I’m writing this for you on an airplane on my way back from a retreat weekend with twenty-something amazing women, kicking off a nine month collective practice group called WHIP- Women’s House of Integral Practice. I’m sure I’ll tell you all about it once I’ve integrated what we’ve been in together in our Wildlife Sanctuary. This weekend’s theme was the Genius of the Feminine and thus this week’s practice is all about getting in direct and loving contact with your body.
We live in a wickedly imbalanced culture. Care is secondary to achievement. Receptivity is begrudgingly added to the to-do list when the tank’s on empty. We push and drag our bodies through our over-active, pressed, stressed, cranked out and jacked up lives.
This week’s practice is about honouring, loving and doting on these beautiful forms that carry us around through this whirlwind world we’re in.
Practice: Try this daily for a week. Or the rest of your life, up to you. I recommend right when you wake up or just before bed. Undress and sit with your gorgeous, naked self and feel, for a moment, all of what your body does for you. Then, starting at your feet, massage, press, thumb or rub them and thank them for what they offer you. Move up to your calves, shins, and knees, being in contact with your body and lovingly thanking your body for what it does for you.
Work your way all the way up and around your form, over your trunk, your arms, your head, face, those strong or weary shoulders that are carrying oh-so-much. Say Thank You out loud if you feel comfortable doing so. Even consider sitting in front of a mirror and behold yourself pressing into and thanking your body. Gratitude and Devotion. Gratitude. Devotion.
I want you to watch out for some things here. If you’re a woman who’s bought into the fallacy that there’s something wrong with your body, be wide awake to the thoughts that may want to creep in and start commenting, cutting down or berating parts of yourself. Men too. Don’t let that in. Allow your movement of loving gratitude to open and relax you like you’re adoring a lover or caring for a precious and innocent baby.
For the guys, notice if practicing like this seems like something ‘for women’. Notice if you have the culturally predictable reaction that this is too feminine or weak or wussy. Notice how this reaction cuts you off from your deep need for tenderness and care and non-sexual, loving touch. See if you can notice the propensity towards muscling through or armoring up and allow this practice to love you.
May this practice bring you right in loving contact with your body, may you become more awake to the gift that your body is. And may this act of daily, devotional, loving gratitude bring you into a deeper feeling and bodily relatedness with your exquisite existence.