Watch: How has your relationship with your body changed; how might it change?
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Transcript of Video:
When I was growing up I was what you would call “divorced” from my body, from my physicality, my embodiment in the world, because for a long time I didn’t see it as a resource, as a place of safety. I saw it as something to run away from. It contained some really painful emotions. And then sometime in my late 20s, I discovered dance, quite by accident, and I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say that dance saved my life, because it was a means of expressing myself through movement, of using my body for something creative. It allowed me to get in touch with those parts of myself that I had denied for a very long time. It wasn’t all very pleasant because it allowed me to get in touch with things living in my body that, like I said, were very painful. But as I worked my way through those, I was able to get to a point where my body was seen as – or I was able to see my body as a very beautiful resource that I can bring to my prayer life, that I can bring to all sorts of activities. And it was in recognizing how beautiful my body was that inspired me to want to honor it and treat it right, both through diet, physical exercise and of course, at the time, more dancing.
I think in creating a Rule of Life I think it is important to include elements within it that allow us to honor our bodies, to include our bodies as part of our entire experience in the world, not as something to be divorced from. Often times when praying it is easy to the mistake of being all in our heads. But the desert fathers repeated again and again how important it was to descend from our heads into our hearts and to live in our bodies. So I would encourage people creating a Rule of Life to include that element. To have some reminder that in the Rule itself that says, “I value my body. God sees my body as beautiful and I am going to include it as a resource in my life of prayer dedicated to God.”
– Br. Nicholas Bartoli