The body already knows, the mind just needs to catch up.
The extraordinary privilege to dissect an untreated cadaver is exactly that.
To touch deeply is to be touched, deeply.
To hold a heart is to have your heart held.
Where to start on such an experience?
I relate to the world on a physical level - physicality is an important aspect of existence to me. To understand the body of my being that carries me through the world is an undeniable aspect of being someone grounded in the tangible world.
More than that, without my body I cannot experience anything at all.
Even though I know there is much more to life than the earthly experience, I know that none of it could even begin to be breached without the earthly experience. From that framework it is imperative for me to understand and to feel the inner workings of being a human.
Her name is Madge. Maybe. We made it up.
She was 94 when she died.
A life well lived? Perhaps. We gave her a story - to make our intimate connection with her decent, to make it feel better. We make jokes - it makes it feel easier. Less invasive. I imagine that if she were watching us she would laugh at the life we gave her - wild, untamed, free, full of experience that was at the very least, enough to lead her down the path of deciding to donate her body to science.
What a privilege it is to be one of six who worked on her from the outside, in.
An untreated cadaver means gooey, wet, messy, pungent, in tandem with an ability to see the gliding, the cohesion, the holistic quality of movement in the body.
Humbling. Educational. Inspiring. We see the difference among the bodies, but in reality what hits home to me is the unshakable feeling that we are all made from the same thing, from the same stardust. Connected by invisible threads.
Even with our cognitive minds, our higher thinking, our ability to empathize, dream and create, we still haven't unlocked the secret to life. But our body has. DNA has. Evolution has. Magic put into words and explanations = science.
Without any guidance from the human ego, bodies know how to mold, meld, exist, hold us up and let us live a wonderful life despite all of the complications and compensations that always come with old age.
I saw the shimmering quality of tendons and ligaments, the perfect striations of musculature, the grainy, yellow adipose. There is a simplicity in the organization of the human body if you allow it to be what it is, without imposing your perceptions on it.
To see with eyes unclouded - my goal for this training - I didn't read the manual given out, I didn't take too much time to brush up on my anatomy - not because these things don't suit me, but because I wanted to see all that there is to see. By not categorizing or defining or worrying about the logistics I gave myself room to be truly present with the body laid out before me.
I saw patterns. Repetition. Nature already knows how to put things together so that they are sturdy, sustainable and well-functioning. I saw an artistry to the way things came together. Similar structures, different bodies, identical spirits.
I am amazed at the way our intangible lives are tattooed into the tangible flesh and bone of our bodies.
I wonder what tales mine will tell. If one day a group of students will have the privilege to undo my physical state and see my adventures. The scars I wear from an imperfect life. I hope within it they see the beauty of what it means to be human.