Embodying Heaven & Earth is a new daily ritual for me.
Until I reached my 40s I hated my body--and myself. Since I was eight I had my hands and vision stretched toward the heavens. I despised my body; I hated that I was a woman.
Place your folded palms in front of your chest at your heart and breathe deeply. Extend one arm up with your open palm flat toward the sky and push against the heavens, while at the same time extending the other arm down with your open palm flat toward the earth and push toward the ground. Look toward the sky and take in a deep breath. Feel the stretch. Exhale and come to a relaxed position where you started with your folded palms at your heart. Repeat by switching the arm extended upward and downward and rest again at your heart. Do three easy sets.
You will feel yourself taking in heaven, grounding in earth then coming to a rest with your Self at your heart.
The physical movements encourage me toward an ideal in consciousness and thus practice.
Though my belief system taught that the body is a temple and it should be cared for, and I spoke this wisdom to others, I didn't believe it. The body was a distraction and a bother and I abused it through lack of sleep, little food, and physically daunting overwork.
I didn't have a palm faced down grounding me to the earth and the physicality of my existence. Though I often folded my palms is prayer, until recently I had sold myself out and my palms weren't at my heart. I forgot to listen to that sacred part of me.
Eve began by reading the opening paragraphs from her new memoir In the Body of the World.
She is a mighty, fierce, insightful writer.
In very visceral, explicit terms, she describes her hatred of her body, why she developed such despise, how she became disembodied, and how, after all these years, she became, finally, embodied through a major surgery, chemotherapy and a long healing journey that riveted her to her body in no uncertain terms. Any complaints of my body vanished as I heard her non-whining recounting of a body failed.
With sudden force, she spoke loudly, "If you don't like your body, GET OVER IT! It's a wonderful body!"
That wasn't even the riveting part of her talk, though the audience clapped and cheered and I shivered as her words cut a silhouette of my own journey.
The gentle flow of the Heaven & Earth movement in my daily exercise connects me to my precious physical vehicle and Mother Earth; allows me to express the intense desire for my spiritual aspirations; and most importantly, reminds me that coming to my heart to hear my truth and guidance is the way to navigate through my own stupidity—all in about three minutes.
Oh, how I wish to spare girls and young women from disembodying or hating their gift--whatever it looks like, whatever their ideal is!