Honor your body, and the body of the earth, for they are One
A passionate love for being alive in this body has flowed through me since before my first awareness. It is what I took in with my first breath, true inspiration… but it was instilled into the molecules of my being with the dancing chains of DNA, those precious family jewels floating through my every cell.
My body was passed on to me from my mother and from her foremothers, back through an unbroken chain of women for all of time. My father and all my forefathers gave their precious contributions to ensure my life, and yet the real mystery of woman unfolding from woman… has never failed to enchant me.
The body is a prehistoric gift from the planet, ours only for the borrowing, until we give it back to the earth. This planet has supported and nurtured us, with the gifts of its air ,water, plants and minerals, and with the gifts of its people, our companions on this life journey. I am inspired by the generosity of this planet. Out of the more than 10 billion humans that have existed since time began, more than one half are now alive, and you were lucky enough to receive a winning ticket to be here! Aren’t you amazed?
I honor the body for what it allows me and each of us to experience… a human life. The daily practices of living, of having a job, and family, and household challenge me to incorporate exercise, nutrition, sleep, fun, family, and spiritual practice….and to succeed and fail, every day. Each day gives me a new chance.
This gift of birth into the embodied state of a physical presence gives us access into being… as in Human Being. Without a body, we have no opportunities for this life at all, no way to experience the wonderful, mysterious, exquisitely anguishing and joyful sensations, emotions, thoughts, and awarenesses of being Human. No way to learn and develop.
Some people seem to believe that mind is superior to body, or spirit is superior to mind, but I suspect that the ability to dissect our Being into labels and pieces is only a toy of the mind. I always get confused when people talk about one without the other, because I am never entirely sure what they mean, or if something important isn’t being left out! I am inspired by the whole complex
People love to debate about “mind” and “body”and “spirit”. I can only say that I have never encountered one without the others… and rather than limit anything,, I prefer to think of them as simultaneously co-existing, Self-generating, overlapping energy signatures of an extraordinary state of Being!
From baby awareness of air and light and warmth, to the developing knowledge of fingers and toes and mouths, our extraordinary physical manifestations as bodies, give rise to our explorations of the world, through self and Other. Through these we learn ,and adapt….learning relationships: emotional, spatial, dimensional; learning boundaries: Familial, cultural, social…..and self-imposed.
Our bodies are the most wonderfully designed, self-replicating, self-diagnosing, self-repairing, self-developing, and self-healing instruments. All of this, and more, is designed in to allow us to have the great adventures, achievements, romances, heartbreaks, revelations and griefs, that will develop us into fully functioning adult human beings.
For this reason, I have always been childishly in love with the marvel of our bodies, and the intricate miracle of our design. Our bodies are the evidence that the miracle has already occurred.
Miracles had to happen for you to occur. Out of the original three million plus oocytes, or seedling eggs, some three hundred thousand had to survive your mother’s birth. Then out of all her menstrual cycles, you had to be one of the approximately one thousand egglings that competed to become the dominant egg that cycle. In addition, you also had to be the winning sperm out of the millions that your father produced. Then you had to survive the arduous journey through the vagina, the long voyage to the egg for the winning conception, before making a hard return journey for implantation in your mother’s uterus.
And you dare to think that you aren’t a Winner? You already won the grand sweepstakes of of all time! You ARE the miracle.
I will always be profoundly grateful to my mother for this miracle and my first memory of being fully alive.
As a baby, I remember lying on my back, lovingly tucked under covers, but out under a tree-limbed sky… the milky expanse of pearly clouds criss-crossed by gently waving, dark, leafless branches. The sheer amazement of the movement, the fascination with the endless variations of patterns and shapes floating above me in the autumn leafed, cool air, and just being present, has stayed with me always.
“OH! ” is how I remember my introduction to the outside world. The real Big O…just to be alive, is more than enough!
At the risk of seeming a shameless hedonist and sensual voluptuary, I can tell you that I have always been amazed at the miracles that my body brings me. These miracles of light and shadows, the intense variations of colors from the reflected rays of light stimulating the delicate tissues of my eyes, and skin, and thus, my heart and soul. Haven’t you found your pulse rate increasing and your breathing deepen when taking in one of the incredible sunrises or sunsets over our beautiful ocean?
Colors, shape and shadows, textures of leaf and branch, mountain and wave, beloved faces, smiles and tears…precious communications… all come to us through the extraordinary gift of sight.
Tastes….(OH, Thank you, Lord!!!)… Flavors, spices, aromas, sucking and chewing, crunching and munching, from brain and body nourishing breast milk to all the finger licking lusciousness of dripping fruits— oranges, papaya, pineapple, starfruit, Lime, mangoes, corn, limu, fish, poi, coconuts, luaus, dinners, breakfasts, snacks, barbeques, coffee, Oooooooh that latté! Fresh bread, cinnamon, licorice, chocolate, ice cream… And “Did you actually make this? Do you have the recipe?” Sharing.
The smell of a baby’s hair when it is fresh from the bath, or the earth just as the first drops of rain fall. Mangoes…. when they are ripening. White ginger, pikake, lemon geranium, maile, and roses.
The scent of the sweet grass and lantana when you brush against them while hiking the high slopes of the western cliff trails, along Na Pali. Barbeque, with charcoal, and teriyaki sauce. Lemon oil on your fingers after squeezing fresh lemonade, or using lemon peels for your nails after cleaning fish. Baking bread or pies, or turkey roasting. Chili simmering, curries and cardomom scenting the air. How would you experience these without a nose?
The tickle of feathers or sand running over your skin. Kissing a baby’s cheek or the neck of your honey. Being kissed until your bones melt. Stretching your neck after sitting too long. Walking in the sand and feeling the stretch in your heel tendons and calves. The prick of mosquitoes as they sample the nectar of life… flowing through your veins. A hot shower after hiking back from the Alakai Swamp trail in the rain. A cool breeze after days of Kona stillness. Brushing your hair…or your teeth. Wiggling your toes.
A long drink of cool water gurgling coldness down to your belly. The hot sun after cold, cloudy days. All these sensual pleasures of being in a living body.
The relief when the ache of pain or illness leaves us….or our perceptions change, and suffering loses its grip on us. When forgiveness bridges the ache of separation and misunderstanding, or communication brings a loved one close again. The joy of the innocence of children… and the enduring wisdom of our kupuna and elders. None of this possible without our bodies. No matter what shape or size or age.
And our blesséd ears…..trade winds rattling through the palms, or whispering in the ironwoods, or just scuffling around in the eucalyptus groves. Sharma thrush and the busy cardinals. Jabbering mynah birds in the morning. Neighbors hammering, stream bubbling over the rocks, skylark in the meadow. Even Children squabbling in the time-honored traditions—“It’s my turn! No, it’s mine! She did it!”— playing in the street. Kaua’I roosters, unclear about time, crowing at all hours….marking the changing battalions of stars marching across the sky, following the moon. Slack key and symphonies. Songs and poems. “I love you.”
Even the silence hums in our ears with our own heartbeat, and the pulse of the universe at our center, and all around us, is brought to us courtesy of our bodies.
Sooner or later we begin to recognize the rich possibilities of being alive, and the opportunities for living before it is too late. Whether we learn through easy lessons, or the hard ones of illness or accidents that threaten us with the loss of this precious chance for a life, eventually we learn how wonderfully forgiving these bodies are. Good habits of healthful exercise and nourishing natural foods, will help even ailing and elderly bodies improve their vitality, their wellness and energy for living.
The energy templates for our physical bodies are encoded in our cellular memory structures, along with the DNA. The patterns are designed in for life, for self-repair and regeneration, and take a very long time to dissipate. Reinforcing these patterns can recall them. Ignore them, and they fade away.
Very often I am surprised by the gifts of inspiration that visit me when I am deeply engaged in physical activity. The flush of oxygen through our brains sends new creativity flowing through our lives as well as nourishing our cells.
Our growth and development process never ends until the last moments of our physical life, called our death. Even then, the forces of life within us are so strong, that hair and nails, being slow to get the message, continue to grow for some time. We all leave energy trails behind us. Let them be loving.
The eleventh commandment should be “Honor your body, and the body of the earth, for they are One.”
We can each honor the gifts that the planet has invested in us, in our bodies, by giving back to life through caring for ourselves, our families and our communities. Remembering this, we can remind ourselves to cherish our times for exercise or prayer or love or service. Often they are one, and always they heal.
May this day find you healthy, peaceful, and inspired.
For me, my love and fascination with the extraordinary gift of our bodies as vehicles for Life’s journey, has led me into many areas of inquiry: science, nursing and medicine, yoga and meditation, natural childbirth, natural healing methods, massage and the Trager® neuromuscular approach to restoring natural body function.
The miracle of our amazing design, repair, and maintenance systems reaches down to the molecular and atomic levels, and up through our eyes and hearts and mouths and hands to do heaven’s work, here and now. It is my privilege to work with Trager® clients in generating well being more powerfully, and supporting patients in their women’s health, healing and growth processes.
Virginia Beck, NP & Trager® Practitioner
Honoring the BodyVirginia Beck, NP, Trager Practitioner AUTHOR Virginia Beck
A miracle is not
something that happens to you.
It’s what you are.