Wednesday, July 20, 2011

my body


my body

is
so thin


long ago
i wished for something else


and so
no matter that
it learned my dissatisfaction
at an early age

it evolved into
my unwillingness
to leave work
undone

my comfort
with being
undone
by my self


my body hurts
so often

through my unwillingness
to honour
its limits
its restrictions

and yet it sustains
itself
as all good animals do
through whatever means
are available

food
love
kindness
care

i trace its bones
and feel the history of me
in its fragile strengths

18 comments:

Terresa said...

"my comfort
with being
undone
by my self"

--If I could have one mantra this year, it would be this. Thank you for writing this (unknowingly) for me.
:)

Dan Gurney said...

It is something to ponder. Our bodies tolerate us with their deep animal wisdom, knowing how to sustain themselves with, as you say, whatever means are available.

Titus said...

Prompted a lot of thoughts with me, steven, and I must say the final three lines are stunning.

steven said...

terresa - it's an insight that has for me the deepest significance as i look back over the details of my life and how it applies to so many instances. steven

steven said...

dan - i have pushed this body in so many ways and while i have reached the point of gratitude having realized just how unkind i've been at times, i am still in awe of its ability to maintain and heal itself regardless of what i ask of it. steven

steven said...

thanks titus. steven

Jj Rodriguez said...

I have started early in life, 13yo. Need to help in my own little way after father died. I am just lucky that my body is healing itself and kept me going all these years... Thank God!

Nice post... A good reminder...

JJRod'z

steven said...

hey jj! when you spread the history of your body across your life and you realize just what it has been through and accepted it's astonishing isn't it. yet here it is. steven

Lilith said...

This touched me deeply. I was a tall, thin child. The girl that towered over all the boys in class, that came last in line because we always walked in a line dictated by height. Why was what that?

I learned early on to hate my body. It's only now as a middle aged woman that I can appreciate it for all that it has done for me. For bearing my children, for staying healthy, for allowing me to stay fit.

I am still not a big woman, not strong in the ways I would like to be but I am strong in other ways. My body endures and that's no small thing.

Thank you for reminding me of this.

Reya Mellicker said...

We are taught to disrespect our miracle bodies. "mind over matter." I think it's a leftover from medieval philosophy. Maybe. A big part of my job has to do with reminding folks bow miraculous we are. But an infinite soul in a finite body is very tricky indeed.

Tess Kincaid said...

Be gentle with yourself, my friend.

Jo said...

Steven, perhaps the most significant gift I've ever received is the teaching of a meditation called Inner Smile. It's all about entering into the entities that serve us (our internal organs), expressing our appreciation for the work they do on our behalf, and releasing toxic emotions stored in them.

"Fragile strength." A trick of the eye perhaps...like a ballerina who only appears to be fragile but in reality is an elite athlete. Great strength can be stored in beautifully streamlined bodies.

Revel in it.


Since becoming a consistent practitioner of this exercise, I have come to know my self much more intimately, and have learned to respect my self infinitely more than I ever did before.

steven said...

lilith thankyou for your open and thoughtful comment. i teach eleven and twelve year olds and i am acutely aware, both from my own experiences, those of my own children, and from listening to my students just how very vulnerable we are to the subtlest forms of perception both outside of ourselves and inside. it's often the case that these perceptions become internalized and i wonder just how much they affect - in both positive and negative ways - the unfolding of our lives. steven

steven said...

reya - i wonder why it is that we aren't taught to have greater respect and love for our bodies no matter what their form or type. we are who and what we are and as i tell my students, you are the only iteration of yourself so be thankful and proud and honour yourself. "an infinite soul in a finite body is very tricky" . . . oh yes indeed it is! steven

steven said...

tess -thanks for the kind advice. steven

steven said...

jo i had a look round to learn more about "inner smile". i like what i see. i'm a very positive and happy person. my daughter asked me this morning as we were delivering her newspapers "dad why don't you get angry? you never do." i wasn't able to answer her at first but then i said "i don't feel anger very easily. i love joy, giving and receiving, and i laugh when i'm alone about almost anything. i cry when i'm sad. i feel almost everything very easily except anger." thanks for continuing the unfolding process of my work this summer jo! wow! s teven

Linda Sue said...

I would imagine that "thin" might be more sensitive to breezes and thoughts floating by- caught perhaps on a bony bit- torn a little-insides exposed- Imagine I must as a round body - thoughts tend to bounce and roll. This time I will not be bony, nor glide on breezes and thoughts like a very thin person must do- I do think that your grass is greener. Bodies either we like them or we don't- can't trade in on a new model unless we are into a lot of surgery...fat sucked out- fat injected- No- I think we are glad that we have what we have, even though sometimes it seems unfair that that person over there is physically PERFECT! Damn !They must have got their bodies before the shop opened- early in the day!

steven said...

linda sue i would imagine that that could all be possible and that perhaps my slender frame is more able to snag stuff flying or floating by and that's why i'm the way i am. i tell the kids at school that my body is the best my parents could afford at the time, that i had asked for the ripped out buff blonde-haired lantern-jawed blue-eyed version but . . . . . naaaah i'm good with what i've got. i've just got to take better care of it from the inside out like jo says. steven