Good Body, a poem | BODY TALK

holy sexuality blog

The pain is here again

And the frustration

My back

My legs

I squeeze my shoulders

Clench and unclench my hands

Good body.

You are a good body.

You are such a

Hard Worker.

You endlessly labor

To process it all:

Food, air, feelings, stimuli,

Bugs and bumps.

Time.

You experience everything.

Still you strive to keep me here.

You are such a

Skilled Communicator.

You tell me

Stop, go, don’t stop, attend to this.

I frequently ask you to

Wait, to push past,

To take on that

Which is alien to you.

And to the best of your ability,

Despite how I treat you

Or speak to you, you serve

My innate need to be well.

And when you can, even

My will.

Dear Friend.

Hard Worker.

Skilled Communicator.

Good Body.

I hear you.

Even in need,

Especially in pain,

With gratitude,

I bless you.

——-

Mary Martin Wiens is a poet, a writer, a seeker, a reader, a friend, a confidant, a wife, a mother who absorbs, listens and holds bits of the world around her everywhere she goes. And sometimes those bits come out in poems.

 

Learning To Love Self | BODY TALK

Lately I have been hanging out in Matthew 22:36-40, where Jesus was questioned about what the greatest commandment really is. Can’t say I’m really all that surprised by the words, “…love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and mind…” but I wonder, if others struggle a bit with Jesus adding a second one and stating it to be like the first, “…love your neighbor as you love yourself…”?

Relationships are messy. And gosh, they are often hard to navigate well. How often do we really think about how loving our very self could actually be a part of the equation of loving another person well?

I love Sue Monk Kidd’s perspective and I thought I would share it with you as we wrap up a fabulous month of guest bloggers for our Body Talk series. Guess I am not the only one who is still learning a little more everyday about how to love myself.

“Oceanic feeling of Love, a vast capacity for absolutely everyone.”

“One of the misconceptions about journeying to a deeper intimacy with God is that we don’t need other people. We may want to get wrapped up in the coziness of ‘me and God.’ But of course this is a perverted spirituality and doomed from the outset. One of the worst illusions…would be to try to find God by barricading yourself inside your own soul.

As we wake to God’s love and presence in our lives, we actually become more capable of loving others.

It’s as if our hearts are somehow enlarged. It means that as we open ourselves to God’s love, journeying deeper into intimacy, we become more able to love ourselves. And when we love ourselves, we are finally able (and sometimes for the first time in our lives) to love others – not with a what’s-in-it-for-me love, but with the strong, authentic wear and tear love Christ showed us.”

Thanks everyone for journeying with us this past month through the Body Talk series. Hasn’t it been amazing? You might like to know that we have one last guest blogger coming our way tomorrow. You’ll love her words, I know you will.

So friends, here’s to enlarging out hearts…

~ becky

Like the photo? I found that lovely saying hanging in the walls of Oxford University.

The Princess & I BODY TALK

it was night.

and not just any night.

a special night.

that only comes once

a year.

the night where

we pretend to be the

thing we are not.

 

no, i’m not talking about

my everyday struggle.

i’m talking about

an organized collective

we call Halloween.

 

this particular

night i am with a small

princess.

her pink polyester gown

barely keeping her warm

in the night’s air.

 

before we head outside

a quick moment catches us

standing.

side by side.

looking into a mirror.

“you look so pretty.” i tell the princess.

 

she takes a step closer,

seeing.

she takes a step back,

swooshing her dress.

her cheeks hold her grin.

 

i know.” she breathes.

jack-o-lanterns light the paths

while the kids’ bubbled excitement

swells large

as the night holds them.

the princess and i

walk hand in hand.

mine bare.

hers mitted.

 

“ooooh!” squeals the princess

pointing her hand into the sky.

“look! can’t you see it? the moon.

it is following me!”

 

“why is it following you?”

i ask.

 

the princess sighs

“i don’t know,

but every night.

the moon always finds me.”

 

i pause.

“maybe the moon

really likes you.” i say.

 

“yeah,” the princess puts her

mitted hand over her mouth, giggling,

“i think your right.”

 

she looks up at me.

pure delight written all over

her face.

 

that night, i call her “princess”.

and every time,

she responds,

“but that’s not my name!

you forgot!”

 

she laughs at my mistake.

while i can’t help longing for

this ‘knowing’

the young princess possesses

of her own self.

 

and we walk on,

the princess and i.

past orange lights and

smiling pumpkins.

she pauses and sees it all.

 

each pumpkin,

each strand of lights,

each costume,

she tells each thing of its

beauty.

again we round a corner

and there it is.

bright and shiny and so mysteriously

hanging in the sky.

the moon.

it found the princess again.

 

the princess shrieks

with excitement to have been

found twice 

in one evening.

 

she takes a step closer,

seeing.

she takes a step back,

as she declares,

 

“it is so beau-tee-ful!”

 

even this night.

when we put a costume

on her,

call her a different

name,

tell her she is something

else.

the young girl knows.

 

she knows who she is.

she sees herself. 

her own beauty

is no stranger to her.

 

who can say this little girl

is proud?

conceited?

no.

she is not.

 

she just knows.

 

because she so clearly sees

herself

she has the proper chance to

experience the world around her.

 

and so for us.

may the beauty we carry

since the very beginning of time,

may it be no stranger to us.

may we begin to see ourselves so that

we can begin to experience all that surrounds us.

—-

Natalie is currently living, biking & writing in Minneapolis. Visit her current blog here if you like. Go ahead and leave her a note if it feels right. She loves notes.

 

Eat Slowly | BODY TALK

Eat slowly.

There is a small town in rural Japan where people live to be a healthy 90 years old. Scientists have studied this and the only behavior that differentiates these folks from the rest of us in our world is: they eat slowly and they eat until they are only 90% full.

In my walk with God towards a deeper awareness of my body, one place He is constantly nudging me is to pay attention to what I eat. He is showing me that He has created my body and He has created my body to need specific nutrients. After all, they’re all nutrients that He has made.

As I continue to walk out what I am discovering about my body’s connection to food, I see my three oldest daughters (ages 16, 12 and 10) doing the same.

So together, with my girls, God is inviting us into the rhythmical circle of life, of His creation. Together we are learning.

A typical breakfast my oldest teen prepares for herself. The eggs are organic and come from our neighbors, the tomatoes are homegrown, and the spinach is organic, store-bought. You really can taste the difference!

Eat slowly. In the midst of summer’s heat, when we stop to eat an organic, homegrown tomato slowly and it is soooo good. We are all aware and in awe of the One who made it. When we wolf down a tomatoes slice at McD’s, we are not.

Eat slowly. When we eat a salad laden with nuts, raisins, cucumber, tomatoes and organic chicken slices slowly and savor His flavors – we all marvel at how He blesses us. When we grab a quick wrap and gobble it in the car, we don’t.

When we eat slowly, our bodies somehow connect with His. His soil and the love that He took to prepare that seed or egg or cow is in us and helps our bodies and brains to function well.

This is my gardener-daughter with pickles from her cucumber harvest. Pickles for winter!

When we eat good meals, we want to eat slowly and enjoy Him. We also want to know where our food comes from and to eat how He planned for us. We want to know about our bodies and what they need. This awareness in turn leads us to make wiser choices. And in this way, we honor our bodies and the One who created us.

As my daughters and I have journeyed down this road, I have noticed that my body needs red meat once a week and thyroid building supplements daily to stay balanced – so I eat them, slowly.

My 16 year old has noticed that dairy makes her feel sluggish and causes more acne, so she’s chooses not to eat it anymore. My 12 year old has a passion to garden and touch His creation, so she does. My ten year old has developed a voice of advocacy against large companies that pollute the food God made. Ask her – she’ll tell you all about it.

Through a better understanding of our food, we notice how He has made us in tender balance. We draw closer to our Creator and long to know more of how He designed us.

Who knows, perhaps we too will live to be a healthy 90 years old. But until then, you will find me right here, eating slowly.

——-

Heather Dart is living, mothering, learning, exploring and creating right along side her beautiful family and close community right here in Minneapolis. Heather is a talented artist and illustrator, take a peak of her artwork here.

——

PS Just one more thing, one of my daughters has her very own bread business. She only uses organic ingredients and loves to deliver to her customers. Aren’t we the lucky ones who so often get to enjoy the aroma of fresh baked bread!

YOUR Body Is Amazing

Hi friends, Becky here.

How extraordinarily rich have these Body Talk guest bloggers been this November?! All this Body Talk has just been too fun! So, since we’ve been talking about the body… here are a couple of crazy facts I found about the body that totally amazed me!

Plus I just couldn’t resist sharing them with you. You ready? Here it goes:

  • A man’s testicles manufacture 10 million new sperm cells each day–enough to repopulate the entire planet in only six months.
  • The human bone is as strong as granite in support weight. A block of bone the size of a matchbox can support nine tons –this is four times as much as concrete can support.

A-maz-ing. You just can’t make that stuff up.

Happy Saturday friends,

~becky

PS Stay tuned for more Body Talk’s come Monday as my friend Heather shares about how God is drawing her near through the practice of eating slowly. Did someone say eating? Just in time for Thanksgiving…

Living Into Wholeness | BODY TALK

What I know to be true about my body, my spirit, my soul, is this; living in wholeness means embracing emptiness.

I traveled a dark road, incapable, unwilling, and unable to watch what was taking place all around me when I was just a young girl; a breaking of my childhood family – divorce – a tearing of souls.

My body found a way to cope on its own. I was unaware back then of my brains capability to pattern itself, but this didn’t matter, because the body survives how it has to; so it did it anyway. How wonderful the God we serve has that created our bodies to find ways to survive, to keep going.

And by God’s grace I somehow, despite the pain the divorce brought, I continued on. I lived. I loved. I grew.

I grew in spirit.
I grew in height.
I grew in anxiety.
I grew in mistrust.
I grew in family.

Now 20 years later with kids of my own, I am seeking to foster a place where seeds, my children, can grow in love, faith, trust, God and family.

Leave it to our children to challenge us. My children teach me daily that I need awareness, love, patience, and peace. But awareness, true honest awareness, is scary.

When I am alone, I quiet myself and all I can hear are the whispers of turmoil, pain, Fear – deep Fear. This Fear has resided within the deepest parts of me, in my bones, in my brain and in my heart. This Fear had become my name, my breath and without it I was empty.

When you can’t handle what you hear inside, what do you do? When you look deep within and there’s only darkness, where do you turn your head? Who are you? What is your name?

Adele Alhberg Calhoun summoned me in her book Invitations from God. She says:

“Transformation and healing always begins with cooperating with God where you are—not where you think you should be as a mature disciple, but where you are now. Transformation for Jonah began in the belly of the whale. Transformation for Peter came out of denial. Transformation for Thomas began in doubt. Transformation for David was possible even after adultery.”

What if I became present RIGHT NOW? Right here for this very breath?

There is a cost for full body and spirit awareness. The consequence is you will likely hear, sense, smell, and taste things inside of you that long for wholeness, for salvation. And I’m beginning to realize, that the only way to wholeness and transformation is through the valley of emptiness. We must let go of the patterns that no longer serve our bodies – those we were born into & those we created for defense in order to survive.

What might happen if I begin to fully feel the emptiness and space those patterns leave? And what if I let healing fill that space? Not tomorrow, next week or next year. Right now, right here, where I am today.

And today here I am. I practice listening. Not with my ears, but with my soul.  I quiet myself in the mornings before the little feet find my doorway. I sit in the morning darkness, trusting in the Light that is to come.

The Light tells me, “Be still. Let me fill you up. You don’t need to squirm about your day. Let me carry you. You don’t need to run around filling the space inside, rest and I will come to you. Listen and you will hear me. Stop trying to escape from yourself, I am inside of you, just past the fog, I am here.”

When I do this, I am aware that I carry Lightness – not the heaviness of pain. And it’s the Lightness I want to pass on to those around me. Freedom. Healing. Restoration. Redeemer.

And so I journey on, quietly, living into wholeness.

——

Annika Johnson lives in Brooklyn Park with her husband, two children and their yellow lab. Her days are full of kids, peanut butter & jelly, heaping loads of laundry and running the Early Childhood Program at her church. When a quiet moment finds Annika she’ll be reading, writing or walking. Annika found herself on a healing journey just over a year ago when she became sick with vestibular neuritis. You can read more of her story of living into wholeness here on her blog.

Untangling The Knots | BODY TALK

My body and I have been getting to know each other these past few years. Turns out there were quite a few things I didn’t know about this constant companion of mine. For starters, I used to think it was just a container for everything else about me—my thoughts-feelings-spirit-impulses-tendencies-longings-and sense of humor.

It never crossed my mind that this human shell of mine could impact any of those things.

Then one day Miss Sarah, my therapist, sat with me as I talked about a vicious knot of stress/fear that had taken up residence in my stomach. I told her it was wrapping itself all the way around my core—from my belly button to my back. It was pulling me in toward myself. Folding me over. Turning me inside out. It hurt.

She listened, as she does, and she asked me if there was anything my body might feel like doing in response to this knot.

I was annoyed. Seriously. Just tell me the answer.

But she waited. And waited. Finally, after a lonnnnnng, awkward pause, I took my hand and held it to my stomach. I kept it there.

It was a start.

Over time, I began to learn that simply moving my hand to the place of pain—even when that pain was emotional—simply putting the warmth of my own skin to my tangled stomach or aching heart or pounding thoughts, the simple act of providing a gentle, soothing touch, like a mother’s hand, could actually begin to unknot something. And, at the very least, it could leave me feeling not so…alone.

This past month or two, I have been thrown into another season of change and transition. The vicious knot has been paying visits. My stomach sometimes caves in on itself.

But now I know something important.

I know I was not created to live at the mercy of a knot, as a powerless victim. I know that human touch was intended to bring comfort—and it does not always need to be someone else’s touch. I know my Creator gifted me with the beautiful, incredible ability to support my own self.

Which means…

When I soothe my body, I can soothe my feelings. And when I offer myself a caring, compassionate touch, I can feel cared for compassionately.

These are truths I wish I would have known when I was younger, but I know them now and I can pass them on to my own two teens.

Because knowing how to handle a vicious knot? Matters.

__

Julie Rybarczyk is a freelance writer, sometimes designer, single mom and longtime friend of Truessence. She spends her days living the both/and—the bitter/the sweet, the pretty/the pretty ugly, the ordinary/the holy heck—and writing about it at her blog, shorts and longs. P.S. It’s pronounced re-bar-chek.

__

Just one more thing! This TED Talk by Amy Cuddy takes this concept in a slightly different but still-so-amazing direction. You might enjoy!

My Choice – Your Choice | BODY TALK

I am not alone

unless I choose to be

in learning to love my body.

My daily choice is to recognize that every woman

alive is on a journey beside me, with me, ahead and behind me

and we are all making choices

learning

seeking

discovering

begging to see beyond cultural norms

and grasp something that would anchor us

in loving this body that we inhabit.

I do not create the air that is around me,

my body responds to a need and draws it in.

I cannot produce food that provides nourishment,

my body’s appetite will consume calories I choose.

I cannot create ground to hold my weight,

my body challenges my mind, to silence its protests and keep running.

So many choices each day

that draw my attention back to the delicate juncture

of darkness – to reject this body…

of light – to embrace this body…

I juggle the emotions like delicate crystal

wishing this were behind me,

over,

finished.

Instead daily I am invited into a dance

to reclaim

to honor

to embrace,

and choose to return to a deeper identity, scripted in sacred words

“Now listen daughter, don’t miss a word…the King is wild for you.*”

So I meet you my sisters

at the sacred juncture of choice

to be aware of our bodies and

choosing to love that which THE King is wild about.

~ becky

Be sure to stay tuned as there are more BODY TALKS to come dear friends!

*Psalm 45:10 MSG

Vive La Difference | BODY TALK

When my children were just babies, it was already easy to see one way boys were different than girls; our girls would stare into peoples’ eyes and concentrate on the faces that were in front of them and our boy would look all around a room, taking in everything at once, including the person talking to him. As they became toddlers our daughters were fixated on dolls, animals and relationships while our son focused on planes, trains and cars. Even early on, it seemed as though boys wanted to answer the question ‘how’ and girls were more interested in the ‘why’.

Now my babies are teens and the male/female differences have been reduced in a lot of ways; boys and girls are treated similarly in high school, and expected to act much the same way and society has worked hard in recent years to make us believe that we can all be just alike. However, in our house we still have a lot of conversations about how men and women are different, and we highlight those differences in our children and in others around us.

For example, men have been given a great amount of physical strength. When our son was smaller, I used to warn our girls to be careful, he would become stronger than them someday, and he has! Strength is a wonderful trait to possess, as a woman I cannot imagine having the knowledge that I could physically fend for myself and others if needed. I believe that God gave men strength to do just that, to protect self and others; we talk with our son about the need to be a protector and the responsibility that this requires.

When our daughters get frustrated because of the unfairness of being the ‘weaker sex’ we talk with them about the fact that they have intuition. This is a strength that most men do not have and I view it as a sixth sense, an ability to feel out and assess the safety of a situation. This trait allows women to avoid a certain route or take cover if needed. I feel very sure that God gave women this extra characteristic for safety reasons, and also to help balance out the equation with men, and we talk with our daughters about the need to respect their intuitions, even when they cannot explain the feelings they have.

Our children have heard these thoughts for years, and our daughters have been taught to appreciate the strength of man, and to encourage it in them. Our son has been well informed about women’s intuition and taught to honor it, especially when it doesn’t make logical sense. In this generation that demands that everyone be regarded the same, we are trying to teach our kids that God made them different from each other, and to celebrate those differences.

* * * * *

To read more of Jennifer’s thoughts and reflections on parenting a house of teenagers, visit her blog here.