Self-negotiations with a side of lunacy

Do you negotiate with yourself?  Make deals?  Body, if you do this, I’ll give you that?

As if we’re somehow separate creatures.  Though then again, with our component thinking, feeling, being parts, we kind of are separate creatures sharing one poor out-of-luck body.

But I digress.

Since I can’t wait for you to respond, I will continue as if you had agreed with me (oh, suddenly the megalomania of it!  Love it!  In my head you are all suddenly puppets and I’m in charge!  Oh, shit.  I’m in charge?  I don’t want to be in charge!  Don’t you dare be my puppets.  You had better all be free thinkers evaluating your own perspective of my ramblings. If you’re not, I’ll, I’ll…make faces at you and be most disappointed.)  Where was I?

Oh, yes, so I negotiate with myself.  This week was about food.  My knee still isn’t up to snuff and there have been many opportunities for lovely eating extravaganzas.  It’s a simple equation and it wasn’t working in my favour.

So I started negotiating with my body about this sugary, fatty food habit and how for the health of all of us it really needed to slow down.

Can you guess how that went?  Exactly, body snickered in my general direction and flipped me the bird.

But here’s the trick, I didn’t tell the body what I wanted and walk away thinking that it would magically listen to me and do what I say.  And I didn’t ignore the insults and walk away.

I sat down with me and let me emote all over the place.  I asked myself the question of why I wanted the food.

And then I FELT the answer.  I don’t know about yours, but my body doesn’t talk in words.  It talks in desires and emotions and feelings.

How did it feel about my healthy food plan?  Pretty fucking pissed.  How dare I simply assume that giving up the tasty treats was okay?  Don’t I know that it likes the extra weight?

Do you? I asked.  Why do you feel that way?  And do you remember how it felt when we were in shape?  That the workouts were hard, but how good it was afterwards?

A very reluctant agreement.  Further exploration of feelings and needs and desires.  Slightly better agreement.

It’s an on-going discussion.  But isn’t that the way it should be?  A shared multi-level experience of living.

Happy negotiating!

~Abysmal Witch

Spirit and Body-Part 2

How do we reconcile the two viewpoints of:

1) I need to learn to accept and love my body as it is


2) I want my body to be healthier, fitter and, let’s face it, thinner than it is now?

I believe it can be done.

For any craft that we do, from writing to witchcraft or knitting or biking or whatever hobby or activity you want to insert here, we always have our current state of competence or being and our desired goal of competence or being.

When I did pottery I was ecstatic when I finally made a bowl that was recognizably a bowl.  I was very happy with it.  Just because I was happy with it didn’t mean that I wanted to stop learning and becoming better as a potter.  When I made my first big bowl, it was a huge deal and I was thrilled.  But it didn’t stop me from wanting to do more.

Each level of skill attained made me happy and I was pleased with where I was but I also wanted to improve myself.

The same applies to our bodies.

We can love our bodies for where they are now.  And honestly, dammit we should.  Without them there wouldn’t be flavours, touch, dancing or any incarnate experience.

And while we love them as they are now, we are welcome to seek improvement.

But it is improvement we need to seek!  And where improvement is becoming healthier.

If we recognize and accept that the ultimate goal is to be healthy *and none of the other measurements matter* then it is very easy to reconcile the two statements.  Because we are simply loving who we are now and working to improve, make healthier, our bodies.

And the best part about this reconciliation?

We can ask our bodies to help us with it.

That’s right.  It is no longer a war with our bodies, a constant battle to transform them into some intellectual (and sadly probably culturally determined) ideal.  It is a union, a partnership towards a shared goal.

Gods, what a wondrous feeling, to work with my body (who utterly adores me, btw, irrespective of how horribly I treat her sometimes) and spirit together to become the healthiest me I can be.

Let me reiterate this point.  When you love your body (who also loves you) and you accept that you can love your body as it is now then TOGETHER you can work towards becoming healthier in the future.

It’s not a constant battle of the mind thinking chocolate is bad and the body craving it or the body wanting to sleep in and you forcing it to go for a walk.

Instead, it is a recognition that the body has its things that it desires that isn’t good for it, but if you accept that and work with the body, it can release most times those desires and work with you on those things that make you both healthier.

This is not a master/slave relationship.  This is a partnership built on love and hopefully eventually trust.

The mind isn’t always right so as part of that partnership it needs to listen to the body.  Sometimes the body really does need that sleep or that chocolate, in order to be healthy (and happy).

Invite your body to work with you on becoming more healthy.  That’s what I’m going to do.

I don’t know yet how this will turn out.  But I do know one thing, I will be a much happier person now that I can go around not hating myself (after all, we are who we are and my body needs all of my love just as it gives me all of its) and still work towards improving myself but where improvement is in my health, not in my looks.

Being healthy is so much better and frankly easier of a goal than being thin.  Now getting healthier may result in some weight loss.  But as soon as the goal becomes weight loss, you run the high risk of re-entering that unhealthy mental zone that pits you against your own body and creates a warfield within yourself (and it ignores all the hidden issues that the body holds for us but that’s a topic for another day).  Yuck.

Health.  Isn’t that a great goal?  Attainable, realistic, in many ways measurable.

If a genie came up and offered you a choice:  “You can be healthy or you can be thin, choose now!”  What would you choose?

~the Abysmal Witch

Using spirit to understand body-Part 1

I would like to pose a series of questions/statements to consider.  I’ll put in my answers to them, but I invite you to think of what your response would be.  It will help when I moved to the second stage.  This post will make the most sense, potentially have the most impact, if you follow me down the rabbit hole.

How would you react if someone said to you:

a) Every person must reach a very high state of spiritual developent.

I would say you’re nuts.  Not everyone is interested and quite frankly capable of reaching the same lofty heights of spiritual development.

b) There is only one type of spiritual road to follow.

It’s not like there’s one type of spiritual development.  It’s a range of experiences that we pretty much all recognize but we don’t all get to the same place and we certainly don’t get there by exactly the same method.

c) You’re a failure if you don’t reach the highest level of spirituality possible.

Uh, no.  Some people will be very happy, very spiritual and very fulfilled (the key point in this one, I think) with having spirituality as a regular part of their day or perhaps their week without it being the most important thing in their life and/or without them having to reach any particular degree, experience certain Mysteries or otherwise reach notable landmarks on the road of spiritual development.  In other words, for me, the person who is blissful in their soul from tending their rose garden does not need to develop any further spiritually.  If s/he does, great!  If not, they have, by having their own experience of a healthy spiritual life, reached a good state for them and I see no need to force or expect them to go farther on it.

d) It’s okay to stop expressing and living what we would consider spiritual values in our quest to become more spiritual.

Uh, hell no.  If you stop behaving in a spiritually enlightened way then I’m sorry, you’re not moving closer to spiritual enlightenment (and when I finally do my post on harm, yes it’s related, you’ll discover just how interesting is the meaning behind this sentence, well in my opinion).

Now, go back and look at the statements again, but instead of spiritual development, read it as weight loss.  Here, I’ll do them again:

a) Every person must reach a very high state of spiritual developent. = Every person must be very physically fit and thin.

Seriously?  Everyone must be very physically fit?  No, not in the history of our race has that been the case.  Physically healthy, well yes that would be good.  But physically fit?

Or how about stripping the physically fit and making it:  every person must be thin.

Think about that statement.  If it isn’t resonating in you with a ‘hell no, that doesn’t make sense, then look again at the spiritual statement.  Do you agree that everyone must reach a high state of spiritual development?  If not, then why must everyone be thin?  Why must a single perceived ideal rule all people?

b) There is only one type of spiritual road to follow. = There is only one body type that is beautiful.

Okay, I’ll admit that I wouldn’t have agreed with the only one body type beautiful statement even before this exercise.  Or would I?  Pictures of various body types I’ve seen have been gorgeous.  But when I think of what I consider beautiful, is it a wide range of images?  Or is it a narrow spectrum, constrained by fitness, muscles, curves only in the ‘appropriate’ places?

When I reflect back on the idea of one spiritual road, which I completely reject (though there is the syncretist view that they are all the same that I can work with, but here I’m talking about the specifics of different roads – though if you take the syncretist path, then all body types are beautiful so it still all works together), and then switch my thinking straight over to there’s only one beautiful body type, I reject that too.  There isn’t.  There are many beautiful body types out there.

c) You’re a failure if you don’t reach the highest level of spirituality possible. = You’re a failure if you don’t reach the thinnest, fittest body possible.

Ohhhh, for those of us with body issues, doesn’t that just ring a bell?  Make your whole essence resonate in that nasty, hate yourself because you’re not the body you’re supposed to be kind of way?  Or maybe that’s just me.

I feel this one.  I feel that I’m a failure for not being thinner (though I’m not after super-thin, I’ve adjusted my thinking that much!), and gods help me if I put on a few pounds.  Then it’s not just failure of not being thinner, it’s the active failure of “back-sliding” down the bad road.

If I think about that train of thought and put it in a spiritual context, then sure I’d ben grumpy about backsliding, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world.  As soon as I realized it I would decide if it really was ‘backsliding’ and if it was, and not somewhere I wanted to go, I would turn around and start going back the way I wanted to go.  No harm, no foul.  And I’d also be looking to see what the cause of this change was and how it fits into my spiritual view.

But all of that presupposes that I’m good with the first two statements.  That there’s no particular spiritual height I need to reach and neither is there one particular way I need to get there.

If there’s no particular state of fitness or weight I need to reach, that there are many different body types that are beautiful – *even for me* (i.e. that my body doesn’t have just one good state of being, that it is happy with a variety of such states) – then why the f*ck do I need to be the thinnest person possible?  Or the fittest?


d) It’s okay to stop expressing and living what we would consider spiritual values in our quest to become more spiritual. = It’s okay to give up the health of our bodies in the quest to become thinner.

This is one that seems particularly obviously no.  Doesn’t it?  After all, we shouldn’t sacrifice our health just to get a few pounds less on a scale.  And yet we do.  There are diet pills that I’m betting aren’t that good for our health, but hey if they get us down that scale, they must be good, right?  And let me just say “eating disorders”.  They are not healthy, but they are a direct outcome of the pathological need to lose weight.

So it’s not so obvious after all.  Or perhaps obvious, but not so easy to work around.

And how do we work around it all?  How does any of this train of thought help change body image or our viewpoints enough that we are no longer plagued by the unhealthy, unreasonable, often unconscious thought patterns?

For me, this comparison of spiritual to body really helped.  It opened my metaphorical eyes to a different way of seeing my viewpoints on my body and I really had that realization or a deep-seated resonate click of sense from comparing the two and how unworkable and downright dangerous my body thought patterns are.

What about you?  Does any of this make you think a little differently?

~the Abysmal Witch

Fire dozing

The end of a long day, the tension of too much history and too much pain and too many turns just wrong enough that the feeling is that of being lost in the woods even though the road is quite visible still through the trees.  All of it sitting in the belly, solid and weighty, very separate from the marvelous meal that rests in the official part of the stomach.

Distraction calls with its usual voice.  So long as we keep dancing with the flow of constant information, there will be no need to rest deep inside with the fear and the pain.

The fire is lit.

I start the music and by will and choice stretch myself out before it.  Warmth envelops me but I do not relax.  Or do I?  I drop the distractions and settle into my stillness.

The fire calls, pops and sings to me.  Not to get my attention, but purely to savour its own ravenous existence.  It will consume everything until it dies.

And it does not care.  It is enough that it will be for as long as the wood shall last for in that time it will be fully satisfied in its consumption.

Warmth reaches out to me just as I crave it to do.  But as of yet I would not beg for it.  Not yet, not quite.

And there I lie, basking in its warmth, looking into its depths, hearing it murmur to itself without any interest in my existence whatsoever.  And I glory in its indifference.  And I start to doze.  Lulled by its heat, by its fast progression of life, by its beauty, into a place of rest.

In the deep warmth of the fire, I shall rest.