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Beauty and the Breast

Embracing positive perception

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Beauty and the Breast

Female breasts-what longings, wishes, desires, and fears do they evoke? Our personal, emotional responses to breasts are woven together with popular culture and media-driven imagery.

Female breasts–what longings, wishes, desires, and fears do they evoke? Our personal, emotional responses to breasts are woven together with popular culture and media-driven imagery.

The symbolic meanings we attribute to the female breast range from female, life-giving, creative forces of the nurturing, caring mother to the seductive, sly come hither of the femme fatale, with her promises of comfort and sexual fulfillment. The image of the feminine breast takes on many varied meanings, often filled with both positive significance and hidden fears.

As a female, I live in a body that develops rounded forms of life-giving organs–breasts. At the physical level, the breasts develop in preparation for feeding our young, but there is also a spiritual reality behind this feminine connection to sustenance. This spiritual quality is the open and giving quality of the responsive heart, the capacity for nurturing and giving present in both men and women, but which may be expressed in a more dominant form in women as mothers and grandmothers.

The Heart Connection

On a spiritual level, the breasts are intimately connected with the forces of the heart: love, compassion, and wisdom.

Our culture today strongly needs these heart impulses, and we–both men and women–need to rethink our views of the feminine body and how we express or repress the qualities of loving, creative nurturance it represents. We need to question the manipulative use of oversexualized, objectified images of the human body as a marketing strategy and connect to our physical organism as an expression of spirit.

Breast Health

For physical support I recommend Dr. Christiane Northrop’s books The Wisdom of Menopause (Hay House, 2006) and Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom (Bantam Books, 2006). She presents an excellent breast-health plan, emphasizing omega-3 fats and flaxseeds, increased vitamin D and coenzyme Q10, as well as the herb dong quai and other traditional Chinese medicines, to decrease risk of breast disease.

Ritual and Art

Rituals and artistic expression can deepen your awareness that you are a soul-spirit, living in a physical organism. Light scented candles, and look at your body with interest and gratitude for the miracle that it is. Smooth on essential oils and express that gratitude with a mantra (a phrase repeated to heighten meditation) that reflects your present reality. Fill your bathroom with natural scents and images of the beauty of nature, recalling our connection to the earth and its healing powers.

Post-Cancer Care

Rituals involving touch and artistic imagery can open the soul to the hidden wisdom in all illnesses. If you have lost a breast to cancer, healing rituals are very important and can be used in the healing process. Art therapy, massage, and other forms of therapeutic touch can be integrated into a healing ritual for cancer patients.

You can, with pastels or with clay, create a visual representation of your breast, incorporating appropriate symbols for your intentions to nurture yourself and bring healing energy to the people you care about. Add a picture of a loved one, rose petals from a bouquet you pick for a friend, or a stone from an important walk with your partner.

Risk stepping beyond your comfort zone to explore your creative nature. Dramatize, paint, journal–find the creative voice that lives in and through your body. This creative flow is the source of health and connects us to the natural healing forces surrounding and supporting us.

Breast health arises through consciously recognizing and honouring the beauty and wisdom of our bodies, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Your natural health practitioners may be able to advise and guide you toward feeling more connected to your body.

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