“You and I exist inside of love, and occasionally we realize it and live out of our deepest purpose and identity.”
~~ Richard Rohr
If you are a regular listener to the Happy Healthy You! podcast you may have noticed that we rotate the subject matter so that body, mind and spirit are somewhat equally represented. For example, last week we heard from my friend Julie Reisler about creating sacred time for ourselves in the form of retreat and the many benefits that can come out of it. We talked about the value of stepping away from the business (busy-ness) of life to take time to just be still, open ourselves to something new and nurture our innate divinity. Next week we talk with a bikini competitor about eating well and training our bodies for bathing suit season. Couldn’t be farther apart in subject matter, right? Maybe so.
Well, you never know what you’re gonna get from the Happy Healthy You! podcast and I kind of like it that way. Actually, I believe it’s really deeper than that. For me, I believe it’s God that likes to keep me guessing so that I don’t get too attached to any one idea and see it as ultimate truth. I like to defer to Her when planning the podcasts and so sometimes things do not always go as I plan. Sometimes I think God rather enjoys it when I squirm, as I did a little this past week.
I like to plan ahead a couple of weeks for each podcast and as I was preparing for my interview with my friend Val Wiest (the bikini competitor) the thought came to me that went something like this: “Girl, this is Holy Week. Easter is next Sunday. You’re gonna talk about bikinis?”
Busted. I was raised in a generically Christian religion (Episcopal) and I have a great love for sacred scripture and the teachings of Jesus. (Also Mary Magdalene, the first to see the risen Christ, but that’s another podcast.) So I celebrate the Paschal season with reverence and respect. There is much to glean about ourselves and our relationship to the God of our understanding by studying the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ so I am all-in come Lent.
So God and I, we had a little “talk” about body, mind and spirit and what the podcast is really all about and here’s what we came up with, together. I share it with you, dear listener, only if you are interested.
Peel an orange. Go ahead, I’ll wait. (If you don’t have one handy, just peel it in your mind.) Really dig your fingers into that peel and pull it back from the fruit. Notice how it slides fairly easily off to reveal the tender, juicy meat of the orange. Now take your fingers and run them over the front and the back of that peel. Notice the texture of the front and the back, it’s thickness, the bumpiness (sort or reminds me of cellulite) of the front and the pithiness of the backside. Despite the slight lumpy exterior, observe how the outside appears shinier and smoother than the inside which begins to take on the texture of the fruit itself. As we venture inward to explore the orange we notice that the inside wall, not visible from the outside, is much more similar in texture and appearance to the meat of the fruit.
An unpeeled orange has a distinct fragrance but things really begin to get fun once the peeling begins. Remove that tough exterior and you notice the sweet aroma bursting forth as it is released from its casing.
Hold the naked fruit in your hand. Feel it’s weight. Observe it’s fragility without it’s outer layer. Without that layer, perhaps it becomes apparent that the fruit inside would whither and die in short time.
Now, pull apart the fruit and notice the perfect sections. This begs for an elementary school lesson in fractions with its segments that fit together perfectly as one. Take a bite of one of the segments and notice the sensation of the fruit on the tongue. Perhaps the mere suggestion of taking a bite of the orange elicited a response on your tongue. That was your brain sending a signal to your salivary glands that there’s a party ‘bout to happen in your mouth.
How does that orange feel in your mouth? Notice the sensation of the juice as it trickles down the back of the throat. How does it feel to know that this orange is now making it’s way into the body in which you live, integrating and becoming a part of all that you are. You are essentially changed forever by the presence of this fruit in your system. The body is affected on a cellular level, mood can be affected with the addition of this natural sugar into the system, perhaps even a sense of gratitude arises in appreciation of this succulent nurturance that the fruit offers to you as you begin to digest it’s loveliness. This of course begs the question, who or what is doing the digesting, the appreciating, the questioning?
Aha! Now we get to the real pith of the orange story. Hey, it’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Get it? Oranges are sticky…
Please stay with me. We’ve come this far…
So, what does this orange have to do with Happy Healthy You! the podcast and living a whole life in body, mind and spirit? Well, I am so glad you asked. We will try to explain.
The peel obviously represents that outer shell that we present to the world. It’s that protective, adaptive exterior that keeps the insides together, somewhat safe and shielded from the good opinions of others. It’s also a bit of a deterrent to predators who might want to wantonly eat of our sweetness.
The inside of the peel begins to meld into the outer part of the fruit, adding another layer of protection perhaps (or maybe a reminder that we are, all of us, layers just waiting to be peeled back to reveal to the world our inner beauty and yumminess).
These outermost layers are important parts of the orange. They allow it to function in the world as an orange without issues of identity. Though each piece of fruit appears unique, there is no question about it’s orangeness (it’s orangehood?) The inside of the fruit is, of course, the meat of who we are - our sweet, fragrant, juicy, sticky selves - so complex, so fragile, yet so very perfect in design. And so darn delicious!
We’ve yet to mention the orange tree, from whence it (we) came. Back on the tree it was (we were) connected to the other oranges, happily dangling there on the branch as we grew to our full ripeness. The mother, the tree, provided our nourishment as we prepared for our eventual separation and ultimate destiny as the mature fruit we were to become.
Whoa! Bet you never think about an orange in the same way, right? Me neither.
The simple way of looking at this is we are here in this world in these bodies to exist together and to grow into our version of the precious fruit we are destined to become. We are given thick skins so that we can survive the harshness of the world around us as our beautiful, sweet and fragrant spirits ripen within.
If we simply focus on the shell, the exterior, we miss the point. If we only look at the inside of the fruit we also miss it. And Goddess knows if we hang around on the branch for longer than we should, nothing ever gets done!
We are, all of us, the same sweet juicy beings on the inside awaiting our full ripening, our time to shine (here’s the mind/body part). But we must always also remain consciously aware of the significance of the tree. That tree (spirit part) gave us life and part of it continues to reside within us after we are physically separated from it. And that’s the miracle.
|Mural in the Chapel of Joseph of Arimathea at National Cathedral|
Happy Easter and Namaste!
P.S. When you listen to the bikini podcast please remember the orange story and that those oranges we love so much have cellulite too.
What? It’s true.