A week ago was my birthday (or Earth birth as I prefer to call it) and it was also the first day in 32 years I actually chose my life as a human. While I realize that sounds bizarre (especially to those of you who don’t identify with an elemental), I have spent most of my life wishing I could just float away into the ether. When I go to the ocean I often get lost in imagining I could dissolve into its vastness leaving nothing of myself. However, living in the clouds (so to speak) has had its impact.
I’ve spent a lot of time wondering if I am real and avoiding having a body or attempting to pretend it doesn’t exist. Often I’m annoyed by simply being alive…the mundane tasks of bathing and feeding myself feel so difficult and daunting. My entire life seems a struggle with my “humanness” such as my hunger food, lack of money, and sloppiness in relationships.
When I was little it used to take me hours to eat dinner (thankfully now it is closer to 1.5). It wasn’t because I was chewing slowly and digesting my food, it was that I was so uninterested in food that I couldn’t even eat. In all honesty, it’s been a life’s work to remember food--to remember to nourish myself. As if somewhere in the back of my mind I enjoy the feeling of weakness and being less in my body as then I felt closer to the dissolving I secretly hope for.
Then I remember I have a body and take up space, and then I apologize for taking up space when accidentally bumping into someone. By being very careful not to take up more than one seat on the bus (I’ve been consciously taking up two). It has only been until recently I have understood the impact my unembodiment (no matter how subtle) has had on my existence.
However, there are so many ways we as humans disassociate from ourselves and our bodies—TV, movies, video games, iPhones, caffeine, alcohol, porn, Internet, sugar, carbs, junk food, etc. There are many reasons we “leave our bodies” to focus on other things…it can be painful to be alive. To see suffering, to feel emotions, and even to notice how alone we are. My friend Jen Blackstock says it so well inher recent post on embodiment,
“By choosing not to be embodied, what we are really choosing is detachment and separation.”
More importantly I realize I’ve sacrificed my power, the power that comes with presence. I vow to no longer be yet another zombie on the bus with my iPhone missing the world go by or to watch a movie instead of sitting with my emotions. At 32 I finally feel ready to accept this body, and with it this life.
What does it mean to be “embodied?” It literally translates to “in the body” from Latin, but there’s something deeper than just being in the body. To be in the body means to feel life, death, and everything in between.
From a Jungian archetypal perspective, embodiment is represented by the Crone (or Saturn in astrological terms). And also the anecdote for my puella-ish nature and hurried, dissassociated city life. Etymologically “crone” comes from Latin and the word for “carnage” meaning “flesh.” To be in the flesh and embodied) as a full-grounded crone one must commit to being in the body. Unlike the puella who tends to flit and fleet about, the crone stays literally “down to earth.”
Something magical happens when we begin to come into our bodies...we become more of us. Our thoughts become clearer and we feel connected again to existence. The crone is powerful beyond belief, like a witch, because she feels connected to herself (and therefore others) and is also self-contained needing nothing to complete her. The crone reveals the importance of living fully on Earth with the humanness being our gateway into the divine. She is not only at home in herself and spirit, but also on this beautiful place called Earth.