11/5/12

Goddess of the Week: Kuan Yin

In Asia, many points of good etiquette are der...
In Asia, many points of good etiquette are derived from religious beliefs. This Kannon statue (known elsewhere as Kuan Yin) stands on Mt. Koya, Japan. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Patricia says she needs a goddess for "boobies" after surviving breast cancer.  I thought long and hard about this one. I don't want to sound flip, and I do want to honor the strength and endurance that cancer survivors and their loved ones must practice.  So, Patricia, I'm giving you one of my all time favorites, the Chinese Buddhist goddess of compassion, Kuan Yin.

When our bodies fall apart, we have so many mixed emotions, including fear, anxiety and even anger.  We often blame our corporeal selves for letting us down--as if it illness or injury were some sort of intentional betrayal. But the thing is, our bodies are doing their best, and it's not their fault. It's not their fault that they are less than perfect. It's not their fault that they hold onto tension, worry and stress, and that they age and break down and need help. They were not made to last forever.

We are so bad to our bodies. We abuse and ignore them. We mock them and scold them and tell them they are ugly or fat or some other horrible name. We would not disrespect our worst enemies the way we disrespect our skin and the life it envelops. And yet our bodies do what they were made to do, day in and day out, without asking, without thanks, without honor.  When was the last time you honored your body?

You know what goddess your body needs? Whether you are ill or recovered or feeling like you could live forever, your body needs a goddess that will hold it in all its pain, suffering, weakness, fragility and impermanence and say, "You are good. You are doing your best. It's not your fault." And then it needs a goddess who will say, "You don't have to be scared anymore because I can hold that too."

Kuan Yin can do that for you, and I think we would all be well served by letting her.

Channel this goddess: When your body has let you down, when you are ill, when you are in recovery, when you need to cut yourself a little slack. I am a big fan of slack.

Need a goddess? I got goddesses! Post a comment saying what you need or want a goddess for. Then check back in a week or two and see what you got. It's fun! It's free! It's a way to honor your body. Trust me. It just is.

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14 comments:

Heather said...

This was beautifully written!

Daisy said...

Yes, we all need Kuan Yin and healthy love for ourselves. Thank you for reminding us Margaret.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

sometimes, most times, but especially this time, you are soooo wise.

Ms M said...

Thank you! We definitely all need Kuan Yin.

Petrea Burchard said...

Margaret, a lot of times I think we just need to come here and read what you have to say. This is very kind and very wise.

Desiree said...

This is one powerful goddess.

claire said...

((((Margaret & Kuan Yin))))

Olga said...

Tht was just so tender and wise. I had my mammmogram ten days ago and got the all clear letter. I will be sure to thank Kuan Yin.

altadenahiker said...

I wrote this whole long thing, but decided to just say: True, true, true.

Tony Van Helsing said...

Of all your goddess posts, this is the best. Your description of how we mistreat our own bodies is spot on.

Jean Spitzer said...

Lovely.

Star said...

This was just what I needed right now, thanks!

Susan Campisi said...

This reminds me of a conversation I heard on Krista Tippett's NPR show, "On Faith." I can't remember the woman's name but she described how she transformed her pain, particularly when burdened by dark thoughts about herself. She would look in the mirror and say, "Aw, sweetheart. You're in pain." We should show ourselves and our bodies the same compassion we show to others. You and Kuan Yin are wise goddesses to remind us of this.

(I probably should've just said "True, true, true," like Hiker.)

patricia said...

Thank you for this.