Owning Our Back Body
I’ve had many conversations over the last few months about our need as women to reconnect with our bodies: to embrace them, radically accept them, and take full ownership of them. I have devoured this knowledge while symbiotically working to become best friends with my body through mindfulness practices, Reiki, and connecting authentically with other women.
I’ve learned to truly love my body. Many mornings I wake up wanting to dance, alive with the divine spirit in my heart. I’m able to acknowledge when my body is tired and give myself permission to rest. I’ve reshaped my relationship to sensuality and sexuality. I celebrate my womb as a place of passion and creation, my heart as a pathway to love and compassion, and my mind as an alter to rising consciousness.
Then, a few weeks ago, I had a conversation with my mom about some of the blogs I had been writing. She felt that I had a very negative view of my past, which immediately put my defenses up because I knew there was a lot of truth in it.
I am a very positive person. Ask anyone who has ever known me. So seeing myself holding such negativity in this way disrupted me deeply.
We all put our past ‘behind’ us, and what I had failed to realize is just how much my past was taking asylum in my body. This is when I began to acknowledge my back body.
What is the back body? Hate. Judgment. Fear. Selfishness. Blame. Shame. These are strong words, and nonetheless they are aspects of who we truly are.
In meditation one morning, I visited my back body for the first time. These were hard things for me to look at in myself, and by associating them with my past I realized I had been denying their presence in my present self.
Stories began to flood my mind. The way I have blamed others for my suffering. The way I have let down others because of my ignorance and selfishness: boyfriends, friends, my parents. The way I have abused myself with shame. I felt myself pushing the stories away from me. The harder I pushed and tried to reaffirm my illusion of safety, the more they seemed to cling on to me and exhaust me.
And then I shifted.
I truly saw myself as imperfect and I showed myself compassion. Instead of pushing my back body away from me, I pulled it towards me. I felt it support me. I no longer needed to see myself as a victim of my back body, but instead took responsibility for it. There was comfort in owning these pieces of myself. My body felt as if it had reclaimed an important part of itself.
Often we are afraid to visit parts of ourselves we dislike, perhaps afraid that others will also see them. Being vulnerable and becoming intimate with ourselves in this way allows us to become more intimate with others.
Defining a special place to visit our back body can help create a sense of safety as we face these difficult parts of ourselves – such as a meditation space, a particular walk, or within a circle of women.
Owning our back body allows us to make peace with both the past and present. We can live more mindfully in our bodies and inspire others to do the same.
Photo credit: Creative Market