I ordered a book a few weeks back, but have basically avoided it since it arrived. Well, until a couple morning’s ago when, reinforced by strong coffee, I opened it up and dove in. Since then, I’ve barely put it down: The Wisdom of Your Body: Finding Healing, Wholeness, and Connection Through Embodied Living by Hillary McBride, PhD
If I were hosting a bookgroup, this is DEFINITELY what we’d be reading and discussing together! Here are at least a few reasons why I’m so taken by what’s within these pages:
- An appreciation of my body, not to mention any semblance of acceptance, is a long way away for me; it always has been.
- I grew up in a world that prized the split of body from mind; thinking reigned supreme. Even though I no longer accede to this, it is still what my brain (and body) are used to.
- In full transparency: I don’t know how to come home to my body. But I want to. I pretty sure I’m not the only one.
- I have often felt, especially in the last 5+ years or so, that learning of and practicing embodiment is the “final frontier” for women (including me). It seems to me it is what “remains” as it relates to our ability to fully embrace our inherent and ever-present wisdom and strength.
If any of these things sound or feel remotely familiar, read on . . . I’ve included a few of the most poignant quotes I’ve highlighted so far.
Regardless of our circumstances or what we have been told about bodies, remembering and reuniting with our bodily selves is a radical act to undo our need to earn our worth. . .
. . . many of us have forgotten ourselves as bodies. We did so in order to survive the pain or to be compliant, but in the process we left behind so much of the beautiful.
. . . body-image research shows that the closer we get to achieving our ideal appearance, the more conditional our sense of self worth becomes, and the more we fear what it will cost us when our appearance inevitably changes.
I used to think that the sacred place where I met the Divine was always somewhere else, somewhere that was not “here” in the rhythms of my daily life. But now I see that the Holy is very much here — my body is a sanctuary, a mobile home of the Divine.
So good, yes?
A quick addendum: I had this written and ready when I happened to see an email that included the transcript of a recent sermon by Nadia Bolz-Weber. I couldn’t not include at least an excerpt for those of you who, like me, have an understanding (or lack thereof) of your body that has been heavily influenced by the church.
“The wildness of human variation isn’t a mistake — it is a sign of the glory of God — and yet we made it a sign for the value and ranking of people. Leave it to humans to take a gift and turn it into a curse.
But your body — your body is not a curse, it is a chariot.
It is a glory and a wonder. An individual container of the holy. It is a glimpse into the image of God. And it deserves so much love and respect for it has carried you through every day of your life — even every day of Jr High. Think of THAT.”
You can read the whole sermon here. It’s brilliant. She is.
Worth repeating: “. . . your body is not a curse, it is a chariot.”
May it be so.