Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Body Doing versus Being


When I was preparing to teach this past weekend's workshop about loving the body you're in, I realized a major shift in my attitude toward my body that had been happening since I returned to dancing.

I have spent most of my life worrying about, struggling with what my body could BE.

I wanted a body that could be a certain size or a certain weight or that would look a certain way in certain kinds of clothes.

As if our bodies are manipulated performance art rather than beautiful, powerful miracles.

When I started dancing again, I was in the worst shape of my life, so there was a short period where I fell back into this worrying about "being."

I wanted to "look like a dancer."

Translation: I wanted to BE thin, long, lean, and the way I had gotten that in the past was through force, through self-hatred based behaviors. Yet...I knew I didn't want to go back there again.

Then I realized, for example, that I couldn't teach the number of classes I was teaching without eating well.

I also realized that I couldn't have a strong, flexible, graceful body without taking good care of that body.

I transitioned from worrying about what my body could BE to what my body could DO.

And this made all the difference.

The stronger I get, the more times I get to surprise myself when I am moving.

The stronger I get, the more creative this body gets.

The stronger I get, the lighter I am on my feet, the higher I can jump, the more flexible my limbs stretch.

And again, I cannot attain any of that without taking good care, eating well, hydrating, taking periodic rests.

I wonder now how this could affect other women who have struggled with disordered eating and body image issues.

What if the focus were not on what your body could some day BE but rather on what you could DO in this body?

Run a marathon? Climb a mountain? Simply feel comfortable?