I was at Fort Tilden Beach with a close friend and I realized. My body is nature. Do we criticize the ocean for being too avid in lapping up sand, cruel in hosting dead plankton, or moody in changing its tides? Like the ocean, the body is not inherently wrong, bad, nor sinful. And I relaxed in telling my body this. Let it lead a bit more.
How the body is affected
A large part of what we hide in our society is how the body is affected: burping, jumping with excitement, crying in big, fat, ugly gasps, laughing too loudly, farting. It’s no surprise that the body’s natural functions.are unspoken topics or childish humor. But “taming and civilizing” our bodies has gone much farther than we think.
If we hide it from everyone else, how do we know what body sensations we are hiding from ourselves? To me, this is the crux of a dissociation from ourselves. We cannot numb only the bodily sensations that we choose: this is why depression, alcoholism and eating disorders are so prevalent in our society.
Awkwardness is two body-natures intersecting. It’s when the body slips past our control, when we don’t expect to be so betrayed by our own selves. For example: stuttering when we get on-stage, or tripping when someone we admire approaches. It’s when we can no longer pretend.
I’ve recently become charmed, grateful and amused by these moments of grace! Thank you, body, for reminding me of your nature. Not of who I want to be, but of who I am really… (And for reminding me that, to my surprise, that’s actually more loveable.)
The more we embrace all body sensations, the closer we are to being whole in all moments.
One of people’s primary fears that comes up when I work with them in the Grinberg Method is that they will turn out to be a bad person. They can’t track exactly why, but how many times have we been told that we cannot be loved for what our body naturally expresses? As a child, when too consumed with a board game to wish to tell my father goodbye: cruel. When clamoring to go to the playground: lazy. When reaching for a toy: greedy. When exclaiming when receiving a gift that I already have a second coral necklace like that: rude.
We don’t lack mythology that upholds this belief. The story of Adam and Eve shows that the body — particularly the woman’s — is inherently bad, inherently sinful. So we wrap layers upon layers of mental conditioning around it.
Suffering is when the body is not nature anymore. The body as nature is self-regulating — it may cry, scream, move, or rest — and none of that is suffering. When we superimpose a layer of ‘should’ — i.e., do instead of rest, or be stoic instead of cry — replacements specific to each person — we take away the body’s birthright of equilibrium.
And that my body is no longer nature is the scariest thing that there is.
Power versus authenticity
Frequently, we assume that power and authenticity are opposed. In a strained effort to be loved, especially among strangers, we maintain control. And so we choose relationships of “power”: may you love me for who I’m not.
But let’s watch… what would our relationships with each other — and our relationships with ourselves — be like if we let our bodies show, in every moment, how they are affected? Aligned. And healthier, on both counts.