Here’s part of a piece about how the beauty of nature had the power to heal my relationship with my body. I’m delighted that it’s been accepted as a guest post for Jen Pastiloff’s wonderful Manifest-Station blog.
To set the scene, it’s May. I’m on a retreat with six wonderful women in the Luberon Valley in Provence, in a house high on a hill, in a bedroom with no curtains. . .
The next morning, the barest hint of dawn through my uncovered windows wakes me. I smell the remnants of my Diptyque Pomander candle before I open my eyes. I turn my head toward the window and, drowsy and semi-conscious, am immersed in exquisite beauty.
It’s a little chilly as I sit up in bed to watch tender pink light emerge from a piercing bluish fuschia, to see the tall trees shift from shadowy black to darkest teal, to see the rows of lavender on the hill opposite our house emerge from the darkness. The mountains beyond the hills are a Pantone palette of dark to lighter slate blues. Birds are singing. The wind is soft. This dawn is as delicate and rich as Venetian velvet.
After several minutes of watching the colors change and the light bathe the whole scene, a voice, insistent and gentle at the same time, says, ‘If you didn’t have a body, you wouldn’t be able to experience any of this beauty. Not one bit.’
Sitting in my sleep-warm bed, bathed in this exquisite sunrise, I feel peaceful enough to simply accept this truth about my body without argument. As the sun’s light turns the trees green I roll this idea around in my head, thinking about what beauty means to me. Everything. Beauty means everything to me. I’m almost breathless as I absorb the blindingly simple truth that I can only experience beauty through and because of my body.
I am 56 years old. I’ve had a fraught relationship with my body since I was a tween. And yet, in this moment, seduced by the serene Provençal beauty all around me, I reorder what I feel and believe about my body, what it is for, what it has given me, why it’s a miracle.
That moment at sunrise in Provence was both the result of years of intentional work I’ve done on healing my relationship with my body and the beginning of a profound change – my spirit, mind and body are knitting themselves together into one whole soul.
I can’t wait to share the whole essay with you when it’s published!
Meanwhile, I’m feeling a lot of love from Jen Pastiloff’s Manifest-Station blog. My short piece Breeze, which you may have read, is appearing there now. I’m so honored to be part of this great community of writers!