Rex 072615_0228

Rex – USA

Liminal Space

 

I live in between
(  )
between here and there
between now  and then
between me and you
between exposed and covered

I live in between
(  )
in the liminal space where there is dying and birthing…. where the water becomes ice and ice, water…. where the wound hurts and  heals….

I live in between
(  )
spaces of calm and agitation
spaces of power and weakness
spaces of presence and scatter
spaces of growth and decay
spaces of open and closed
spaces of vulnerability  and protected

I live in between
(  )
for I know that the greater my liminality
……. the greater my potential.
for I sense that the liminal space
…….. is an infinite space.
for I feel my psyche’s liminality
……..in dim awareness of the unexplored.

Liminal <adjective> 1.) of or relating to a transitional or initial stage of a  process.  2.)
occupying a position at, or on both sides of, a boundary or threshold.

 

The topic of liminality speaks loudly in my  Embody Project process.  Yet, it did not arise amongst initial thoughts of the journey of my own embodiment.  It arose during the course of my interview on the land that was soon to be the site for my photo shoot.   Your stories of embodiment, my stories of embodiment – these are so rich and important.   And when I found myself pondering common attributes of my own stories…. this topic arose – the role and significance of liminal experience.

I chose my Embody Project site pre-meditatively for its open spaces and vistas that remind me of the vastness of both our inner and outer universes.   Open space has its own deep psychic meaning for me and provided inner connection and resourcing for the shoot.   Alas, synchronicity was at work as always!  My awareness landed initially upon the physical boundary before my eyes and the sense that I was standing in a space of transition.  On one side of the waters was a modern mecca of civilization (San Francisco).  Rotate around 180 degrees and the scene changes primarily to one of nature – the hills and coastline of Marin County.  My being felt a sense that boundaries (both physical and psychic) were being cradled in the vast open space of that site.

Eye contact between Erica and I frequently brought me to awareness of the major psychic component in that cradle.  Sometimes, we sat silent in mutual spaces of presence and admiration.  At other times… I observed the inner dance of my psyche in and around polarities tied to the meanings my mind and soul were making of the shoot, of the Embody Project, and of the woman sitting beside me.  Many of those polarities inspired the poem above.  A dance at the edges of vulnerability….. a dance with relaxing versus gripping….  a dance inside the growing pains of a new sense of trust….  a dance with the unknowns and vagaries of human connection….  a dance with authenticity and nakedness.

And Breath…..  the transition begins…   the clothes drop away…..  my skin feels the space….. images captured on camera’s retina….  an awaiting world in need of deep authentic stories…. The dance of the liminal is in full swing.

Brook 071015-100a-2-2

Brook – USA

Run your hands through me. I’m like soil now, embedded in your nails and the lines of your palms. This is fascinating—becoming my own study in decomposition.

You should come over sometime. I have tap water and half a loaf of moldy bread. Everything is a mess. It’s part of the process.

I wore white today. I know better. My heart bleeds through everything. It’s not a problem. It’s just embarrassing.

I write lists of things I know. Actually, I write the same list, everyday, of the three things I know….

  1. I am loved.
  2. I am hated.
  3. My daughter thinks I’m a genius and likes my hair

My therapist continuously reminds me to be aware of stories—the ones I am told. The ones I tell myself.

One time I heard this story about how I’m a greedy piece of shit. I loved the irony.

I pray hourly. My God is a beautiful black woman with ochre coated dreadlocks and good birthing hips. She urges me to be one part kind, one part fierce. My God is a badass mother fucker.

Run your hands through me. I am almost ready to be mixed into the earth. I am almost ready to become something I won’t even recognize.

Come in. Step over yesterday’s projects, stacks of bills and laundry. It’s ridiculously beautiful.

To those who love me, I love you.
To those who hate me, fuck you.

Run your hands through me. I am ready.

Erica 042915-97

Erica – USA

This house crumbles around me as I step

gingerly on rotten boards

tiny pieces of glass under my careful feet

 

I climb onto an old bench in front of

broken dusty windowpanes

Can you see me now?  Good.

 

I saw all of you last night, through a window of tumbling internet mosaic panes

I saw your glass shards, your green hills, your cold rivers, your beautiful infinite skins

Yesterday when I was just an I

forgetful and alone

you spoke your truth

and I witnessed your reclaiming

sang your celebration

felt the soft contours of your strength

and intimately knew your Yes

 

In your courageous acts of defiance

you revealed yourselves, revealing me

And I remembered

the why of it all

the we of it all

the us that we are

And I felt a welling up

from within

and a deep longing

to join you again

 

Every day I walk on jagged pieces of my weathered stories

at times forgetful and alone

scanning the green horizon

asking the everblue sky

for remembering

And every time I look out through the window

at you

at me

something else

long forgotten

buried and discarded

crumbling and dirty

so precious

so needed

is whispering

its Yes

 

And so

because of this

because of you

for you and with you

I am on this bench today

so you can see me now

Naked, truly

Dana 011315-125-2

Dana – USA

The thought of being naked and photographed was a bit scary to me—nakedness never disturbed me but being photographed naked was an unknown.  “Tuck tummy in, shoulders back” etc, all these admonitions.  I soon forgot about how apprehensive I was and began to enjoy being free and being me!

I’ve never thought too much about how I really felt about my body, and I’ve always been happy with it.  I’m very grateful.  It’s not that I’m perfect, but I do feel very blessed.  My mom was my role model. Daddy passed away when I was 11, which was a vulnerable time for me.  Mother did a wonderful job of filling that gap, and I felt fulfilled because she made it that way.  I held her in very high esteem.

I love movie stars, but I don’t ever remember idolizing their bodies.  I remember one sort of low cut evening dress or prom dress, I can remember trying it on.  And I said “Oh, I don’t have enough to fill this out,” and mother said “Well you know, what the Lord has forgotten, you fill with cotton.”

I’ve loved dressing my body, loving to be creative and not like everyone else.  Folks often would comment “Dana, that piece of clothing is so you!  I couldn’t wear that, but you could, and would!” Consequently I have a whole closet full of wonderful clothes, and all are more like costumes.

At the ripe young age of 85, I’ve never been happier with all phases of my life.  When people ask me “Dana, how are you always so up?”  I reply “Well, I tried being down once and I didn’t like it.”  Life is to be lived and enjoyed.  Serendipity is the unexpected discovery of something wonderful—I discover things every day!  No fear.  Fear is “false evidence appearing real.”

My colon cancer and my open heart surgery after a severe heart attack were as close to loss of life as I’ve ever come.  They changed my life forever and made my purpose apparent: to live fully and to love.  My long life has given me a multitude of experiences to draw upon, taught me how to live and enjoy life, and to examine boundaries.  What boundaries?!

I am so grateful to be me and for the wonderful opportunities I have to enjoy life.  Being happy is what all the other girls missed.  What you see is what you get, what you get is what you feel, and feeling is the important thing.  Be grateful for what you have.

DiAnna 011115-276

DiAnna – USA

Throughout the process of preparing and being photographed for The Embody Project, I experienced waves of emotions.

I was mostly excited, confident, and joyous– positive that I had made the right choice in saying Yes to the opportunity to be my full Self: powerfully vulnerable and vulnerably powerful. Yet, I also had moments of being nervous, ambivalent, and insecure. I have come to know that feeling the knife-edge of fear is often my indicator that I am on the right path—that I am about to step across a threshold into a larger version of ME.

Talking with Erica initially to discuss setting, I had a vision of standing in front of a small group of people. My work as a speaker on the topics of sexuality and spirituality is growing and evolving. I feel as if I am in the doorway about to step into a larger, more visible role. I spoke with Erica and felt my emotions rise and tears begin. I envisioned myself surrounded by friends, people who love and support me. Some had seen me physically naked before, some had seen me emotionally naked. I wanted to show up as both…completely myself.

To be embodied means I get to enjoy all the sensations of this body because that is how my spirit comes alive. My work, both personal and professional, for the past 10 years or so has been about embracing my sexuality and my spirituality and encouraging others to do the same. My connection to Source Energy (aka Goddess, The Universe, God, Oneness) is vital for me to feel good about my body. Ego gets in the way about what looks good, but can be circumvented by remembering all the pleasures that happen because I have a body.

As we began shooting, being able to tell each person why they were important to me, why I had invited them to join me, how much I cared for each one, was very powerful. Just as powerful was the ability to receive their loving comments and compliments about me. Hearing that I make a difference, that I am living the life I have envisioned—one of caring, non-judgement, and celebration of others—I could almost forget I was physically naked.

I was able to share my internal dialogue of “too many stretch marks”, “unsightly clothing lines” etc. All the comments that have run through my head about “not good enough” throughout my life reared up, and all it took to quiet them was realizing that these people were saying YES to supporting me when I asked. They were and are willing to love me just as I am, to acknowledge my growth over time, and to cheer me on in moving into greater visibility in my work and my life.

I know I am powerful. I know I am vulnerable. Being both is what makes this Human experience a Divine gift. Being able to share and show all of my Self in this way lets me know that I am ready to accept all of the adventure and joy that is here for me.

Jana 010614-169-2

Jana – USA

I spend a lot of time in my head. I believe that I can use logic and reason to get through every situation. If I just think about it enough, I will solve the problem and everything will be OK. And then I think about this some more and I know it is not true. Because life is more than thinking. Life is feeling and experiencing. In fact, thinking has become a somewhat hazardous coping skill of mine. I can reason myself into a pretty deep hole.

I tend to minimize milestones in my recovery. I vowed to myself that I wouldn’t do that with this project. Today, on the day of my photo shoot, it has been four years and twenty three days since I first received treatment for my eating disorder. Needless to say, my relationship with my body is complicated.

For most of my life I have been afraid of my body. I remember when I was young, maybe four years old, I felt naked without shoes on my feet. I refused to take my shoes off unless I was in the bathtub or in my bed. Until the day she died, my grandmother had another child’s foot prints hanging on her wall with text that read “May I follow in His footsteps” and my name in the bottom right corner. When I was in high school, I overheard two boys in my AP psychology class talking about the way women’s bodies should look. “Fit but not too strong, you know? I don’t want to date a girl stronger than me, but I would never date a fat chick. I want a girl who cares about her appearance.” I excused myself from class and spent the remainder of the period in the bathroom, overwhelmed with anger. I was angry at the boys for saying that, and angry at myself for not being what they wanted.

I was a pretty normal teenager. I liked to read magazines, or rather just look at the pictures. I liked to watch reality TV (America’s Next Top Model was a favorite) and I loved playing soccer. I, like most adolescent girls, was bombarded with images depicting how I should look and act and who I should be in the world. When I was 19 and taking a gender studies class in college, a professor recommended I check out “Killing Us Softly 3,” a documentary on the media and how it presents women. Things started to make sense. I felt validated. Like there was a reason I felt so bad about myself. It also pointed out to me the sexualization and objectification of women. I remember feeling so passionately. I resolved never to let anyone objectify me like that and thus cut myself off from my body.

Ironic, right? I was so afraid of how others might objectify me that I ended up objectifying myself by severing the connection between my mind and body and treating them as opposing parts of me that could not coexist. My body became the end all and be all of who I was. I had to look perfect so that nobody would notice how sad I was inside.

Meanwhile, my mind was constantly racing with thoughts and ideas and feelings.I felt sadness, grief, envy. I wanted to be somebody else. Someone more loveable. I felt determined to repress these feelings as I did not have the skills to handle them. When I was twenty one and in residential treatment, the clinical director gave me a shower quota. I had to take at least two showers a week, she said as she alluded to the “important areas” that I needed to wash… like my belly button. I felt so uncomfortable with my body that being naked in the shower for just a few minutes was too confrontational and too much to bear.

Then  today, I bared all.

I used to spend hours in front of the mirror, flexing and distorting my body, trying to feel a certain way. I spent a lot of time picking myself apart without ever putting  the pieces back together. Before my shoot, I was feeling some emotions that I did not like: sadness; fear; anticipation; loneliness; frustration. I have been trying to feel emotions without becoming them. I often feel overwhelmed by emotions and they seem to take over. On top of feeling all of these emotions, I was nervous that the emotions would keep me from enjoying my time in front of the camera.

When we arrived at the river, I felt cold and the last thing I wanted to do was take my clothes off and get in. I started by testing the waters. Taking my shoes off, and then my socks, and touching my toes to the icy cold water. This river is very special to me. It is where I ran when my parents announced their divorce. It is where I made an island out of rocks so that I could be in the river and “swim” despite having a cast on my ankle after surgery. It is where I came when I was convinced my life was over. And that other time I was convinced my life was over. This is where I come when I need to get grounded.  I like to imagine the rocks on the riverbanks are whatever is troubling me. I throw them as hard as I can across the river and how satisfying it feels when they make a big splash. I take my shoes off and I walk in the water. The mountain runoff is cold even in the summer and the slippery, often sharp rocks stimulate the nerves in my feet. My mind is drawn to the sensation and away from whatever else is in my mind.

The day of my Embody Project photo shoot was no different.  I felt surprised at how easy it was to let go. I was able to notice the presence of my emotions, and also notice the way the water felt as it rushed over my toes and around my calves. I didn’t notice my scars or my tan lines, my muscles or my bones. I just existed for a moment, mind and body as one.

Once my feet were wet, I was ready. I took my clothes off and stepped into the water. My mind was drawn away from all the emotions that had been muddying the water like sediment in a river after a heavy rain. All I could see was clear water all around me. All I could feel were the rocks beneath my feet and the subtle pain shooting up my calves from the bitter cold water. I actually forgot that I was naked. I didn’t feel sexual or objectified, but rather childlike and playful as I began splashing and throwing rocks. I felt so alive and free and embodied. I was present in my body more than I have ever been. I began to enjoy myself and my time with myself.

I am by no means in love with my body every day, but I am learning to be comfortable in it and most importantly, I am thankful for it. I had such a good time today splashing in the cold mountain river water and embracing my body and loving my body. I had hoped and kind of expected that after the fact, I would feel like a different person. Somehow freer or more in touch. To be honest, I feel about the same. The only difference is that I want to do things like this more often.

Luz and Sandra 082014-193b

Luz + Sandra – USA

Luz

My mother’s eyes beam the most astonishingly brilliant blue light. I am looking into her eyes, at her mouth, her familiar face, surveying her scarred and boyish chest. We stand side by side, her hand securely in mine. Under this big sky, my most prominent awareness while Erica photographs us is not of my nakedness but awe of my mother’s full bloom radiance. Her beauty is arresting. She is unselfconsciously joyous and laughing, her eyes are lit up; “I trust you”, they say. My mother – still alive after a decade of cancers, euphorically happy, unashamed of her body, is holding my hand, posing naked with me! What do I feel? Ecstatic love! A vibrational current of love between my mother and myself, both of us so alive in our perfect bodies. Right now, I am my favorite me, living my ridiculously magical life.

But the magic and miracle of this moment is borne out of the shadow of contrast. 30 years ago, Sandra and I were different people; we were not holding hands nor did we know trust or joy. The love I felt for my mother was deep but I often couldn’t reach her. We come from a long lineage of suffering and we both internalized that poisonous family inheritance; generations of ancestors barely surviving in loveless landscapes. I left home at 14, carrying my story of the alien sensitive son born into an unhappy family. I learned to present my otherness and struggle like medals of survival and strength, but also flaunted them as my big excuse. The experience of living in my body was painful and I ached to check out. High, laying in bed alone, running my hands over my skinny boyish ribcage and protruding pelvis reminded me of the photos I had seen of naked men in concentration camps, the life starved out of them. I was attracted to the masculine, confident matinée men but the boy in the mirror had none of their qualities. I saw no beauty and felt betrayed. In a recurring dream, I was on my knees in front of a high ancient wall made of yellow stone and sand. I heard celebratory gypsy music, smelled aromas of cooking meat and the fragrances of fruit and flowers. There were sometimes cracks in the wall through which I saw men and women dancing, and heard clapping, song, and laughter. Joy existed as a concept because I witnessed it there, but in the dream I was always alone outside the wall, drawing in the sand and desperately unable to find a way through or over it.

Fast forward. Study, work, keen sensory observation, friendship, inter-relationship, sex, tribe, yoga, mind-expanding drugs, and a golden godson born to teach me how to love something undamaged. All these teachers, breathing surrender into my suffering. Fueled by will, fierce curiosity and that dream, I left America over and over, traveling among the descendants of slaves and conquerors, Nazis and victims, survivors of war, everywhere reflections of wealth and starvation. Spiritual warriors and wise medicine people of ancient tribes taught me new languages of being human. Exhale grief, inhale wonder, exhale resentment, inhale gratitude… Gratitude teaches me the vibration of internal freedom regardless of circumstance, joy through contrast of pain, and that abundance and generosity can bloom out of scarcity. Life is what you pay attention to. My painful stories lost their purpose and peeled away like layers of dead skin, to reveal a man vibrantly alive. All this time, Sandra has also been doing her work, finding her way, bravely trusting and surrendering to her many teachers. Forgiveness is the ultimate high.

I am 46 and Sandra is 73. United and completely naked, we are liberated even from our old stories. We are mother and son, eternal friends and companions in the great mystery, conspiring to heal our lineage. I dance joyous gratitude for my ancestors, who gave life to this miraculous body and set me on a rich path of discovery and transformation. I also offer this reflection of us to our culture, so alive with evolution yet still poisoned by institutional shame and fear. I’m whispering to you that I found my way to the other side of that wall and I am dancing and laughing, saturated in nourishment, abundance and love.

Sandra

I’m overflowing with gratitude to Erica and my youngest son, Luz, for helping me on my journey to let the light within me shine through and aid in my transformation as I approach my 74th birthday. It was with a long lost feeling of childish joy and abandon, that I romped unfettered by clothing, through the green grass I seldom see in the Southern Arizona desert where I live, and felt the sunshine and cool breeze on my naked skin. Sharing the experience with my son made it so much more special, almost sacred.

The seed of Luz was planted and grew in my womb after three previous children, as the marriage to their father was ending, and was by far my easiest pregnancy. I fell instantly in love with him as he struggled to take his first breath and survive his first difficult year of life nourished by my love and breast milk. I saw his determination to grow up and show all who met him just how loving, magnificent, unique and gifted he was, even as a small child. Curiosity, compassion, understanding and loving for all creatures and cultures has made him truly a man of the world.

The doctors with all their cutting have not been able to eradicate the inner beauty I have finally learned to feel from my creator about myself and my deep connection to those around me. Walking back to the car after the photo shoot, I felt a profound sadness for my Grandmother, who was so ashamed of her mutilated body after losing her second breast to cancer, whom I helped bathe while still in my early teens. I give thanks for the love and nurturing I received from my late husband Edwin over nearly 20 years, who taught me to be true to myself. I gradually learned to forgive those I had allowed to intimidate and hurt me in the past, and am now able to bathe them in love and understanding. I’m more at peace with myself and with those around me than ever before, and live much more in the present, not regretting the past or worrying about the future. I’m working on compiling the stories of my family, reweaving the negative into a rich and beautiful tapestry I can pass on to my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, and those yet to be born. I’m free of the tight restraints of being born into a repressive wealthy society of the 1940’s. I see the progress we have made as a society in the eyes and behavior of my lovely daughter and two beautiful adult granddaughters. I want to dance naked in a body who has survived too many assaults to count. I’m a thriver, not a survivor, living with cancer.

Deena 072914-284

Deena – USA

I don’t know what I look like.

I have to start there. It’s been floating around this past week repeatedly since I scheduled my photo shoot for The Embody Project. Erica just left after taking a generous amount of photographs while I hung around my living room unclothed, completely free to ponder myself in the flesh in front of a lens, and the fact remains…

I have no idea what my body really looks like.

Most of the thoughts that swirl through this awareness have an ambivalent, edgy, disloyal relationship with this thing I call “my body.” One moment it’s beautiful, sensual, feminine, miraculous. The next it’s too thick, soft, wrinkled, and undesirable. Which reminds me of the mythic shape-shifter, the trickster… in this case an experiential collection of sensations, images, and thoughts combining together in different formulations, different dreams, depending on the context, depending on the dreamer. All of which begs the follow up question, does my body “really” look like anything at all?

My mother once told me that when I was in my youth, I was the most beautiful person she had ever seen. I’ve never told anyone she said that, afraid it would sound like bragging. I’m touched by it though, in part, because I look so much like my mother and, in part, because I’m sure she didn’t see herself that way. The funny thing is she probably doesn’t recall ever having said or thought it now. It’s just a string of words hinged to nothing solid.

I’ll be fifty-four in two weeks. This body is aging. My breasts are less full, my flat ass is getting flatter, and my face looks tired even after a good night’s sleep. My right knee has recently felt stiff and I have saggy dimpled skin on my arms and thighs which was never quite like that before, but I can’t pretend that issues with my body are newly related to age. I need only root around my cache of memories to find a theatrical dark saga played out over decades of feeling self-conscious and confused in response to this collection of bone and flesh.and yet, I’m hesitant to drag them out here, onto the page, because they seem so old and frayed. The stories have lost most of their fascination and meaning now. And yet, to do this project, I’m going there at least this one last time, if only briefly.

Beginning in early childhood, I received inappropriate sexual attention and the pattern continued through high school and into my early twenties. Those experiences colored my sense of self, safety, and worth more than I realized for a very long time. About nine years old, inspired by stick thin fashion models, I went on my first diet. Innocence became purging, bingeing, hiding food, eating until I made myself sick, starving until I was lightheaded, hating the currency of my body, confusing love with need, sex with love, need with survival. I learned to smile, to never tell the truth, to cry and say I’m sorry instead of what in the world makes you think that’s an appropriate thing to do or say?

I’ve lost about twenty pounds over the last six months. I exercise regularly and eat with care. I’ve lost body fat and inches and my clothes fit looser, yet every morning I get up and look in the mirror and I have no idea how those numbers translate. Nothing seems definitive or settled about it. Just like my age. Just like everything, really. None of it is who I am.

In a certain way, getting older is a relief. And in another way, it can feel like a betrayal. I think about it differently all the time. Sometimes I’m shocked to remember my age or to see my face or my arms or my thighs in a certain light. And sometimes I love this aging process, and I’m fascinated by it. There is nothing to hold onto, not even stories of the past. Everything that used to define me becomes more and more transparent, slippery, unreal, like a house of cards I thought I lived inside of but now, well…

I have no idea what I really look like… or if I really look like anything at all.

Delilah_062714_0123

Delilah – Netherlands

Brick wall of the church surrounds me while standing naked on a supporting base. This was the former place of a statue of the Catholic Church. Looking out on a luxury graveyard.

We are in the south of the Netherlands where the church still has members. I was born as a Catholic girl by the name Maria. I felt the energy of that name my whole life, until a few years ago. Then the name Delilah came in. It’s coming form the words Delight and Delicious. And now I’m growing into that energy with my body. Because I’m opening up and awakening.

With that transformation I’m embodying the ‘paradigm shift’, what is taking place all over the world. It’s a shift from experiencing authority outside of ourselves, back to the power inside. Where a few powerful individuals took and got the power over people for ages, as in the Catholic Church, now the power comes back to all individuals.
So I’m letting go of the old belief systems. I’m discovering what I want, what I choose, need and am really longing for. I give myself time to find out. So I stopped working. I worked and studied for 30 years, all based on these old belief systems.

And in this shift I’m getting closer to a real connection with the Earth and the Universe. Connection with my own energy source. I remember a former life where I was connected with mother earth. She nurtured me and I was her servant. Working together in love and gratitude. I deeply love this planet.

So, the dependency of the energy from the other, with taking and giving, is decreasing. And I learn how to really accept the other who they are. I can, because I don’t need the other for the purpose of their energy anymore. And therefore in relationships I learn how to be in power-with dynamics, instead of power-over dynamics. And then the drama floats away and the suffering ends. It’s the symbol of the cross; horizontally and vertically energy in balance.

Growing to this balance, I’m burning through ego issues, illusions fall, blockages dissolve, the body de-armours from harnesses. And then something new is coming through. It’s life-force energy, kundalini energy, sexual energy flowing, arising. Awakening my glands, my heart, sexual organs, the nervous system, my brains and all the cells. They are becoming orgiastic, vibrant and alive.

And that’s what I’m feeling right there in that moment, where everything comes together in the here and now. First I was unstable and focusing not to fall. But when I let go of the fear I centered myself and felt my body, the surroundings and these loving people (Jules, Erica and Daniël). No fear of the church and the environment because they don’t have any power over me anymore.

The power is building up inside. And I felt my body; the energy comes in and I started to come alive, to fly, free from the supporting base. No more restrictions. Just space, openness, love, breathing, freedom in a beautiful naked body of a Woman. Enjoying. Celebrating Life. Celebrating all connections. Feeling born again, and again, and again….in every heartbeat, renewing this wonderful, intelligent, holy, sexy Body.

 

Stenen muren van de kerk omhullen mij als ik naakt op de sokkel sta. Hier stond ooit een beeld van de katholieke kerk, uitkijkend over een luxe begraafplaats. We zijn in het zuiden van Nederland waar de kerk nog steeds leden heeft.
Als een katholiek meisje ben ik geboren met de naam Maria. In mijn leven voelde ik de energie van die naam, tot een paar jaar geleden. Toen kwam de naam Delilah bij me binnen, ontsprongen uit de woorden Delight en Deliscious groei ik nu in die energie met mijn lichaam. Ik wordt steeds meer open en wakker.

Met die transformatie belichaam ik de verschuiving van het paradigma, wat zich in de hele wereld afspeelt. Het is een verschuiving van macht ervaren buiten jezelf naar macht en kracht in jezelf.
Waar een paar krachtige leiders de macht namen en kregen over de mensen, zoals in de katholieke kerk, komt nu de macht terug naar het individu.
Dus laat ik conditioneringen los. Ik herontdek wat ik echt zelf wil, nodig heb en naar verlang. Ik geef mezelf de tijd om het te laten ontvouwen. Daarom ben ik gestopt met werken. Ik werkte en studeerde de laatste 30 jaar, vanuit die conditioneringen en deze ‘oude’ geloofssystemen.

Deze transformatie brengt mij dichter bij de verbinding met de aarde en het universum. De verbinding met mijn eigen energiebron, mijn hart. Ik herinner me een vorig leven waar ik verbonden was met moeder aarde. Zij voedde mij en ik was haar dienaar. We werkten samen in liefde en dankbaarheid. Ik hou zielsveel van deze planeet.
De afhankelijkheid van de energie van de ander, met geven en nemen, neemt af. En zo kan ik leren hoe ik werkelijk de ander kan accepteren voor wie die is. Dat kan ik omdat ik de ander niet meer nodig heb, niet meer afhankelijk ben van zijn energie. En daardoor leer ik in relaties mijn kracht samen te laten werken met de dynamiek in plaats van het beheersen van de dynamiek. En dan verdwijnt het drama en stopt het lijden. Het is het symbool van het kruis: horizontale en verticale energie in balans.

Groeiend naar deze balans, brand ik door ego issues, illusies vallen weg, blokkades lossen op, mijn lichaam ontkrampt van haar harnas. En dan komt er iets nieuws doorheen. Het is levenskrachtenergie, kundalini energie, seksuele energie die ontspringt en stroomt. Het maakt mijn klieren wakker, mijn hart, mijn seksuele organen, het zenuwstelsel, mijn hersenen en alle cellen.
Alles wordt orgiastisch, vibrerend en levendig.

En dat is wat ik op dat moment ervaar, wanneer alles bij elkaar komt in het hier en nu. Eerst voelde ik mij onstabiel en focuste ik om niet te vallen. Maar dan liet ik de angst los en ik centreerde mezelf, voelde mijn lichaam, de omgeving en deze lieve mensen (Jules, Erica en Daniël). Geen angst voor de kerk en zijn omgeving omdat ze geen macht meer over mij hebben. De kracht is van binnen aan het opbouwen. Ik voelde mijn lichaam; de energie komt binnen en ik begin me levendig te voelen, alsof ik vlieg en los kom van de sokkel. Geen beperkingen meer. Alleen ruimte, openheid, liefde, ademen, vrijheid in dit prachtige naakte lichaam van een vrouw. Genieten.
Vieren van het leven. Vieren van alle verbindingen. Steeds weer opnieuw geboren worden in elke hartenklop, vernieuwd zich dit wonderbaarlijke, intelligente, heilige, seksuele Lichaam.

Ellen_070514_0119

Ellen – Netherlands

I LOVE THE BODY

-This Embody Project ….was a journey, it confused me and I had a magic experience!-

I love the body, I am fascinated by it for many reasons (for the constructions – the best piece of architecture EVER, how it works, what is does, as ‘translator’ of feelings, expression of the inner worlds and as ‘tool’ for healing). For this reason the body is the central subject in my artwork, and so of course I liked to join this Project.
Then I realized it was not about my relationship with THE body, but about my relationship with MY body…

My body: female and androgynous… how do I relate to that?
It felt uncomfortable being confronted unexpectedly with this issue.
I believe the body is an expression of who you are, and I have a female body but not feeling feminine as it ‘should be’. I sometimes wish I were a ‘normal heterosexual woman’ so that I could identify better with being a woman.
I see my body as a materialization of a deeper thing: Having had stories with men in past lifes it ‘felt better now in this life’ to ‘be’ a lesbian with an androgynous appearance. I am even questioning my being lesbian, which brings up questions about me as a woman.
And here also my body-appearance comes in sight: I like to be a woman, but do I feel that way….?
What does my androgynous body tell me? Can I love myself with my body as a full translation of the choice that ‘I made’ about where to be in this life: Female, but different, because of this never feeling totally part?

The photo shoot…
Having dropped the ‘art-approach’ I chose to be in nature on this day where the weather showed its variations. It took a while to find the right location, and when we were there, finally in the open at the lake-side, suddenly the wind started to blow… and kept on blowing…!
YES…!
All at once I felt so alive, powerful and joyful in a tremendous way, feeling my body responding to the sudden wind, waves on the water, waving grass, sound of the trees and sun on my skin. And I started to dance with nature, enjoying the elements and surprisingly enjoying being me…! Like weather and me were resonating with each other. My thoughts disappeared, judgements and concepts dissolved.
It became a celebration of pure energy, and part of that energy was ‘me’. In it I felt tremendously confident and at ease with ‘my’ femininity and masculinity as a balanced mixture, and I enjoyed being one with the environment like this. Receptive and strong, loving, grounded, and fully connected with every-thing. It felt so natural and powerful… being all that I am!

This experience stays with me, it was very transforming. Without judgements and concepts there remained only Being, loving, and potential. Since then I feel more connected, FREE in being me, grateful, and filled with a new feeling of inner joy.
IK HOUD VAN HET LICHAAM

-Dit Embody-Project…was een reis, het verwarde me en ik had een magische ervaring!-

Ik houd van het lichaam, ik ben er door gefascineerd om vele redenen (vanwege de constructies – het mooiste stuk architectuur o-o-i-t -, vanwege hoe het werkt, wat het doet, als vertaler van gevoelens, expressie van wat in het binnenste leeft en als ‘gereedschap’ naar heling). Om deze reden staat het lichaam altijd centraal in mijn werk (beeldende kunst), dus, natuurlijk wilde ik meedoen aan dit Project.
Toen realiseerde ik me dat het niet ging om mijn relatie met HET lichaam, maar om mijn relatie met MIJN lichaam

Mijn lichaam: vrouwelijk en androgyn…hoe kijk ik hier tegen aan?
Het voelde oncomfortabel om hiermee ineens geconfronteerd te zijn.
Ik geloof dat het lichaam een uitdrukkingsvorm is van wie je bent, en ik heb een vrouwenlichaam maar voel me niet vrouwelijk zoals het ‘zou moeten zijn’. Soms wilde ik dat ik een ‘normale heteroseksuele vrouw’ was zodat ik me beter zou kunnen identificeren met het vrouw-zijn.
Mijn lichaam zie ik als materialisatie van iets diepers: In oudere levens ervaringen met mannen gehad hebbend ‘voelde het voor dit leven beter’ om nu als lesbische vrouw met een androgyn uiterlijk door het leven te gaan. Ik stel me zelfs vragen over het lesbisch zijn, wat weer nieuwe vragen oproept over mezelf als vrouw. En hier komt eveneens mijn lichaams-uiterlijk naar voren: Ik vind het fijn een vrouw te zijn, maar voel ik dat ook zo…?
Wat vertelt mijn androgyne uiterlijk mij? Kan ik van mezelf houden met mijn lichaam als een volle vertaling van een keuze die ik ‘maakte’ over waar ik wil zijn in dit leven: Vrouwelijk, maar anders, hierdoor meestal zonder een gevoel van ergens bij te horen?

De fotosessie….
De ‘kunst-benadering’ losgelaten hebbend koos ik ervoor om in de natuur te zijn op deze dag waarin het weer zich van verschillende kanten liet zien. Het nam enige tijd om de juiste locatie te vinden, en toen we daar waren, uiteindelijk op een open plek aan de rand van het meer, begon het ineens te waaien …en het blééf maar waaien…!
YES…!
Opeens voelde ik me vol leven, krachtig en vol plezier op een geweldige manier, ervarend hoe mijn lichaam reageerde op de plotselinge wind, golven op het water, golvend gras, geluid in de bomen en zon op mijn huid. Ik begon te dansen met de natuur, genietend van de elementen en verrassend genoeg te genieten van het zijn van mezelf…! Alsof het weer en ik resoneerden op elkaar. Mijn gedachten verdwenen, oordelen en concepten losten op.
Het werd een viering van pure energie, en deel van die energie was ‘ik’. Binnen dit alles voelde ik me vol vertrouwen en op mijn gemak met ‘mijn’ vrouwelijkheid en mannelijkheid als een gebalanceerde mix, en ik genoot ervan me op deze wijze één te voelen met mijn omgeving. Ontvankelijk en sterk, gegrond, en volledig in verbinding met al-les. Het voelde zo natuurlijk en zo krachtig…te zijn die ik ben!

Deze ervaring blijft bij me, het was enorm transformerend. Zonder oordelen en concepten bleven er over het Zijn, het houden-van en potentie. Sindsdien voel ik me meer in verbinding, VRIJ in het mezelf zijn, dankbaar, en gevuld met een nieuw gevoel van innerlijk plezier.