Body presentations: a practice involving two or more people where each person tells the story of their entire naked body from head to toe.
Origin: Radical Honesty, the book by Brad Blanton. Ed Epperson introduced me to the practice (see footnote).
The purpose: to release shame and gain freedom and a new found level of comfort in the body one has, exactly as it is, and also gain productivity in all areas of life.
Any place we have shame our productivity is dramatically decreased. How much is it worth it for you to have freedom and productivity? What price would you pay? Talking about your own body seems a pretty small price.
Personally I have witnessed people gain new friendships and relationships as a direct result. Gain confidence to end relationships, get completion around sexual abuse, be more financially generous and productive, and take on physical feats (skydiving, sporting events, etc.) they never considered prior.
How does this practice work though? What exactly is it that happens to create the amazing results that people get out of this exercise? What is possible if we undertake transforming what it is to be human and embodied? This is a chronicle of the journey to discover the answers to these questions and more.
The content from here on that has "BP" in the title is all going to be put together and collated at a later date to form a book and will include much more firsthand accounts of people’s experience in the world before and after body presentations. I will set out to chronicle the people with whom I have done presentations thus far and from this point forward I will document and account what people experience before and after.
Personally, a great comfort when standing in front of a room doing public speaking is the most noticeable change. No longer do I experience being self conscious, concerned about my hair, makeup, clothing or body being “ok” to other people. I have a new found freedom to be content and confident even if there is something in my teeth, I loose a button, my zipper is down, or anything else of the sort. These seemingly minor concerns are of the sort that used to really get in the way for me and cloud up my mind. I never identified shame and concern as a barrier for me, and was already quite productive, having 3 years of experience teaching college with great reviews. However, it's entirely shifted and I have a dramatic sense of ease that never before was experienced.
This used to show up and get in the way in intimate situations too. In the moment right before taking off my clothes with someone for the first time I would experience fear and concern. What if they don’t like the shape of my breasts? should I have shaved my pussy? Are they looking at my stretch marks on my thighs? What if they don’t like my hair/body/etc? This lead to a lack of presence and ability to truly connect and contribute to another.
It was as though I was constantly asking, "Am I acceptable for you?" And underneath that really the question was, "Am I acceptable for myself?"
That is no longer. I have no doubt now if I accept myself, it is a deep and resounding YEA! I am PERFECT exactly as I am. Take this as far as to that the first time I was intimate with one of my current partners, I didn’t have any underwear on. And I had a skirt on. And when he asked me to sit across from him crosslegged, rather than resisting or being concerned I just told him what was happening and then sat down. He smiled, laughed and was totally amused and comfortable.
I am committed that all people in the world get the chance to experience that kind of full self-acceptance. Any practice where we get to go deeper in our own bodies really opens us up to compassion for others.
see: Krista Tipet
Together we get to define what is typical and possible for humanity. Aliveness isn’t comfortable, its alive. we have to put something at issue to be alive and transform, to have a chance of being made wrong for our actions. I am willing to take that risk, in full confidence of what can become possible for humanity and those around me. Onward.
Note: Ed Epperson, Austin, TX is the source of body presentations for me. A mentor, a self-selected family member, a love, a fellow explorer, gratitude can never express the impact he has had in my life. He and I partner to transform what it means to be a human, to be embodied, to empower women and end the degradation of eroticism.