I read an article on Patheos.com by Galina Krasskova about Beltane, where she suggests that Beltane reminds us to honor our physical bodies, to see the sacredness and beauty of our bodies and the experiences they give us. She asks, "How many of us can look in the mirror and say 'I love my physical form' and mean it?" That exercise is not new, by any means. And I was glossing over it a bit at first -- yes yes, self-esteem and self-love and all that -- but the part of me that's been trying to witness my own thought processes and reactions more lately made me stop. Because somewhere in my glossing over it was this feeling of, "Sure, I can do that exercise. But I'd rather do it later on, down the road, when I've lost a little weight."
Which is, of course, so NOT the point that it's the antithesis of the point.
It made me start thinking of the ways we put conditions on things. From the "I'll feel sexier when I've lost a few pounds" all the way down to "I'll be happy when [insert your happy thing of choice]". And for me, there was some initial internal resistance to the idea of letting those conditions go. As if I wouldn't have control of the things I wish to change anymore, or my sense of the ideal version of me would be lost. But really, there is no ideal version of me "out there", or in the future or past. I know I *can* love my physical form now, but in short, I've chosen not to. And it is a choice even when it's an unconscious one. Just like choosing to be happy.
As pagans, we strive to be close to nature, to earth's cycles, to the physical manifestations of the divine around us. That manifestation isn't pristine or flawless or homogenized. The fact is, we are one of many imperfect animals that sweat, rut, consume, defecate, and eventually decay and die. We are no less sacred in whatever form we currently are. As Galina says more eloquently:
"...each physical vessel of incarnation is intimately connected to one's soul, an integral part of it. We're incarnate for a reason. Our bodies are the tools and conduits by and through which we experience everything, including the Divine. Moreover, they may even be the way the Gods experience us, spirituality being, like so many things, a two-way street. Far from needing to escape from the flesh, Beltane reminds us that there's an awful lot of wisdom inherent in being in the flesh too."
So I'm going to make more of an effort to "be" in my own skin, to love this body -- hand tremors, osteoporosis, curves and all other supposed imperfections -- it IS beautiful. I think a lot of people I know who struggle physically more than I (ie have legitimate pain or health issus) would say that I am lucky, that I'm pretty and don't have major problems, so it should be easy for me. (The implication that it should be easier for me than it is for them.) But that's just another condition, and I think that is a tendency we ALL have. A knee-jerk reaction to the radical surrender of allowing ourselves to be perfect in the now. I think that when we feel, and more importantly when we *embody* gratitude, that we would actually begin to move easier in our own bodies. There's no "been there, done that" when it comes to love or self-love because it's both eternal and ongoing. I'm sure Aphrodite would have much to teach me about all this.
Sorry for getting all "Power of Now". Back to your regularly scheduled internal dialogues... (Dialogues? Monologues? How many people are in this head anyway?)