Woman’s Body Nature’s Body ~ A Journey to Rock Lodge

Woman’s Body ~ Nature’s Body

Paradise. Absolute Paradise. Those were the only words when thinking back on my day at Rock Lodge that were adequate to describe my experience and all to brief visit to this magical sanctuary.

“Packing light?” my husband joked with me as I put my sarong, towel and hat in my canvas beach bag.  Conspicuously missing a swimsuit, I smiled. I had been wanting to visit Rock Lodge all summer – a naturist paradise. Beautiful lake, scenic hiking trails, wildlife and nature in abundance and the option to be absolutely clothing free. I had offered to teach a yoga class at 11:30am that day and after a few wrong turns on my adventure there, I arrived just in time for the class. I was joy-filled to see wonderful yogis in the class as old as 70 and as young as 7 each celebrating their body and the spirit of yoga sans clothes. In my yoga practice thus far, naked yoga had been about consciously removing clothes, the identities behind them, finding a new deeper layer of freedom that isn’t generally available in the rushed metropolis of New York life. Now I was faced with a group of people who already had that layer of freedom. There was no disrobing ceremony.These powerful group were already uncompartmentalized, in celebration of their body, loved yoga and wore whatever clothes at Rock Lodge that felt appropriate in the present moment.Sitting, meditating, Om-ing with this community, I thought – heaven is truly here on earth.This is what a world looks like without violence.

Talking over a potluck supper that evening with my host Sandy, he mentioned of one young woman – 18 years old, a budding opera singer and regular at Rock Lodge since she was 11.‘She will never have an eating disorder’ Sandy said very frankly to me over our potluck. ‘When one grows up with body love and acceptance in all shapes and sizes and sees their parents embrace that, one never feels the need to alter who they are.’ I knew exactly what he spoke of. I envied this young woman who had been in paradise at 11 while I grew up struggling with body issues from pre-teen to adolescence. I stared at this young woman at all the women at Rock Lodge and was overwhelmed to tears with gratitude that a place like this existed on the planet. I recalled instantly, like moving through a memory box of pictures, the snapshots of shame I had felt in body from a young age – my rejection of wearing shorts in middle school because of my perceived ugly legs, walking out of a room backwards after making love with a college sweetheart so he couldn’t see my ass and thighs that I thought were unsightly, feeling the self-judgement and loathing of my body the first time I was naked in public as the young French boy I was dating stripped encouraged me to join he and his friends in the skyclad hottub as I tried to hide myself and my shame under the darkening night.

Now during my paradise day trip to Rock Lodge, after swimming across the lake twice, I pulled myself up onto a dock in the middle of the lake and sprawled flat on my stomach ass and thighs completely exposed to the sun, the elements, the community with not a twinge of shame in my body. No thought of hiding, concealing, judging what my body should and shouldn’t look like. Here was the quite ecstasy of one-nesss. I hiked. I swam. I talked with old and new friends. I bared myself to the world. I marveled at a young Israeli mother and her seven year old daughter who practiced side crow pose on the swim deck naked as a… crow ;)Accompanied with her mother, an accomplished yogi practicing next to her, I saw what my body would have been like if I had the muscle memory to both be in side crow and to be naked publicly free of shame at seven years old and wondered what my life would have looked like if that support had come from my mother and if I had grown up with a mother who loved her body instead of loathed it. I wondered for sometime what our world would look like if mothers taught and modeled for their daughters that their bodies were both sacred and shame free. It would be in blood. It wouldn’t be something we would have to search for, starve ourselves for, we would simply be in it, naked in nature, in side crow, in love of our bodies.

I recently re-read Eve Ensler’s The Good Body. Eve has created a world wide campaign to stop violence against women since 1998 with her play The Vagina Monologues. On her journeys interviewing women across the world for her later play, The Good Body, Eve conceded that when so many women were so dissatisfied with how they looked, they had very little time or energy left for the war in Iraq. Eve was one of these women, on a masochistic self loathing journey to banish the belly she acquired recently brought on by her aging body. Consumed with her own judgment and self-hate, Eve toured the world interviewing women about their relationship to their bodies. Among the women she interviewed across the planet 95% of women said if they could change one thing they would lose weight. For 13 years Eve has been bringing awareness with her V-Day campaign to stop violence against women, but what her most recent findings revealed after her revolutionary play The Vagina Monologues is that as much as women want sexual empowerment and self-love, what we really want even more is to be skinny, to shrink, to disappear. Her astonishing play focuses not on men being the abusers of women, but on women being our own abusers and targets of self inflicted violence creating our own self-hate and spreading that curse among our sisters and our children.

In moving through the Metropolitan Museum of Art a few years ago, I spent sometime among the exquisite statues of Greek and Roman Goddess that show beautiful full figured woman, round, curves, softness and deep, powerful, unabashed femininity. I remember exactly what I was wearing that day, a long blue skirt that flowed like water and a brown and white cowl neck sleeveless shirt and sandals. The skirt was very long and I had picked up end of it and tucked it in the waistband to allow me more freedom to walk through the museum. As I was staring at a particularly beautiful statue, two women approached me and tapped me on the shoulder. “Are you one of them?” they asked me pointing at the statue. I had no idea what the women were referring to and I stood looking at them befuddled. “You look like them. You look like the statue. Are you Greek or Roman?” It took a second to sink in – these two women thought my body looked like the body of a Greek Goddess. I smiled and looked back at the statue “Maybe I am,” I said, with a twinkle in m eye.

Goddess knows it’s taken me years to come to love my body and to understand that my soul chose this body or my Earth walk. Even with a regular practice of yoga, self-pleasuring and conscious nudity, having grown up with both a childhood and a world that holds such a small idea of what beauty is, I find myself from time to time pulled down the vicious cycle of self criticism, until a moment happens on my yoga mat, or at Rock Lodge or in the Met that reminds me –hey – I’m a fucking Goddess.

To my sisters – the curse stops here. We have the option to step into our beautiful bodies and our Goddess-hood and teach this to our daughters. We are this next generation.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: