” and to accept the challenge to relying only on what the nature provided for them, one of the resources being their own bodies.
In those circumstances, think about what would be relevant and what irrelevant considering your body? Maybe the extra few pounds would even be seen as an asset holding up more warmth and not as something frowned upon, the muscles would be used for finding and gathering food, making shelter and not just for the look of it, your feet could carry you far distances in search for resources, so on and so forth. Maybe your body is already doing so much for you and this exercise helps to see all these areas where your body amazes you in a good way. The point of this exercise is to accept that however the body looks like, what properties it does or does not have, it just adapted to the living conditions of your particular life and when the conditions change, so does your body. That’s how it was made and that’s what it is for, so to even have some sort of cultural or agreed on “standard”, which by the way, changes every decade and is different in various cultures, seems unreasonable, to say the least. In that regard, trying to fit in one or another “standard” is a waste of time and energy, in my opinion. Of course, to each their own. Although, what we can do instead is to accept the body that we have now, appreciate it for what it has been through, what it has been doing for us until now, and to try our best to take good care of it/make good choices for it for the time we have left here. That way we might let go of some of the pressure to look or appear a certain way, instead we could carve out some space to be who we are now, without blame or guilt and be more gentle to ourselves on the way forward. By trying to live up to some “standard” we might be going against what is best for us and exhaust ourselves along the way. Why don’t we try to go with the current for a change, with what our body signals about ourselves and the environment we live in. A lot of the time the body shows signs of stress, lack of self-love and what didn’t sit well with us way before we get to think about it. By restoring our natural connection with our bodies we can live much fuller lives, trusting ourselves and experiencing more.
Have an embodied week.