Monday, March 28, 2011

Inside and Outside (Our Bodies)

I recently came across these last lines of James Wright’s gorgeous poem, A Blessing:

Suddenly, I realize

That if I stepped out of my body I would

Break into blossom

The poem, though titled “A Blessing,” does not refer to any religious belief, rather it reminds us of the spiritual in nature and in ourselves, without intervention of a large organization, imposing its fixed precepts and long codes of principles. While I love the poem (in case you couldn’t guess), when I read it, I thought, “mind” not “body.” As in, “if I stepped out of my mind”…I’d go further and say, “and if I stepped into my body.”

Because that’s the challenge, isn’t it?—that our minds are obsessing about our bodies, whether we’re slim enough, or tall enough, or have the right hair, or have calves too thin or too thick, or the right shape and size breasts, or…well, I’m sure you have your own list. We aren’t really inside our bodies, instead we’re looking at them from the outside, ever the critic, constantly evaluating, judging, and generally wrinkling our nose at ourselves; and, all too often, others, which is, after all, just a manifestation of our own unhappiness with ourselves—misery loves company and all that, plus picking on someone else helps us feel better about our own failings—yuck, what a way to live.

We are already too much outside our bodies. Instead, we need to step away from our minds, those insidious producers of thoughts, and step into our bodies, into our senses, and into how we feel. Right now. Cold. Hot. Energetic. Tired. Fidgety. Still. Blah. Delicious.

Our bodies are talking to us. Let’s listen with an open mind and tender heart.

Then, gently, so gently, we will begin to blossom.