Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Spiritually speaking, the most wonderful "in the body" time for me was when I was pregnant with my daughter. I was very actively Wiccan at the time and very disturbed to find that my body was NOT acting like the Goddess it was supposed to. I was sick, didn't want to be touched in any way (not even hugs), and somewhat disturbed by all the rapid changes in the mirror. And yet... and yet there was this feeling of having that life within me. I could feel her move, I could feel her dance. After a while I could hear her heartbeat even without the doppler that the doctor used. Sometimes, near the end, I could see her little feet pressed against my stomach. That experience is singular; you cannot share it with another. I can't even share it with HER, because she doesn't remember it. It was for me, and me alone, and it was very spiritual. I could no longer focus on anything outside myself, and so I went inward. I marveled at my own body, and at the body growing inside mine.
Beyond that experience, I have a few "in the body" moments. Rollerskating always makes me smile and feel free and present. For the time I skate, especially when I still lived with my parents, it was a time of emotional and physical freedom away from everything else. I could just Be Me.
I most definitely experience Spirit within and during my sexuality. My own spirituality embraces physical love as being just as important (and in some cases, MORE important) than emotional or spiritual love. The Greeks were a very practical people, and the gods of sexuality ran the gamut from the virgin love of Artemis to the ripe and rutty love of Dionysos. I embrace them all, because there is a time for everything. Sometimes you need a bit of soft, gentle love, with more hugging than anything else. Sometimes you just need to... well, rut. Neither is right or wrong, except in relation to the time and needs of those involved. When enjoyed in a positive moment, my sexuality helps my spirituality to blossom and flow, opening me to feel and experience the godhead of those I worship, through the body of my loving partner.
I think it depends largely on what time of day it is, what I had for breakfast, and whether I'm suffering from PMS at a given moment. Sometimes I am very approving of my body, in that I am unhappy with my health and weight but am working in a positive and affirming manner to change those things healthily. On the other hand, there are definitely times (moreso now that I am losing weight and feeling better) that I see my body in a positive light. I'm learning, slowly, to approve of the wonderful things my body can do. Despite my weight and size, I can sit in half lotus, can touch my toes easily and put my palms on the floor during a front bend, can hold some difficult yoga poses for decent lengths of time... perfect, no, but my body does wonderful and amazing things for me. I love it!
That's kind of a leading question, and comes under the same heading as ones like, "So, Mr. Smith, when did you stop beating your wife?" Aging is what it is. Today is my 40th birthday, and I look at myself and I know I don't look 40. I don't often feel 40. In fact, when I compare how I look now (both in memory and in photographs) to how my mother looked at 40, I'd say I look nothing like she did. My parents were OLD at 40, even looking at them from my current perspective. They had settled into an uncomfortable routine of being "the old married couple" and had lost the spontaneity and joy of life. They looked old and felt old. I do not look or feel old at all, and I'm proud of that. I often look at myself and wonder, how can I be so young when they were so old?
I think it's because I DO view aging as part of a cycle. I've been a devotee of Hecate for 20 years; my inner crone has been with me since I was quite young and supple. I'm not afraid of the process of aging, of getting old, of passing into new stages of life. I've worked with death so many times, that I respect but no longer fear the mystery of it. I am who I am, and I'm as old as I choose to be. As someone once said, "Growing old is mandatory; growing UP is optional!"