Friday, May 23, 2008

Who Are We?

One of my favorite people is OPRAH! She has overcome tremendous adversity to become a powerful, wise, kind, generous, influential and down right classy woman. And, of course, beautiful.

I've long been an Oprah Watcher. I've watched her through her Color Purple days and even before that I empathized with her in her rough childhood. I've watched her overcome prejudice against woman and against race. I've watched her survive incredible rumors and disasters. What a woman.

I've also watched her jump on so many trendy things I've lost count. That's ok - I'm the same way - gotta new trend, give it to me baby, I'll work it up.

However, for the first time in my life, I'm finding myself disagreeing with her a bit. But that's ok - she's still a number one woman on my list. I watched her go through her Tolle phase (I'm still reading his book in small doses) and just finished the latest issue of Oprah magazine which features a lot of great interviews on body image. Oprah's statement in that magazine is that we are not our bodies. She refers to Tolle as part of her realization of that.

I don't agree, do you? Our body is not the sum total of who we are, but it is an integral part of who we are. My body is unique - its temporary, of course, as I am reminded of that every day now. But no one else has this body - it is part of our identity. If I am nothing but spirit out there who will know me, but God? How will you identify me? Can we make our bodies to reflect who we are, to help you identify with who I am? Yes, I think so. Now, I'm reading that Oprah is starting a new 21 day diet. She's been on more diets than me, that's a lot of diets. If we are not our bodies, why bother? I think I know what she means though. She's a pioneer in helping us to accept our bodies I think.

Tolle started many looking at their "ego" - I've known about that "ego" or "flesh" ("flesh" referring to the un-regenerated part of humanity - unenlightened perhaps) for a long time...that cranky, negative part of us that would ignore everything but our base instincts, that would lead us away from understanding of who we really are, that would drive us to fulfill our wants willy-nilly regardless of our connection to others or the world.

Note: But perhaps that ego is necessary - it may have been given to us for survival, to constantly think - to anticipate danger - but I noticed in my religion and many others we are constantly urged to CONTROL that ego/instinct. So back to my main thought here:

I will not toss away my body - heck, I am just discovering it. Discovering that I have a responsibility to it - to maintain it as best I can, to decorate it as I will to express that part of who I really am. Discovering that I like it - tall, knock kneed, long in the midriff - narrow shoulders - not bad boobs for an old gal, big bones and all, etc. I am making friends with my body and doing my best to integrate it into myself, my "me." I am discovering my body is a great sense of pleasure - it feels the warm sun, it digs in the dirt, it loves a good massage, it tastes food, it feels kisses (and other things!), it smells flowers and perfumes, it is like a canvas upon which to work art.....

I think going through life trying to ignore my body or act like it wasn't me at all damaged me spiritually and mentally. It made me overweight. It made me ignore need for rest and vulnerable to chronic illness, weakened my back and knees, and then after I drove it to the ground, I despised it for not looking like it was sixteen and airbrushed and fit for Victoria's Secret modeling.

No more ignoring it - forgetting to water it, or feed it correctly, or move it about so it will function properly, or abusing it either by ignorance or deliberately - like eating that cake when discouraged - would I put poison on a plant in my garden that was struggling? No, I would feed it something good. No more despising it because it doesn't look like an airbrushed unreal babe from the magazines. Thank you Oprah magazine for depicting "real women." Thank you Oprah for being a real woman in public - trendy, emotional, nurturing, giving, strong, fat, thin, no makeup, makeup. I think you are off base in some things, but you have guts - you say what you think, what you believe.

Thank you bloggy girlfriends who are so beautiful but think you aren't sometimes - your worth is more than you can ever imagine.


Vicki said...

Well Sisty it sounds like you are feeling better...good!
I, too have been one to admire Oprah and what she has done in her life...altho sometimes I get the feeling that she is a little too full of her self at times. That is an affliction that I have shared, unknowingly and knowingly, as well.
It is a shame that for most women the time comes that we love our bodies comes only after it has become broken or at least damaged from years of neglect. In this wonderful luscious time of year may we all love ourselves, our bodies..made in His image, and love our sisters our friends with our hearts, our minds and fully with our spirit.

tweetey30 said...

I am still reading chapter 6 in Tolles book. I am taking it slow. So much info.

tshsmom said...

What a beautiful post!
I, too, am starting to listen to, and appreciate my body. Isn't it sad that we didn't understand our bodies in our 20s?

mister anchovy said...

I wonder what she's like in real life?

Hattigrace said...

Love you. Tolle's book tells it like he is - a communist and not a lover of the gospel.

Oprah, she tells it like it is too. Many ways to God and she is not too interested in Jesus. Actually got offended when her minister said God is a Jealous God and actually thought God was jealous OF HER??!! Hence, her arrogance.

YOU on the other hand are someone to look up to. NOT just bc you are tall, but bc you are mighty in spirit, gentle and merciful and artistic and talented.

All that AND you have a brain and articulate your thoughts brilliantly! I love reading your posts. Feel privaledged to have you as a friend. Loved you from the first time we met at Mama Hugs class!

PS Another Art Party maybe next Sunday nite!!! Yipeee!!

The Manic Street Preacher said...

If my body is the sum total of me I'm in deep shit.

Mind you, the vodka is nice...;-)

Candy Minx said...

Hmm...interesting post.

I think we live inside our bodies, and since we need to try to at least take care of them and have them reflect our spirit...

but in answer to your question, no I don't think we are our bodies...I think we are our spirit...and it is recognized by a different kind of "sense" by emotions and our inner self.

I don't think we are the labels we give our bodies might be a beter way to say things...we label our bodies by skin colour, by weight, action. Many people believe they are defined by their health. Or by their kids or family.

I don't believe we are "parents" or "employees"...they are duties and pleasures (if we are lucky or so commited) byt hey don't define who we are...

Of course, our body and responsibilities DO define us of we let them or believe the hype...lie I am a teacher I am a mother, I am an artist...

but we are souls...

I think we developed an ego originally to help us survive...but it got out of control. I don't think we need our egos at all. I think self confidence, knowledge and learning are part of the realm of the spirit...not the body...not the ego.

Very thoughtful post Gardenia much hugs!