Bathing as a Ritual for Radical Self Love
Sometimes I take a moment to reflect on the evolution of my relationship with my own body and it has been a fucking journey. Only in recent years have I begun to allow myself to linger in a space of deep self-love. When I look back on all those insecure days, I wish that I could hug my younger self and expedite the years of discomfort derived from misinformation and attachment to an unattainable, socially constructed ideal of feminine beauty.
How do we liberate ourselves from our own hurt? From the hurt that comes from within? How do we rid ourselves of the insecurities that limit our expression of the inner Goddess? It begins by making time to be with ourselves. For me, I find this time in a bath ritual. Water is symbolic of emotion, to soak in a bath is to be surrounded by your own love, fully steeped in all that it is to embody in this body. Because to be here, to be present in this physical being is nothing short of miraculous.
Bathing is my time to check in with myself, starting with my body — often the greatest obstacle — at a time when the warmth of the water washing over my skin feels so undeniably good that there is simply no space for insecurity. Suddenly, there is only the Knowing that this is exactly the temple I am meant to reside in — that in this moment I am exactly who I am meant to be.
In the bath, questions of self worth float away and dissipate into the steam, transforming into something sweeter, something softer and more gentle. The edges melt away and the sharpness of our own thoughts can no longer hurt us. This is the point from which everything flows. The vast potential for unconditional love that exists within us has the power to permeate our own surroundings. The question is, will we allow it to seep out of our open pores, beyond the barrier of our skin and into the bathing bliss that holds us?
When we give ourselves time and space away from excessive stimulation, we have more opportunity to process, to set intentions, to understand past interactions and to hypothesize ways in which we can move toward our highest selves — ways that we can better support our communities and our planet — but, it starts by supporting ourselves. Fortunately, authenticity is not something that washes off, like the dirt, insecurity or frustration from a long day. So, next time you bathe, remember that authenticity is with you. Remember how simple it is to be present with your most fierce and fully embodied self.
Take a moment to really observe the experience of being in your body. Sit with this. Notice how your breath moves, how your muscle hugs the bone and together the two support you. Notice how your blood flows, how your internal organs work in tandem to fill you with life — to sustain your soul. And after all this observation, just a moment more, for deeper reflection… how do you fill yourself emotionally? What gives you life? What brings joy and nourishment to your physical experience? It starts with acceptance… and a little ritual.
Molly McConnell is the founder of Chandra Ma Wellness, a blog dedicated to exploring the healing wisdom of Ayurveda, while sharing practical tips to live a more balanced life. She sources inspiration from the intersections of feminist theory, Montessori methodology and sacred spirituality.