“The cultural power of the body is its beauty, but power in the body is rare, for most have chased it away with their torture of or embarrassment by the flesh. It is in this light that the wildish woman can inquire into the numinosity of her own body and understand it is not as a dumbbell that we are sentenced to carry for life, not as a beast of burden, pampered or otherwise, who carries us around for life, but a series of doors and dreams and poems through which we can learn and know all manner of things. In the wild psyche, body is understood as a being in its own right, one who lovs us, depends on us, one to whom we are sometimes mother, and who sometimes is mother to us.” Clarissa Pinkola-Estes, Women Who Run With The Wolves…
I need these words as I traverse a path here that unfolds historical self and transforming person along a story of acceptance and change. When my body was perfect in the strictest sense of aesthetic flawlessness I was horrifcally harsh at the slightest hint or ripple of imperfection. One dimple on my backside and I was undone for weeks, working out like a maniac, starving myself. One. Only one.
I got married, had children and kept that inner demon on a long chain, that shredding perfectionist sadist rearing her ugly head when life gave me two seconds to breathe. Self-acceptance was an occasional seasonal jaunt down luscious lane. But the time of facing what and who I am after many years of parenting, chronic illness and so much else reveals a deep need to embrace that deeper truth of inherent power in the body. Funny…I get there when I just give myself with joy to life and to being. But I struggle still with this particular monster. I’m fine until I have to reveal my arms or. Oiy. Practice of self-acceptance requires embracing moments of exposure and risk. Who would think a sundress could put a woman in a tailspin? I want to announce first, “Um, sorry for the flaws it’s not that I’m lazy. I have had a few challenges and you wouldn’t believe how often I lift those weights that sit in my living room waiting for my perfection and my sons who weigh a ton and.” Forget sunbathing…
So, come on life, take me to that naked place in the sun baking mind/body/soul into a new perfection fearless, a worship of what is and what can be, of all that created the body of being and the being of body. How much mechanical duty piecemeals the parts meant to flow, glow and sigh in a restful acceptance of this am… melt the mountain of resistance and leave me to sparkle in the sand.
6 thoughts on “Church of The Flesh”
Interesting read Ruth. Who we used to be can never be who we are, and really, for that I am infinitely and graciously glad. Other people will nearly always judge the external, never take the time or put in the effort to see the inner truth of who you are and unfortunately, I think we also get bound by our own self-image — which, again, I believe is too often constructed more from external voices than listening to, accepting, and wildly proclaiming our own true inner realities — seeing our own beauty within. Perfection, or even just feeling obligated by someone else’s definitions are empty, chasing after the wind, and unreachable no matter how hard we try. It’s simple: you are beautiful. Not because I or anyone else tells you that you are, but because you are. Period. Plain and simple. Affirm, accept, believe. Then teach me how to take my own advice!!! LOL
amen bro…thank you for the affirmation. i don’t know what to tell you about taking your own advice. we all need to hear truth from voices beyond our own wisdom. it’s part of what creates the work of love, no? that flow of encouragement and unfolding of truth into our lives from other lives.
i will only add that this is more about maintaining a sober view of myself, of what influences my mind/body/spirit expression in life. i don’t know how many flowers go ’round singing about beauty. they just sing wordless tunes in the sun, a hum of aliveness and appreciation of being. i imagine in the world of flowers and trees there is no concept of beauty. they are. are. are. am. am. am. and and and. that is enough. that is where i want to be. that is the perfection i mention here. and wow…the sun was a balm today!!! come the spring, come!
Who defines beauty? I wonder what your readers will say?
Loose bellies and breasts that have brought forth and given life.
These have stories to tell, pride and wisdom and pathos and empathy.
Did your flesh have such deep dark secrets when it was young?
Who defines beauty?
Look in the mirror, strip, be raw, run wild and free on the beach, my sister, and you will see where beauty lies.
Who would want you for what you were when you now are so much more?
Do you want to be a perfect reflection in a shallow pool, or the wild and turbulent waves of the deep sea?
i’m with you, gin. thank you for this passionate release of the truth…
it’s a wonderful thing to look back and realize i love not what i was then in terms of alleged “perfection” but in that truth of the raw material, the blank slate for life to paint her hieroglyphics of life upon. i do sometimes mourn that i could not just accept myself. and why that is, i’m not sure. it’s part of what drives me to explore when i feel myself resisting the next layer of release from shame. it was never truly about what was in the mirror, but about so many layers of hurt. in the mean time, here’s to the wild and turbulent wiles and ways of the deep sea… (wonderful to hear from you, wise woman…)
Naked is so difficult, every type of naked – but what freedom when there is nothing left to say, nothing left to hide.
aye jaymie…and that is the journey, isn’t it? there is something to spring, to the stripping away of layers that is, particularly this time around, challenging me to let go of any lingering familiar garments of ruthless self-criticism and embrace the dynamic beauty of authenticity on deeper levels. i so appreciate your presence and open heart…