Thursday, January 18, 2007

Giving up some love for the body.

Roy Lamberton Half, originally uploaded by frida world.

I am extraordinarily grateful for my body. I agree with Susannah's quote from C.S. Lewis that we don't "have" souls. We are souls and we "have" bodies. But I remain very grateful that we have them. My body gives me a way to interact with the physical world. With my marvelous, miraculous body I can walk though the fields of snow in Ghor, I can taste chocolate and mango, I can stroke my niece's cheek and I can run along the waterfront, smelling the seasalt in the air. I am mostly very happy with my body. It is strong enough to carry my increasingly hefty nephew when his legs get tired. My legs can keep me going for literally hours, even up hills. It is healthy and all my senses work well. Sometimes I get frustrated that my muscles don't have more 'give' in them, more range of movement or flexibility. Some days I avoid the yoga mat because I resent that I struggle to touch my toes. But when I went for a yoga practice session with Vicel, the fabulous Filipino woman I met here in Herat who teaches yoga, she told me that I was very strong, especially in my core, and that I had excellent balance. I remembered to value my strength and balance, and accept that flexibility will come. When I went to the Yoga Centre in New Zealand the teacher commented on my excellent "body awareness" and I realised that this is not something that comes naturally to everyone. This is something to value and appreciate about myself. When I read how some people paint or draw or make things to replenish their soul, I think about dancing, and moving, and dancing, and skipping, and dancing, and running, and dancing, and jumping. And dancing, did I mention dancing. I love to dance, I love music with a drum beat and a deep soulful bass that picks me up and cradles me in its rhythm. I love music that trips and plays and swirls about me so unexpectedly that the only way to dance with it is to let go completely and trust that your body with find its way to follow. I take a secret pride in the fact that my Brazilian ex-boyfriend thought I danced as though I was Brazilian, and that almost every Latin American I have ever danced with insists that I must be a little bit Latin (not at all, unless Irish counts?). I dance in the kitchen when I'm cooking, I dance down the aisles of the supermarket, I dance around my office and I dance along the street. Here in Herat my body is feeling a little bit stifled, but I'm remembering how to dance in my bedroom with the curtains drawn. Anyone for Madonna circa 1984? PS: The photo is of Wendie (in the blue) and me (in the pink) half way through a half marathon. I started out this race almost falling over from the effects of jet lag after flying in from East Timor the day before, but we finished up coming in at 4th (equal, of course) out of the women and 16th overall in this race. We ran in new personal bests at 1hr 54mins for the half marathon. I love that memory and I love this photo.


Regina Clare Jane said...

Really, there;s no getting around that we have bodies- so we should do whatever we need to do to feel good about those bodies. They are our reality while we are here. I love it that you dance everywhere- I can't dance a lick, but just watching someone who can dance so freely makes me feel good inside. And I am glad that your yoga teacher gave you positive feedback- so often we can get caught up in our own insecurities.
Keep on dancing, girlfriend!

susanna said...

I'm not very good with remembering actual dance steps but I'm up for letting-go and dancing like I just don't care, anytime! Every time I hear Express Yourself by Charles Wright and the Watts (itunes has it), I crack up laughing just imagining my three year old niece creating a new "crazy dance".

And you ran a marathon? Cool!

AnnieElf said...

Frida, you absolutely inspire ME to get up and dance. I dance around the house sometimes and my family laughs at me, but, it's a good laugh. "Mom, you are such a dork." Laughter. "Mom, you are such a silly." More laughter. Hubby says "hummmmm" and his cheekbones get high. Now I LIKE that.

paris parfait said...

Dancing is so life-affirming! And I'm glad you're not letting your stifling environs stop you. Sending you an email about East Timor.

My Marrakech said...

Yay for strong women! I box and find it so affirming.

Alex aka Gypsy Girl said...

You are such a joy! I LOVE dancing too. Even when I'm really tired. Then it just becomes a little bounce left and right... It still counts, right? x

Julie H said...

Hi Frida

I only recently found your blog - and I want you to know I admire you so much.

The work you do is amazing - to have given up all that is familiar to help others is HUGE!

I too know the 'black dog' and your post reallu got me thinking. I have been medication free for four months and am starting to feel the challenge. I am going to use this weeks holidays to really explore what I can do to deal with it. Thank you so much for the inspiration.

Sending a hug and prayers from Australia,

jojomonkey said...

I have recently joined a Samba drumming band which plays at various events around Auckland... And next month we are playing at the Cuba St Carnival the weekend of 24th Feb!! Yippee! You can see pictures of us on Flickr . . . look up AK Samba. The beat is infectious and people can't help moving when they hear us, there's nothing like a whole lot of big drums to get people moving! Can't wait to have you dancing alongside!!!!