Body Image - Part 7
How Conversations with My Body
Improved My Life

by May Bleeker, 13 March 2009

<--previous: Body Image
Part 1 - Discovering the Metaphorical Body
Part 2 - The metaphorical body speaking
Part 3 - Conversations with my toes and stomach
Part 4 - Conversation with my knees
Part 5 - Insights from my stomach
Part 6 - Conversations with my skin, heart and blood

Scars and Body Image

All the discoveries I was making in my personal life led me to have corrective surgery on the scars that had resulted from my accident and other related surgeries I had had as a child.

While this surgery was 'successful' and instrumental in bringing about a lot of emotional healing, it also made me realise that no manner of operation could remove my scars. They were merely modifications to the surface.

Coming to this realization enabled me to finally accept myself as I am. In case you think this is a small matter, consider that it took me about 32 years to actually see that I had an issue, let alone finally coming to terms with it.

During the process of recovery my talks with my body intensified. As it turned out, my body had information my conscious mind could not provide.

Recovery

At one point during recovery my wounds did not seem to be healing correctly. To my conscious mind something seemed 'wrong'. It looked wrong. The edges of the wounds were not knitting together. They had, in fact, healed along the edges themselves, but the edges had not fused together!

To my horror and disgust (I am quite squeamish) I could actually see into my body (through the gaps) and needless to say, I didn't really want to.

Trips to the hospital confirmed that we were all just observers of the body's own healing. Each wound heals in its own way, in its own time. Neither doctor nor nurse could tell me more than there was no sign of infection and that I should just give it time.

Practical Realities

But the nature of the wound meant changing dressings every day and I was running out fast. The dressings were not normally stocked by my local chemist, were very expensive and required an advanced order.

Consciously I thought I needed to order more as I only had a few left. But curiously, my body kept telling me I didn't need to order more. By this time my body was volunteering information even before I'd formulated the question.

Body Image Nonsense?

But the information didn't make sense to me. I'd been changing dressings for weeks and the wounds still showed very little signs of closing up. Every time I asked, my body said: No. No need to buy more.

I was quietly freaking out about this. Not only was I anxious about being able to see the interior of my body each time I changed a dressing, but if I ran out of dressings before the wound healed I would be in quite a predicament.

Being open, oozing wounds they needed proper, sterile covers. Ordinary plaster or bandage could not do the job. But ordering them and not needing them would mean spending hundreds of pounds for something I would never use again.

Learning to Trust

I decided to take a chance and trust the message my body was giving me. Again, this may not sound like a big deal, but it was felt like a huge risk to me at the time. I felt I was going directly against my own logic, which was a very unfamiliar thing for me to do.

As soon as I made this decision I felt tremendous relief.

I suddenly became quite clear on the difference between my 'everyday thinking mind' and my 'body mind'. In this case my everyday thinking mind was in a dither and my body mind was calm and knew what to do.

I decided to trust the calm body-mind and stopped listening (at least for a while) to my dithering, anxious 'everyday thinking mind'.

Flow

Within 48 hours - by which time I'd used the last dressing, the wounds that had not knit in two weeks zipped themselves up. It seemed nothing short of miraculous to me.

Was it the fact that I had finally relaxed? Was it just the 'right time'? Whatever the case, I did not need any extra dressings. When I removed the last one, the wound no longer needed covering.

But something else had knitted together too. My body and I had forged a deeper connection. It felt like friendship and love. I'd never felt so close or so bonded to any part of myself. I had somehow reached a new experience of wholeness.

Out of this connection a deep river of gratitude and love flowed towards myself and everyone and everything around me.

I was suddenly able to be more gentle and loving towards myself and others than had ever been possible before.

I made records of these and other conversations which continued well into 2008.

In later conversations my body provided information relating to the world and universe at large that seems incredible to me. Topics included the nature of death and reality, and how thoughts influence reality. Still now, when I read them I feel humbled at the little that I actually understand.

The Value of the Body-Mind

Reading my questions in some conversations I seem like someone wandering around in the dark yelling 'coo-ee' and moving ever closer to the voice guiding me - you're warmer, warmer, no, cold. Warmer now…yes, you're getting closer to the real meaning. Aha! There it is!

What I have come to understand through this process is that the body seems to stand for something far deeper than its mere physical existence. Like numbers that are symbols which can be used to explain physical reality, the metaphorical body image is also a collection of symbols, containing vast amounts of information about your life and the world around you.

This metaphorical body image stands for a 'body of knowledge' that is completely unified and connected with everything else. The different parts of the body, as metaphors, can convey deep and broad information about you and the world, far beyond you.

I am aware that it may sound strange in the telling, but this experience has had tremendous personal meaning for me. It led me to a greater appreciation of my physical body and improved my body image by changing the content rather than the image itself.

As a result I was able to experience myself as 'whole' in spite of my scars, where previously these scars had made me feel that a 'piece of me was missing'.

I experienced this as a radical change that had many positive after effects on my confidence, self image and body image.

It also resulted in a sense of gratitude and love towards my self and others, and a great sense of compassion for all our physical bodies, doing their best for us. This has literally changed my life.

It has opened me to things that I was previously closed to. I regard my body with a new reverence and sense of friendship that enriches every relationship I have.

In short, discovering my metaphorical body is one of the best things that has ever happened to me.

If you have any questions about the metaphorical body, body image, or body-mind as I've described it here, feel free to ask and I'll do my best to answer.

<--previous: Body Image
Part 1 - Discovering the metaphorical body
Part 2 - The metaphorical body speaking
Part 3 - Conversations with my toes and stomach
Part 4 - Conversation with my knees
Part 5 - Insights from my stomach
Part 6 - Conversations with my skin, heart and blood


Return from Part 7 to Inner Body Image
Return from Body Image - Part 7 to Doorway to Self Esteem


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