I watched the movie Embrace a few weeks ago and it inspired me to think about and share the journey I have taken with my body, both the inside and outside of it.
I have struggled with my body weight and shape since I began developing breasts in 7th grade. Before 7th grade I felt at peace with my appearance, though my emotional body was in pain and in disconnection. I went from denying sustenance to my body in high school to filling emotional holes with food in college and beyond. I exercised compulsively to keep the fear of fat at bay. I prayed to any deity who would listen to change my body shape and weight, pleaded with God to make me slim and promising that in exchange I would give it the care it deserved.
Then I lost my health.
You know the story: my intestines were so damaged that food would just slip through, unabsorbed. Everything I ate made me sick. I lost a significant amount of weight, was vitamin deficient, and felt alienated from my own sexuality. Women looked at me with envy and some praised me for my appearance. I cannot say my ego did not enjoy wearing clothes I could never fit in before, but with that privilege came the fear I would never find my way back.
Getting healthy has meant changing my relationship to food and being gentle with my body, from what I put in it to developing an appreciation and respect for its unwavering love for me. I began respecting the way it has always shown up for me, despite my treatment of it. I began fighting for it, clearing the emotional debris that was in the way of getting fully well.
As I write this, I am clear that as a society we just do not appreciate the miracle of our bodies. What a sentient place to house the soul! You body is experience, from the warming ray of sunshine on your skin, to the feeling of grief in your heart. It is all yours to be with. That is spiritual to me. Any spirituality or practice that bypasses, denies, shames the body is not mine. This body creates life. This body is how we connect to ourselves and to other people. This body is how we are wounded.
This body is how we are healed.