we're not in kansas anymore toto OR welcome to nakedness

There was a sign on the walking path: "Naturopathy requires humility, sincerity and discipline."

No joke. I had just been more humiliated than ever before in my whole life. And it was only day 1. 

I was proud of myself. I didn't flinch that first morning while being weighed and interropgated about my health and habits by strangers. I endured an enema (my first, but not my last during those 3 weeks). And now I was looking forward to 1 of the reasons I'd said "yes" to this whole thing: a massage. 

1 of the "pros" on my shall-I-really-do-this list had been massage. It was 1 of the luxuries I left behind in the U.S., along with a steady paycheck. Here at "The Farm" massages were classified as part of the daily medicinal "treatment". Thinking it would be like the massages I'd experienced in the U.S., I was totally unprepared for what came next. 

From the spa-like reception area, I was escorted to a private room by a tiny smiling woman who told to "take your clothes off and lie down, madam", as she closed the door behind her. Thinking I must not have understood her properly, I wrapped myself in the sheet from the massage table and waited for her to return. I was startled when a gruff-faced woman who looked more like a prison guard than a masseuse walked in. Giving me the once-over and mumbling something in broken English about "no clothes", she defrocked me with a simple tug. Crawling onto the massage table, boobs to the ceiling, I wondered what happened to India. Where was that unquestioned modesty in a society where women can bathe and change saris in public showing barely a bellybutton? During that first hour-long massage, I understood something of how abused children dissociate from their physical self; how prisoners of war are systematically broken.

I know that sounds dramatic. And my therapist friends may be inviting me over for unlimited free sessions after they read this. But getting naked several times a day in front of strangers was the toughest part of my whole experience. My mother didn't raise me like that. I'm one of those girls who in jr. high changed my clothes in the toilet stall. I'm still one of those girls! For the first 3 days I had to muster all of my willpower and inner strength just to go through the motions of my "treatment plan" while I tried to figure out a survival strategy for 20 days of nakedness. 

And you can bet I had a lot to say to God about it! If this was His gift to me, then why the trespass of my values? Why the assault on my sense of self? Why this pain of humiliation? I'm still not totally sure why humiliation was necessary (or perhaps the question is, why I was so humiliated by it!) But by the end of those 3 weeks, something came together for me. Perhaps it's a no-brainer for others who are more in touch with the physical. But it was a revelation for me: that pain is not the end of the road, but a gateway to a place of freedom. 

God has tried before - at least since 1997 - to get me to face my physical self. But I couldn't - wouldn't - believe that "the real me" is not just soul, mind and heart, but body as well. But this time, for some reason I've yet to fathom, when God brought up this touchy subject with me again, I was ready. A concerned family member offered to pay for 3 weeks in India at the Jindal NatureCure Institute. India - I'm always ready! Fat farm - hmmm...not so much. It took me 3 days to make a decision. Another 3 days to adjust to the Jindal routine. And now, 3 weeks after the experience, I'm still sorting out what it all means and where to go from here. I haven't figured it all out yet. But I'm still moving forward - soul, mind, heart AND body.


Penny said...

Thanks for the reminder about pain. It never seems like it is only a gateway when you are in the midst of it...

Norma said...

So glad to hear that you are moving forward! Sure wouldn't want to go thru THAT again!

Michelle said...

Oh my goodness. You're a brave woman.
French women are much more relaxed about nakedness than I am. At the gym they will greet each other in the changing room (with two kisses) while still topless. There are no changing stalls, everyone dresses/undresses out in the open. And they ALL , no matter the age and body type) wear pretty underwear. On the other hand, in public they tend to be more modest than the tourists who come here. ( :

Anonymous said...

Bravo Becky!!! I can't wait to hear more....I loved reading your blog - thanks for sharing!! Love D