Love What it Loves

by Kate Gerwin

“You can’t have my heart and you don’t own my mind but, do what you want, what you want with my body.” –Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga is a singer whose shock value tends to come more from her over the top ensembles than her lyrics; her latest song however, struck a chord with me.

Undertones of sexual assault aside, the lyrics aren’t any more sexually provocative than others you hear on any pop radio station and Gaga has every right to decide what she wants to do with her body.

What upsets me is the fact that the song speaks to a larger cultural attitude towards the body; one in which the body is at best, a vehicle to further the needs of the “real” parts of us (the heart and mind) and one in which it is, at worst, treated with apathy and abuse.

Gaga is not the first or the only one to voice the belief that the body is “less than” the other aspects of the self; turn on the radio or the television or peruse social media and it is not hard to see that Gnosticism is alive and well in modern day America. As a culture, we are conflicted masters of our bodily selves, oscillating between stringent contempt and debilitating over-indulgence.

On the one hand, we judge our bodies for what they are not, restrict them, deny them the basics of what they need (food, sleep, rest, touch, nature, play), push them beyond healthy limits and then chastise them for not working “like they should.” On the other, we abuse our bodies with over-indulgence and addiction. Even the arguments made for healthy living tend to come back to looking better and living longer, implying that the only two things that the body has to offer are attractiveness and longevity.

Religion and spirituality are often in on it too. Whether it is through the condemnation of sexuality, harsh ascetic practices or even just the subtle implication that “real” spirituality lies beyond our embodied selves, spirituality can proliferate the belief that the body need not be as valued as our hearts or minds.

What about a view of the body that cherishes it just as much as one would cherish a child? What about a view founded on acceptance, curiosity, appreciation and joy? One that celebrates the body not just as an essential part of the self, but as the true meeting place of self? What about a spirituality that understands that holiness or enlightenment is an embodied process? A view that tells us, in the words of the poet Mary Oliver:

“You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert; you only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.”

Loyola Magazine » Playing through Grief: Helping Children Heal

Beverly Sargent, a current Ph.D candidate, published two books about helping children use child-centered therapy to play through the grief of losing a parent. She was featured in Loyola Magazine’s December 2012 issue.

Read more here:

Loyola Magazine » Playing through Grief: Helping Children Heal.

Summer Bucket List

The Summer Bucket List

We normally think of bucket lists as an extravagant to-do lists of grand scale. Well the summer bucket list: is a bit more accessible and can be completed before you start class in a few months.

  1. Be Physical – Ride a bike, hike a mountain, fly a kite, swim a few laps. You have been exercising your brain, now it is time to exercise your body.
  2. Be Vocal – Tell someone that you love them, like them, appreciate them or that you are glad that they are in your life. Family members, co-workers, friends and even professors are all great candidates.
  3. Be a Chef – Find an awesome recipe, go food shopping, dig out pots and pans and have fun! (Also make sure a fire extinguisher is handy).
  4. Be a Star – Sing a song, LOUD! You can sing in the car, in the shower, in your house, but let loose and let the world embrace your creative expression!
  5. Be Spiritual – Attend a Synagogue, Church, Mosque, Temple or wherever you worship and feed your spiritual center.
  6. Be at Rest – Get some sleep! Whether you listen to one of those nature sounds cds or buy a new memory foam pillow, do whatever it takes get some sleep, at least 7 hours worth.
  7. Be a little less Intelligent – Read a book that does not have any citations, references or any word with more than three syllables. Call it brain recovery.  
  8. Be Spoiled – Treat yourself to a guilty pleasure and don’t feel guilty! Drink a milkshake, eat some chocolate or even watch a movie with no discernible plot and have popcorn with extra butter. Whatever your pleasure, treat yourself; you deserve it!
  9. Be a Tourist – This area has wonderful landmarks, interesting places and marvelous museums, so release your “inner tourist” and enjoy them. 
  10. Be Helpful – Help someone else out without looking for anything in return. Helpings others is the gift that keeps on giving.  

Now these activities are great, but some don’t work well together. Singing a Phil Collins song at the top of your lungs while sitting in the warrior position in a yoga class is probably not the best idea. Neither is “being at rest” in the middle of channeling your inner Iron Chef in the kitchen. Waking up to the smell of OVER-blackened chicken and peppers is not a great experience. (Thank goodness for the fire extinguisher). So avoid those disasters and embrace your summer, it is already half over!!