ImageI am attracted to this phrase from John O’Donohue: “The body is in the soul.” I turned to collage to discover its meaning.

The body, my physical home, is not just a container or a vessel. She is in the soul. She lives in and as part of the soul. As such, she is not alone, not fending for herself, but held in the shelter and embrace of the soul.

The soul is alive and unbound, impressionable, full of vitality and fluidity, always responding to the moment. And yet, I often experience my body as bound—contained within the confines of my skin, held in and separate. What if my body, living in my soul, as part of my soul, were not bound up in this separate physical package? What if I could remember that these skin boundaries are actually porous and permeable, allowing energy to move in and out of me, to meet and mingle with others?

My body gives my soul a way to connect with others. She is affected by life and she is intimate with all of life. My soul knows physical life through my body—tastes it, smells it, sees it, hears it, touches it, feels it…mindful experiencing of these senses, being sensuous, is to be in the presence of my soul, and is to be embraced in Presence.

Blues and oranges are the colors that my husband and I (in that order) love and are attracted to. For many years, I thought orange was too bright, garish, overdone. As I have learned to appreciate it over the past several years, I feel that I am also embracing my own vitality and life force energy. It warms me, feels radiant with life, invites me to joy, passion, and sensuality.

Images echo how nature, like the soul, holds and embraces and tends to us. She is our home, out of which we arise and flourish, and back to which we return. These images reveal the life, the movement, the fluidity, the beauty, and also the solidity and presence of the body in the soul. Held in the embrace of the soul, my body is safe, grounded, able to drop her boundaries and dip into the water of life.

(Quote from John O’Donohue’s Anam Cara, p.53. Image of woman from Louise Beckerman, titled Waters Edge.)

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