Can I Be My Body?

Can I Be My Body?

by Dunya Dianne McPherson

In the mirror, looking back at me is mutability.

Woman Washing Hands by Mary Cassatt

I wake today in my body and feel surprise. I am me, yet in the mirror is an uncontrollable, shifting form with challenge in her gaze. She asks, “Can you—yes, you—understand the truth of mutability?” Not the childhood lurch between real and unreal. “Can you be the incessant motion of your life arc?” Today, it’s not an idle, heady question. I can have my dreams and flights of vision, but today my body, conduit and purveyor, calls me down from escapist ether to the ground of my living, reminding me where these energies nestle. In the mirror, looking back at me is mutability.

I’ve been trying on sitting meditation for size. It’s not really a good fit for me. I come from a lineage of deep motion and depth traversed in motion. We Sufis say: “Our bodies are our Souls Our Souls are our Bodies.” For us, stillness not naturally arising from a deepening state, a stillness that is compelled, is penance, repression, even abuse. For us, the body is divine. Our body, no matter how confounding, is to be honored—one’s own and others’.


Can I understand my own body? Can I read her, hear her, feel her? Can I be her?

Can I stop disciplining her, punishing her, abusing her, reviling her, misunderstanding and abandoning her? Can I be her?
Can I love her?

 

In summer, myriad leaves move in incomprehensible directions on a large maple tree. Leaves slough away. Sap pulses in its winter core. As this tree continues through seasons, each barked crevice, reaching pattern of branches, and fans of foliage differ from the next tree cousin in its copse. I breathe their breaths. I am red and brown and pink; they are green and gray and clear. We move together in this time.

Can I fully be this body that has been a child, an adolescent, an adult, and now a creature that surprises me, leaving other formations behind, forgetting other temperatures and sponginess, blinking into brittle light, into effulgence then furry dimnesses? Can I fully be this body moving through time, not one day the same as the next? Can I be the soft billow beside my mouth, the crinkle at my shoulder blade, the world passing through then gone?
Can I be her? Can I love such immensity? Can I come home?
Can I honor my body which is my soul?

Can I understand my own body?
Can I read her, hear her, feel her? Can I be her?
Can I stop disciplining her, punishing her, abusing her, reviling her, misunderstanding and abandoning her?
Can I be her? Can I love her?

I am delighted that you are with me. Thanks for reading and sharing friends!
Dancemeditation and my writing about embodied spiritual life are sponsored by Dervish Society of America, a nonprofit organization helping people realize their human and spiritual potential by honoring their body and its movement ways using evolutionary Sufi Dancemeditation practices. Thank you for your gift. It’s tax-deductible! CONTRIBUTE  TODAY!

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Deda
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Deda

Yes! Can I abandon the false comfort of identity for the raw truth of mutability? Living in that question for this moment….

David Hammond
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David Hammond

touch

roll

belly

being

me

Thanks, Dunya, for “reminding me where these energies nestle. ”

— David Hammond

Ellen Brodsky
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Love this post as I work through a persistent shoulder pain. Is my body asking me to find my back? To find a new space now that the Cataumet Studio is being pulled out from under my feet? Love my shoulders even as they ache.