Julia – USA

I am remembering the moment that a dear friend and I were bellydancing with a group of women, many of whom were experiencing the first time ever moving their hips in a clockwise circle. We were there to help guide them. She and I laughed afterwards at how incredibly sexual and alive we felt, almost a bit ‘too much’ especially surrounded by women most all of whom were at least 15 years older than us. I said to her ‘I feel a bit bad, like…maybe I shouldn’t be doing it so well…especially in front of these elder women.’

Then I thought, hold on.

When did my mind get to have a say in how natural I felt in my body? Where and when was I taught to doubt? By what force of creation was I influenced to try and subdue the power? Who told me I need to suppress my sexuality, for others or for myself?

Was it my great aunt who refused to talk about anything below the waist? Who taught my mother, directly and indirectly about sex? Where did she learn this? Who encouraged her and how do I hold a place for the voice that says NO to this message without feeling like I might be disrespecting my elders?

And still I know and I hold the truth of the power that lives within my body and the gifts that lie therein.

So what to do now? I believe the answer is in the heart, it is unconditional love.

I am completely in love with this, my body.

And I honor this, perhaps temporary, perhaps permanent place, humbly. Not only is she strong and powerful, can lift and move and bend with the wind, but she holds soul, wisdom, inherited and learned, gathered and gleaned. She has been places, fairytale places… has felt the soft breeze off the ocean, the sweat and sand and dirt hiking in the desert. And she has breathed it in through her powerful lungs, she has laughed in every cell for the joy of being alive.

She is beautiful because of her form, her magic, all she knows, without needing to be told. She knows, even better than I do, how she is like the trees, like the water, the rocks, the leaves~ she was made of the same magic, form and substance as these Things. This is unchangeable.

Joyous love for my body: that is what I have found. Almost 28 years of living in this body, I have loved her, used her, adored her, been adored because of her gifts. I feel almost no regret for the things I’ve put her through, as she has always come back stronger and more resilient than I thought she could. I am so proud of her, proud of me, knowing we are one in the same.

We begin again, each month anew, as we cross the threshold from Maiden to Mother to Crone. We’ve done it before, dear body…and I’m so looking forward to going there, this time around, with You!

My beautiful body: I choose to respect her, to honor her cycles, to stay in tune with her, no matter what.

Body of mine, I am so very grateful for you.