Sunday, June 19, 2011


     Would we be entirely comfortable wearing a bathing suit in front of the people we work with? What about our extended family? How about our friends? Strangers? Does it depend on the situation? Are we more comfortable in a bathing suit at the beach or some foreign resort than we would be at someone's personal pool? I believe more people than not feel shy exposing their bodies to others.
     There's something severely unsure about revealing ourselves physically. We have body doubts, fear of judgment, cellulite, stretch marks, big bellies, big butts, too much hair, or not enough. We are too tall or too short or too skinny or too something. In my experience, most people, no matter how beautiful a body they have, suffer with these doubts and discomforts. Rare is the individual who is 100% assured in a state of public undress. We are not what we think we are supposed to be. We seem to fall short somehow: not surprising, perhaps, given our culture, and the bodies we set up to emulate.
     I'd like to be free of my physical self-consciousness. I'd like to be truly ok with the way I am, in any and all sitautions. I'm much better than I used to be about the way I am on the inside, but physically not so much. It doesn't seem to be about losing weight or building muscle. I have done that. It's about changing my attitude about bodies in general, and mine in particular. Our bodies should be our friends and our allies, a source of pleasure and pride, not something we want urgently to reshape. We all worry too much about what other people will think of our curves and imperfections. It's so much easier in clothes where we can hide and drape ourselves, but expose us in a bathing suit and all of our small shames flare up.
     Can we learn to wear our bodies with appreciation? Can we celebrate our legs that move us and climb us up stairs and sit us down and curl us around our lovers? Can we enjoy the stature of our shoulders and hang our torsos from them with pleasure and ease? Can we embrace our flat bellies or muffin tops knowing that behind that skin and muscle is the miracle of our living flesh: our organs and digestion and detoxification? Can we give thanks for our backs, for our eyes and ears, our chest and ribs, and the beating heart that pumps and pumps and pumps? Let's make an effort. Let's take joy in the way we move and function and fit in the physical world. Just for today, let's be ok with our bodies just the way they are.

I have the courage to appreciate and accept my body as it is, and fill it joyously with my living spirit.