I knew going into a 6-day anatomy course would change me. Perhaps I would become a bit more anatomically fluent. Become even more clear as to where things begin and end. Did it happen that way? Of course not, but when do things every happen as we anticipate?

I was privileged to be able to join Gil Hedley for his anatomy intensive this past week. I packed my bags full of clothing and shoes that wouldn’t be missed if soiled. I had DVDs and manuals to read before hand for preparation, but didn’t read them. What was to be expected? While friends and colleagues have gone through this same course at other times, most people gave ambiguous responses on what to expect. Prepare to be amazed.

And how could I not?

The human body is an amazing piece of machinery and design. It will put up with your poor posture, terrible shoes, and horrendous eating habits to keep you alive. While it seems like we spend most of our time finding ways to shorten our life, our bodies are working 24/7 to keep us alive for longer.

The thing that struck me most was the profound difference between what was on the table and who stood around it. What is the difference between death and life? Between tissue and a living body? I am sure each participant there had a different answer for this – but for me it is Soul, Spirit, and Life that make us alive. It is not me that will be lying on that table many years from now, but the physical body that carried me through this experience. I may even wake up tomorrow in a totally different body, but I would still be me. We can change how we look, what we wear, our body shape and size, but you will always be you and I will always be me.

This leads to the next idea of appreciation. As we delved deeper into the layers and uncovered the uniqueness of the Verdant Goddess, we found many illustrations of how the form had created workarounds of problems. Her magnificently engineered body had done all it could to keep her among the living, but for whatever reasons, was no longer able to. The human body is not much different from person to person, but how we animate it is vastly unique. It is completely plastic and dynamic and forever adjusting to the demands we put onto it. The human form will carry you through all of the years of your life on every adventure you may take, and requires very little maintenance if used right. How awesome is that? How amazing are your feet, filled with 25% of your body’s bones, ligaments, and tendons, wrapped in an intricate weave of fascia so that it can respond appropriately and with enough give to every step you take? I am in awe of the most brilliant design of the body – everything with purpose for the task it was created to do.

Looking around the room at my fellow Somanauts, I was surprised at how many mutual friends or acquaintances we all had. Gil mentioned that in life we are all following a path. Sometimes this path is parallel to another’s, never meeting, or sometimes our paths may meet for only a brief time. We may change our path and never look back. With our common interests and friends, all of our paths were converging for the week. And as I sit back now and reflect, it is obvious to me that I was meant to be there at that time with that group. Is it awesome when you realize you are in the right place at the right time?

I am not sure when I will feel that I’ve mastered anatomy or the human body as right now I only feel more confused. The model I learned originally of the human body was that we were comprised of many different muscles put together. But when you expose them yourself? You ARE a muscle. The only layers or individual pieces are those that are fashioned with a scalpel. Each muscle is connected to the next, by a direct neighboring bond, or perhaps that it is just part of the gelatinous weave of fascia that is you.

I’m telling you, ITS AMAZING!

I wish that every person could experience the body in the way that I was able to. We would hesitate to judge others, call another fat, or hate our own bodies if we all had a greater understanding of how amazing the human form is. While I am grateful for this realization it has also made me a bit upset at how easy it is for many to dismiss their bodies. How easy it is to stuff your architecture into too small, too tall shoes. If anything, this has fueled my desire to share with the world. New mantra?

Move. Breathe. Live.