Belly Magic: Blessings from Your Body’s Center

What if your belly — the most maligned feature of women's bodies — were not shameful but sacred? What if your belly were home to the profound wisdom, power, and guidance ready to reveal itself to you through image, breath, story, and ritual? What if your body's center were in fact sacred space, temple of the Sacred Feminine as She lives within you?

If you want to make peace with your body and your belly — if you want to claim the treasure waiting for you within your body's core — join me on this journey of discovery. We'll invoke story, image, breath, ritual, and more as we go.

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First Encounter

Phoenician Goddess c. 2500 BCEShe was standing in line at the deli counter when it happened. Out of nowhere, for no reason at all, she felt something take over her breathing.

Later, she might wonder whether she’d been looking at one too many Venus figurines for her online archeology course.

But now her mind, as it had for days, weeks, decades on end, was chattering non-stop, yammering thoughts (judgments, really) through circles within never-ending cycles of not-good-enough. Such had been her life, so-called, whatever you would call absenting yourself from actual contact with the world's flavors, textures, and other trinkets of sensation. Certainly her world — although some might call it sterile — was neat, tidy, clean.

She wasn't discontent with her circumstances. Any time she had peeked out of her circumscribed la-la-land, however arid — and, to her credit, she had attempted several sorties — she'd encountered bits of barbed wire in her milk, darts flying through the air, cutlery strewn across the sidewalk. In her, yes, limited experience, the world was not a friendly place. If her existence within her self-imposed isolation was a bit lonely, actually loveless, at least she was safe. Trips to the grocery store and library were adventures enough.

As far as she was concerned, the intricacies of the mundane world were either exhausting, boring, or painful. The world of her own making was, however recursive the cursing, if aggravating, at least interesting.

But then, on line behind two matronly ladies, a tattooed punkster with orange hair, and a fraying teenager with a toddler in tow, waiting to place her order for barbecued spare ribs and a pound of mac and cheese, it happened. Suddenly, she felt as if her belly contained a triangular pillow, ruby red, one rounded point reaching down to her perineum, the other two points above her hip bones at the level of her navel. No embroidered initials on the pillow, but its fabric was plush, velvety, deep, richly hued.

When she inhaled, her inhalation made the pillow plumper. When she exhaled, it returned to size. Breath in, breath out: this luxe pillow — call it crimson, call it scarlet — filled, emptied, reached out, receded.

The sensation was pleasant enough. In fact, a sly grin twitched her lips as she enjoyed this private pleasure.

The adventure continued: As the pillow expanded and contracted — a gentle bellows, a petalled pulsing — it sent a rosy smoke, a pink mist, up through the column of her body and into her brain. The mist magnetized her thoughts — the jagged ones, the bitter ones, the tattered ones, the ragged ones. It gathered them together, ushered them down the column of her body into the plush pillow of her belly.

Breath out, breath in. Pink mist herds her nasty thoughts downward; within the luscious pillow they deconstruct, dissolve. Pink mist rises into her brain and soothes it, shushes it, smooths it, lets it rest.

Breath in, breath out: another feature develops. As the pink mist rises up to her brain, a blue mist descends lazily through her legs.

A smile breaks across her face. Her shoulders drop away from her ears. She discovers flooring beneath her feet and, for the first time in a long, long, time, suspects the ground will remain in place.

Peeling some but not all of her attention away from the pink-and-blue-mist-emitting ruby red pillow in her middle, she notices the scalloped edges of the platters in the deli's display case, the confetti-colored salads they hold, the scent of lavender wafting from the woman passing behind her. She notices the curl of hair at the nape of the neck of the young woman ahead of her in line, hears her strained patience as she warns her child away from climbing on the counter. She notices the blue rubber band circling the left wrist of the man behind the counter as he hands the punkster a container of egg salad.

© 2013 Lisa Sarasohn

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Photo credit:
Goddess, Terra cotta, Sidon, Phoenicia, probably c. 2500 BCE
Louvre Museum

in Erich Neumann, The Great Mother, Pantheon/Bollingen (1955); Princeton University Press, reprint edition (1972); plate 14

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The Woman's Belly Book: Finding Your True Center for More Energy, Confidence, and Pleasure — info at loveyourbelly.com — shares what I've learned during 25 years of exploring the mystery and power of the body's center.

It's today's best-kept secret: Your body's center, your belly, is home to your core life force. It's the site of your soul power, the source of your passion and creativity, your intuition and sense of purpose, your courage and confidence.

My greatest joy? Inspiring women to activate our body-centered soul power so that we may express ourselves all the more as the gutsy woman we are.

Comments

  • Emily Mills
    Emily Mills Saturday, 20 July 2013

    This is beautifully written, and I can close my eyes and meditate. I read Buddhist books sometimes and I was reading about the concept of having a soft belly recently. It sent me on a search to learn more about the stomach. I realized, despite my meditation practice and being a trained singer, that most of the time I breath incorrectly and suck in my stomach. I've been searching for ways to work on that gently. This blog and the link to your book is great timing. Synchronicity! I look forward to more.

  • Lisa Sarasohn
    Lisa Sarasohn Saturday, 20 July 2013

    Synchronicity, such a pleasure, such a grace. The Divine's style of event planning?

    All of which is to say: Emily, thanks so much for your comment. Blessings on your way!

  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham Monday, 22 July 2013

    Lovely! Thank you for these holy words! From my "In Praise of Aging" series, my own belly reflection....


    In Praise of Aging

    To Our Bellies

    My Belly
    It is the place my hand rests
    when I am in thought.
    I have seen other women do this as well.
    What is it that draws our hands there?
    This soft place
    this fleshy mound of us?

    It is the part we often consciously speak of disparagingly
    and yet
    in repose,
    unconscious
    it draws us
    our palms and fingers cup to its curve
    like the hands of a baby on its mothers breast when nursing.

    Perhaps our hands still honor the altars of life

    Our bellies
    the full pantry where we’ve stored extra in case of famine
    Our bellies
    the place children may grow and feed
    until they are viable on the outside
    Our bellies
    the protruding reminder
    of all the vulnerable and necessary things
    going on inside the hard protection of our rib cage

    And so,
    may we be grateful when our hands make that pilgrimage
    to our bellies.


    Lizann Bassham©2012

  • Lisa Sarasohn
    Lisa Sarasohn Tuesday, 23 July 2013

    Lovely, Lizann! Thanks for your response.

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