Body image has always been high on people’s lists, as is health. There are deep issues troubling society in this regard. Obesity is a priority on healthcare agendas, in government departments, and in homes. So many people are desperately unhappy with themselves, spending exorbitant amounts of time and money on fashions and fitness regimes to feel better; and resorting to radical surgery, even if it’s not warranted. When it comes to our looks, people naturally want to feel accepted, but we shouldn’t feel bullied or pressured into doing things that may not be right for us. Fundamental ethics arise as a result.
A recent report reveals growing popularity of young women choosing genital surgery; the Sydney Morning Herald article states there’s “a strong indication some procedures are being performed for cosmetic rather than medical reasons.” I found it quite ironic to read about human rights organisations fighting for the rights of young women in some parts of the world, against female circumcision.
For some time we’ve had reports and warnings on childhood obesity in Australia, and this article gives a different slant on things: “Australia’s childhood obesity problem is an “exaggeration” and calls for a junk food tax will do little to relieve the poverty that is its major driver, an expert says. “Our children have got taller for generations … our multicultural society in Australia is going to produce lots of children that are different and diverse,” … “That’s something that I think everyone needs to understand.” … “It’s really an issue of social class,” Dr O’Dea said. This doctor has identified an underlying cause to think about. There are always underlying causes to these problems. More and more people are finding that these issues can be seen and handled from a spiritual perspective to find solutions (www.spirituality.com).
I’m reminded of how easy it can be to feel ostracised or abnormal by this little experience. I was at a friend’s house in South Africa, and the house maid, Violet told us (looking at me) that I was really lucky to find a man. Wide-eyed, she said that in her African tribe, a woman of my build would not find a husband! In that moment I actually did feel quite relieved that I wasn’t of her tribe. I was a ballet dancer at the time, and thought of myself as totally acceptable, because ballet dancers were expected to be small and flat- chested. Violet disagreed wholeheartedly, and we all had a giggle.
Later in my life I switched from dancing and began teaching fitness classes. After some years, I was feeling dissatisfied with the fitness scene and my husband I were moving country, so it was a good time for change of some sort. However, a job ad jumped out at me, just up the road from our new accommodation. I applied for the trainer job at a top, trendy gym. The employer literally looked me up and down and said that their trainers had a certain look – tanned and athletic (he gestured with his hands over his chest!), and asked me if I wanted to think it over. What was there to think over! I couldn’t believe his rude frankness and couldn’t wait to disappear. Whatever happened to more soul, less body! – “I love you for who you are”.
I still wanted physical activity in my life, and realised that the balance I was searching for was in fact a hunger to understand my spiritual identity. I almost did a complete reversal and stopped all exercise, other than walking to get around. I was soul-searching, but still hadn’t found a balance. A statement by the discoverer and founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, got me thinking: “Without a fitness for holiness, we cannot receive holiness.” Fitness took on a whole new dimension! When we dance or run or walk, we are expressing spiritual qualities derived from divine Life, God. Strength and grace, stamina and discipline, to name a few. What I am thinking whilst exercising matters, and now when I’m at “Gym Without Walls” (a local council initiative in the community park) I love seeing these qualities in myself and my class-mates.
Understanding our spiritual nature gives us the strength and discipline to act wisely, including eating what we need in moderation. Christ Jesus taught: “The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment.” … “But seek ye first the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
And talking about “soul”… here’s “Whatcha see is whatcha get” by the Dramatics (1971), if you’re in the mood for a little music!
Need to know where WYSIWYG comes from? (Wikipedia).
“… brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” ~ Philippians; the Bible.
“As a man thinketh, so is he.” ~ Mary Baker Eddy