A woman’s relationship to her own body plays a huge part in the dance of her life. The way we talk to, treat and experience our body has a profound ripple effect in the whole of our lives. Starting with the physical, sensual home that is the body you are living in, you can decide how you want to embody, dance and live your life.
I wrote Woman’s Way Home: Navigating Your Path to Embodied Power, to make a case for why it’s so essential for women to awaken to the power within our body instead of looking for that power on the outside. “As you read this book, you’ll realize the importance of women truly owning and respecting our bodies in order to fully claim our power and place as world leaders”, writes Kris Steinnes, founder of Women of Wisdom Foundation in her endorsement for Woman’s Way Home.
So how can we as women come home to this essential inner power and model that for others to find their way home. The place to start is noticing how you are being with your body and making a conscious choice about how you want to be moving forward.
There are two ways of being with your body;
● Use your body like a machine
● Inhabit your body like a temple
Use Your Body Like a Machine
When you look after your body with the intention to make it look good, toned and slim, and beat it into submission through arduous exercise instead of creative and sensual exploration, you are using it like a machine. There is little listening, little consideration of the body’s wisdom and most if not all of your focus is on the aesthetic of the body.
In this way of being with your body, you may find yourself judging, berating, blaming and abusing this human organism, if it does not conform to your ideals (and the images of feminine perfection that are promoted tirelessly in the media). You determine what is true for you based on what the outside world tells you and ignore your own thoughts, opinions, preferences and the crucial element, your intuitive wisdom.
Though you may enjoy sexual intimacy with your partner, you find you are hyper focused on the physical release, instead of the building and sustaining of arousal. You may notice yourself with a wandering mind, feeling obligated instead of inspired to accommodate your partner’s needs, thinking “oh well,” when your own needs aren’t met, and disregarding the sacredness of your own sensuality.
Honor Your Body Like a Temple
When you honor your body like the temple that it is, and seek to notice and respond to its subtle communications to you about its physical, emotional and psychological state, you are inhabiting your body, living from inside, intuitively, rather than from outside, gazing in from the periphery of the sensory experience.
Still choosing to engage in the activities that keep it healthy like exercise and eating wisely is important, however when you are honoring your physical temple you are more motivated by what you feel and sense, versus what you see in the mirror, and how it measures up to others and to the airbrushed images in the media. In honoring your female temple you also value the emotional and psychological benefits of the level of integrity you experience in being true to yourself, versus internalizing the opinions and standards of others around you.
To inhabit your body is to covet sensual and sexual pleasure and know the value of sustaining versus discharging arousal. You experience your body’s sensual expression as the divine dancing through you and your union with someone you care for or love deeply.
The two ways of being with your body I’ve described above are extremes. It’s unlikely that anyone will be just one or the other. The reality is that most of us dance somewhere between the two, body as machine, body as temple. Unfortunately it would be fair to say that most women tend to lean toward the first extreme, using your body like a machine. I believe that this tendency is a factor in the proliferation of depression, discontent and supreme isolation that many women experience in our world today. Despite the great strides that we as women have made through the decades, it is this disassociation that is hindering further and swifter evolution of the consciousness paradigm shift where peace and prosperity are experienced globally.
Rather than just looking at our own blessed lives to measure the evolution of consciousness, we need to also remember the vast number of women who still suffer worldwide. This reality reminds us that we still have far to go before our work as a fully embraced, accepting and inhabiting female community is done. And if you believe in the transpersonal power that we each wield, you will certainly understand that your awakening to this embodiment is an awakening for all women.
Psychology studies show that young girls by the age of 11 have almost entirely stopped referring inward for their own truths, opinions, preferences and values, and almost exclusively refer to the outside world be it family, society or media influences to determine who they are and who they need to be to be loved and accepted.
The practice of referencing inward, is a body centered way of being that I call Embodied Power.
When we practice looking inside for our personal power, our truth, our innate wisdom, we are practicing embodiment. When we take it a step further and dance that wisdom, we are using our embodied awareness as our creative source and inspiration. I use dance here to refer to any authentic expression be it movement of the body, writing, coaching, mothering or the managing of a company. Once embodied and danced, you are living that very wisdom and power, and can claim the role of embodied leader because of the high level of truth and integrity that you radiate and inspire.
The journey of embodied awakening is a lush and winding path, a fertile adventure of birthing and re-birthing yourself, and one I am blessed to travel with brave and beautiful women I call sisters. It is a dance of remembering YOUR vital woman aliveness; spiraling, diving and reaching from deep inside the blessed temple that is your body.
Machine or Temple Self Assessment
If you’re not sure, take the following short quiz and see for yourself just how honoring of your sacred vessel you are…… or aren’t.
1. You wake up in the morning and after washing and dressing you:
A Check your email
B Grab a cup of coffee to wake yourself up while you listen to or read the news
C Stretch/do yoga/movement/meditate or get some fresh air and a walk
2. You get yourself to the yoga mat and while you do your practice you:
A Think about what you’ll need to do when you get to work/daily chores
B Focus on your body and achieving more strength or flexibility than yesterday
C Tune in to your body’s needs moment to moment
3. You get to work and mid morning you start feeling hungry so you:
A Look at your watch to see if it’s time for lunch and if not you ignore your hunger
B Grab a box of crackers and snack on them while you’re working
C Take a break and have a snack
4. You go out for a walk and while you walk you:
A Talk on the phone
B Mentally review your to do list
C Focus on your breath and the nature in your surroundings
5. It’s bed time. After washing and undressing and slinking between your cozy sheets you:
A Sit up and do Facebook on your laptop or watch TV
B Read a book to help yourself fall asleep
C Turn off the light, review your day and give thanks for all the blessings in your life
Tally up your score
You’ve probably already figured out what this is pointing to.
If most of your answers were A’s, I’m sorry to say but you are treating your body like a machine. It’s time to wake up and realize that your body can only be as healthy, vital and give you as much pleasure as you devote yourself to it. It’s time to make some changes.
If most of your answers were B’s, you are on your way to honoring the sacredness of your physical body, but you’ll need to make a really conscious effort not to slip back into machine mode. You are not over the hump yet and some small tweaks will have you setting a new standard for yourself.
If most of your answers were C’s, congratulations Goddess. You are truly an inspiration! Celebrate yourself and let the world know that you are treating your precious body as a sacred and cherished temple!