A Body Incredible

Image: Body Electric by Atomicjeep on Flickr

I am not always happy with you, body. You have bits that wobble in a way that I don’t like. You have marks and discolorations that annoy. Your blood pressure is fussy. You have rheumatoid arthritis and the associated pain. Your hamstrings are tight and your lower back is too. You grow hair in places I could pass on, but not in the areas where I would like some. Some days I would happily trade you in for another.

But, look what you have done:

  • 46+ years of heart beating, 60-100 beats per minute or more, on and on through over 24,500,000 minutes.
  • The same length of time in breathing, in and out, chest rising and falling knowing on your own when more is needed or less.
  • Countless meals digested and processed into energy to power the movement, the breath, the heartbeat, the thoughts.
  • The care and growing of six full beings. Six FULL beings that developed there, with precision, with care.
  • Moving through waiting tables, bartending, teaching, and other tasks with little obvious direction required.
  • Accomplishing the art of balance, mostly on the soles of two feet that represent a tiny portion of the overall surface of the body, micro-movements occurring in every instant to maintain the fragile balance. Sometimes even balancing on hands or head or one leg, or on a narrow surface, or while negotiating a tricky path.
  • Shifting and changing to accommodate the life changes around, belly growing and shrinking in pregnancy, center of balance moving when needed, producing this hormone or that one, more stomach acid or less, heart pumping harder or slowing.
  • Helping me to find my way to new modes of being in the body that create and support new modes of being in the mind and the heart.
  • Healing wounds and bruises and viruses, mostly with only the internal mechanisms of cell growth and immune response.
  • And so much more…

And still more to do.

So, body, you are pretty impressive.

O my body! I dare not desert the likes of you in other men and women, nor the likes of the parts of you,
I believe the likes of you are to stand or fall with the likes of the soul, (and that they are the soul,)
I believe the likes of you shall stand or fall with my poems, and that they are my poems,
Man’s, woman’s, child’s, youth’s, wife’s, husband’s, mother’s, father’s, young man’s, young woman’s poems,
Head, neck, hair, ears, drop and tympan of the ears,
Eyes, eye-fringes, iris of the eye, eyebrows, and the waking or sleeping of the lids,
Mouth, tongue, lips, teeth, roof of the mouth, jaws, and the jaw-hinges,
Nose, nostrils of the nose, and the partition,
Cheeks, temples, forehead, chin, throat, back of the neck, neck-slue,
Strong shoulders, manly beard, scapula, hind-shoulders, and the ample side-round of the chest,
Upper-arm, armpit, elbow-socket, lower-arm, arm-sinews, arm-bones,
Wrist and wrist-joints, hand, palm, knuckles, thumb, forefinger, finger-joints, finger-nails,
Broad breast-front, curling hair of the breast, breast-bone, breast-side,
Ribs, belly, backbone, joints of the backbone,
Hips, hip-sockets, hip-strength, inward and outward round, man-balls, man-root,
Strong set of thighs, well carrying the trunk above,
Leg fibres, knee, knee-pan, upper-leg, under-leg,
Ankles, instep, foot-ball, toes, toe-joints, the heel;
All attitudes, all the shapeliness, all the belongings of my or your body or of any one’s body, male or female,
The lung-sponges, the stomach-sac, the bowels sweet and clean,
The brain in its folds inside the skull-frame,
Sympathies, heart-valves, palate-valves, sexuality, maternity,
Womanhood, and all that is a woman, and the man that comes from woman,
The womb, the teats, nipples, breast-milk, tears, laughter, weeping, love-looks, love-perturbations and risings,
The voice, articulation, language, whispering, shouting aloud,
Food, drink, pulse, digestion, sweat, sleep, walking, swimming,
Poise on the hips, leaping, reclining, embracing, arm-curving and tightening,
The continual changes of the flex of the mouth, and around the eyes,
The skin, the sunburnt shade, freckles, hair,
The curious sympathy one feels when feeling with the hand the naked meat of the body,
The circling rivers the breath, and breathing it in and out,
The beauty of the waist, and thence of the hips, and thence downward toward the knees,
The thin red jellies within you or within me, the bones and the marrow in the bones,
The exquisite realization of health;
O I say these are not the parts and poems of the body only, but of the soul,
O I say now these are the soul!

~ Walt Whitman, ‘I Sing the Body Electric’

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6 Responses to A Body Incredible

  1. Josie says:

    Beautiful words. They speak for thousands and millions of bodies which need to hear such words of love, true respect and appreciation. Thank you. I’m going to share this up! I’ve started reading your blog a while ago and have been inspired by your culminations of vegan recipes and yoga wisdom. Love & light~ Josie

  2. Sara says:

    This is so wonderfully incredible and JUST what I needed to hear this morning. I’d like to print it out and paste it to my bedroom wall, read these words every morning. Thank you!

  3. corinne says:

    It was so great to find your blog today. I’m starting a yoga challenge for my friends and students and sometimes I have a hard time being open with my own issues with my body. This post was a really good reminder that sharing our imperfection doesn’t make us more imperfect, it makes us more open. Thank you!

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