To Receive Is to Grow

We receive life through our orifices;
eyes, ears, noses, pores, vagina.
When we truly receive,
we grow continually.

—Marion Woodman

 

When you tune into your body right now reading these words, what do you notice?

If you feel discomfort or even revulsion, that would be normal in our Western body-denying, body-glorifying, and body-hating culture.

The body is often perceived as object — a “thing” that needs to be fixed, molded, shaped, or cut — rather than a sacred vessel through which we receive life, and grow.

The way we treat the body — especially women’s bodies — is a microcosm of the way we treat Mother Earth.

We treat her as if she will take whatever we give her without complaint, pushback, or retribution. We take from her what we want without regard to how it may impact her.

Many of us have experienced the consequences of doing harm to our bodies by giving to it what is toxic (rather than nurturing), while at the same time taking from the body its energy and vitality through neglect, denial, or a delusional belief that we don’t need to take care of her.

Nature always has the last word — with our bodies, and with the Earth.

When the relationship with the body is confusing, conflicted, or non-existent, then receiving through the body will be also.

Receiving with the body is the ultimate vulnerability for women. Our bodies are exquisitely designed to receive the body of another person, yet we rarely explore or speak to one another about the irreconcilable paradox that this most sacred form of receiving (and pleasure) is often the source of our greatest fear — that our body vulnerability will be exploited and taken against our will in an act of violent, dominating power.

Until we can sense into what arises for us when we think of receiving through our bodies, it is not possible to experience what it might feel like to receive and to “grow continually.” And yet, there is no growing and no life possible without receiving.

With our eyes we perceive, learn, connect, and experience beauty. Through receiving with our eyes we feel the expansive emotions of love, compassion, and awe.

With our ears we receive the words of loved ones, the sounds of nature, and of music. Through receiving with our ears we feel connection, gratitude, elevation, or even bliss.

With our nose we experience the delicious scent of a favorite food baking in the oven, health-altering essential oils, or the singular scent of a beloved partner or pet. Scent is one of the most powerful of the five senses and can evoke strong visceral emotions.

Receiving through our mouths we are nurtured so that we can grow and stay alive, and through our pores we absorb nutrients from the sun.

Receiving the body of our beloved through the vagina — the ultimate surrender and receiving — contains the potential to “grow continually” the human species.

There is such energy in receiving.

—Marion Woodman

 

Invitations for reflection, exploration, and action:

    • What sensations do you notice in your body when you consider that life is a continual experience of receiving through the body?
    • What “orifices” of receiving are the most pleasurable for you?
    • When does body receiving feel uncomfortable for you, and what is one step you can take right now to create more comfort or safety around body receiving?

 


© Vicki Tidwell Palmer (2021)

Coming Home to Myself: Reflections for Nurturing a Woman’s Body and Soul (©1998)
By Marion Woodman and Jill Mellick
(Reprinted with permission)

*This post is from the Coming Home to You Series. Visit this page for the backstory of the CHTY Series.

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The deepest experience of the creator is feminine, for it is experience of receiving and bearing.”

Rainer Maria Rilke