“Imagine a woman who honors the body of the Goddess in her changing body. A woman who celebrates the accumulation of her years and wisdom.Who no longer uses her life energy to disguise the changes in her body and life...Imagine yourself as this woman”
-Patricia Lynn Reilly
Lately I’ve been attempting to view my body as a goddess body. I’ve noticed so many mythical goddesses, wise women and representations of Mother Earth are strong voluptuous women. Women with bellies and breasts and thighs and wild hair. Some are not attractive by today’s standards at all and I’ve yet to find many that remind me of fairy tale princesses and the women from today’s magazines. This perspective has helped me reconsider my own body- its imperfections and flaws, its curves and thick bones. And in general, I have come to like, even love, my body. I can stick with that belief until I spend too much time watching TV or consuming ads for makeup and botox. I see the covers of Glamour and Women’s Health with photos and headlines promising the perfect “this” or "that" in “only 4 weeks”. For this reason, I simply avoid those now whenever I can. It can be a challenge to find bras or bathing suits that fit too, but I am committed to buying only clothing that brings me joy and allows me to flow and feel good. For these reasons, accepting my goddess body is coming easier these days but that does not mean it is always effortless.
About 3 weeks ago, I got into some poison ivy, not just a little poison ivy, a lot of it. First my arms- horrible blisters and whelps appeared and the itching was unbearable. I considered going to the doctor, but I read enough self-medicating suggestions online that I thought I could stick it out. It was only a day later when I was in so much misery, I went through about half a bottle of anti-itch calamine lotion, not caring that it was likely just as unnatural as anything the doctor would have prescribed. That night, I paused to read the instructions: “use up to 4 times in a 24 hour period.” Great, I thought. I have used this like 27 times today! Now I am going to die of calamine lotion poisoning instead of poison ivy pain.
The blisters started bursting and I was terrified it was going to spread. I started researching like a mad woman- what could I do? I discovered many truths and myths regarding my situation, but the main take-away was that I still had a couple of weeks to go before it was completely cleared up. I started wearing long sleeves, even though it was hot. I was embarrassed and did not want anyone to see.
Finally the scabs came, still itchy, and then, THEN, the bumps came. Little bumps all over my stomach..days later my upper arms and upper legs. These bumps were even itchier than the original whelps! How was this possible?!? Sleepless nights ensued plus scratching, more calamine lotion, cold water, herbal soaps and even a desperate sage and stone ritual. Did this mean my 2 weeks had started over?
So, one morning, I find myself looking in the mirror after a cool shower, enjoying the short-term relief that the cold water provides, and for the first time since I got the blisters and bumps, I really look at my naked body. My arms look like I barely survived a cat fight. My stomach looks like I have the chicken pox. My legs are covered in red and brown bruises the size of baseballs-my body’s reaction to excessive scratching.
It was then that I heard a voice that I had not heard in awhile. Oh, she was familiar. The voice that used to remind me I needed to loose a few more pounds before I could buy a new shirt. The voice that would tell me how horrible I was as I tried to eat dessert. The voice that used to echo the messages of the magazines. We can be so mean to ourselves.
That morning, in the bathroom, she paid me a visit. “Not the body of a goddess!” She pointed out as I stood there.
But then, a strong voice responded to the first one. She spoke in what could have been a question, but it was not. It was definitely a non-negotiable statement. “What do you think a dirt goddess looks like?!” She said, very matter of fact.
I smiled and the belittling voice shut right up.
This spring and summer I hope you have your own encounters with The Dirt Goddess. Play in the dirt, run barefooted, sleep outside, swim and drink in the wild air. I am certain a little dirt under your fingernails, those pesky mosquito bites and even a little sunburn, are all signs she’s there.