I lost my body once.
Not the way you lose car keys or sunglasses. More like the way we lose touch with old friends. The effort to stay connected turns half-hearted. We shift from tossing out specific days and times to saying things like: “soon” and “let’s make it happen”.
I lost my body the way the mountains get lost in the fog some days. We could be driving toward them or toward the middle of the ocean. It’s impossible to tell the difference.
I lost my body the way I lose my train of thought sometimes. What was it that was too important to forget? It’s right here. On the tip of my tongue. It will come back to me later.
I lost my body because I couldn’t bear to be in my body. It held too many complicated, overwhelming feelings. Too much sorrow. Too much rage. Beginnings with no endings. Forgivelessness.
I regarded it like the pile of books and papers on my desk that I should go through but find reasons not to.
I lost my body because I avoided my body. We were like neighbors in a New York City walk up, sharing a wall and scarcely knowing each other.
I lost my body like a kite string unspooling. It flew further and further away from me until I realized I needed it back. I needed to call it in. The pain of living without it became bigger than the pain of being in it.
I was trying to solve the equation of my life without a pencil. I was trying to hop over the waves instead of diving through. Those kinds of work-arounds only work for so long and only circumstantially.
The waves get higher so we try to jump higher to match them but we smack up against our humanness after a while. It’s impossible to work against the reality and parameters of our incarnation. The truth is: we have bodies. And the truth is: their truths need to be reconciled if we’re going to live in health and harmony together.
For me, the road back to my body has been the practice of meditation.
The act of sitting with ourselves is a sacred one. It’s built on a special kind of willingness to hold ourselves compassionately, to mother ourselves the way we wish we could’ve been mothered, and to investigate the very stuff we’re compelled to turn away from.
When we would gather for our Thursday night meditation classes my teacher would start each sit by saying: “Take a moment to thank yourself for showing up. You could be home watching TV but you’re here nourishing your own mind. That’s a big deal.”
The beauty of meditation is that the very act of showing up to the cushion is so profoundly brave and meaningful to our Souls that we can’t help but be transformed by the act itself. I heard Tim Ferris repeat a favorite quote recently: “The task that hinders the task is the task.”
How do we heal the compulsion to AVOID ourselves? We stop trying to jump higher and higher over the waves. We harness that energy and will it into faith instead. Raw, undiluted faith. The kind of faith that walks us to the cushion and wraps its arms around us, like an old friend who never gave up on us. Whispering: you can do this, you can do this, you can do this.
Whispering: I’ve got you.