Wednesday, April 15, 2009

You're not your body

I haven't cable TV for very long, but I tell you, I've learned a lot since we got cable. Some of the most interesting shows are on TLC. Last night I saw the Mermaid Girl. Over the weekend there was the Lady with Giant Legs. A while ago I saw the Tree Man and the two girls who share one body. It reminds me so much that we are not our bodies. We have bodies. And who we are really has nothing to do with our bodies at all. There's so much focus in our culture on our bodies and their shapes and we worry that some how our bodies are not enough or are too much. We think people like us or don't like us based on our bodies.

When my daughter was born I remember being aware that she wasn't just a baby, but that she was a full person. Her presence filled the room long before she could talk.

I still like my body to be comfortable because I'm also aware of what it's like to be in a body when it's in pain or discomfort. I like to meditate and move around and sit at my computer and not be bothered by my body and I like it when it's functioning properly, so working out at the gym and doing yoga postures makes a lot of sense. But to think my body and its limbs and hair and skin is somehow personal to who I am is just silly. I have a body, I love my body - it takes me where I want to go - but it's not who I am. It informs my experience for sure, it's a woman's body, it's not tall, it's over 40, but none of that is ME. I could lose a limb and still be completely myself. In fact, there's some info out there saying that the subtle body remains even when the physical part is gone. (I'm going to try and find the reference for that and get back to you.)

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