As soon as I posted my blog on Reiki, the Vagina, and Holistic Healing, a followup began to emerge. That post was pretty lengthy and I decided to keep it readable rather than sharing everything I have to say on the topic. I thought that an exploration of the mental, emotional, and energetic patterns that contribute to lack of wellness in the reproductive and sexual organs would satisfy the assignment Spirit had given me.
My new assignment is to cover the nature of our relationships with our bodies. I’m here to suggest that befriending the physical body is a means to creating wellness and accessing inner wisdom and power. Heretical? Maybe! Uncomfortable? Absolutely. Worth the effort? Hell, yes! We cannot be whole (healed) while rejecting any part of ourselves.
Living in the modern western world, we’re taught to identify with our minds, thinking that Logic and Reasoning are the bomb. We’re taught that the physical body and the emotions are messy inconveniences, best avoided until they complain too loudly, and then silenced with any number of harmful behaviors or substances so that we can get back to our planning, thinking, and analyzing.
We expect the body to perform as a vehicle, carrying around our heads with very minimal support. We berate it for needing so much sleep and nourishment, we criticize it for not complying with our wishes to be a certain shape or size, for aging, for aching and eventually breaking down.
As women, we’re taught to compete with insanely impossible Beauty Ideals and to judge our worth in comparison to photoshopped, waif-like, supermodels who have a team of professionals tampering with their natural appearance. Body dysmorphia is common as a result.
It’s quite normal in this day and age to have a very dysfunctional, neglectful, even abusive, relationship with one’s own body! Sadly, the body receives these disparaging messages and responds defensively. It senses danger and activates survival mechanisms that wear it down over time.
Imagine how you would react if someone were constantly yelling at you, complaining about you and lamenting your very being. You’d want to run away, hide, or lash out, right? Self-criticism chronically activates the fight/flight/freeze response and creates a toxic chemical soup that encourages inflammation.
Can you see how such a relationship would ultimately disrupt the flow of life-force energy? Since the vagina, vulva, and reproductive organs are not essential for survival in the face of immediate danger, these areas are among those that are most affected by the disrupted energy flow. If you want to heal yourself, it’s important to look at any habits that cause the body to think it’s in danger (including self-criticism). Then… just stop. Stop berating your body with negative self-talk and then wondering why it’s not healing.
Learning to befriend the body might seem like a radical suggestion if you’ve been treating it as your archenemy for decades. What would it be like to listen to your body’s sensations and learn to respond the same way you would to a friend?
To eat when you’re hungry, and maybe even eat the foods that your body is requesting?
To rest when tired?
To empty your bladder at the first signal rather than waiting till you’re about to burst?
To move in ways that feel good rather than pushing yourself to do vigorous workouts when fatigued?
What if you learned to honor your body as the expert on what it needs, rather than relying on externally imposed dogma?
Let’s go one step further and tune into the vagina (or whichever parts are asking for your attention). I bet there are specific requests about what and what not to be inserting in there. Overriding these requests is the opposite of honoring. At the very least listen and acknowledge her.
Yes, I refer to my vagina as “her” and listen to what she has to say.
I’m not asking you to perform the heroic act of loving your body. That’s master level kung fu. Let’s start with not being a bully. Maybe you can work your way up to compassion eventually. I often repeat the phrase “May I be kind to myself.” as a reminder of my intention to befriend my body.
I can also recommend Dr. Rick Hanson’s book “Hardwiring Happiness” as a source of helpful and very doable techniques for changing habitual thoughts and behavior patterns.
And since I’m a devotee of the Reiki system of healing, of course I believe that it can be a supportive tool to help repair any neglect or abuse that has damaged the body as well as helping to create new healthier habits of listening and honoring.
Because building new neural pathways requires consistent attention, I highly recommend finding a daily practice to support your efforts. If you are interested in learning how to give yourself daily doses of Reiki, I have an online training coming up that’s just the thing.