What is natural?

People are fascinating.  I think that the way we act, react, and interact are all part of a huge puzzle that I’m slowly unraveling.  Yet every time I fit a piece into the bigger picture, another dozen pieces seem to magically appear.  Or…the more I learn, the more I realize how little I know.

I’m hoping to begin my exploration into the world of blogging with some thoughts on the environment.  Not your typical understanding of the word “environment” but rather what I’m thinking of could be labeled as an “internal environment”: our bodies.

What is a natural body?
How do intersections of nature and culture define this concept?
Where does the biological body and cultural understanding intersect?  More simply put, I want to know how the things we learn (anywhere from first-grade classrooms to facebook wall posts) influence how we understand our bodies and why.

I would like to bring to light some of the social perceptions that inform our understanding of instances in which bodies become “unnatural” especially pertaining to cancer.  One way to learn more about this is to recognize the importance of people’s individual voices.  Anyone can engage in the conversation at hand.   This being one reason it would be great if you offered your stories, insight, and thoughts.

What do these pictures tell you?  What’s natural about our bodies?  Are there instances in which a body is unnatural?  When?

I think that it is important to consider both the external and the internal environment.  Where does my body end and the outside world begin?  And how do the things that happen “out there” influence what happens “in here”?  There are some great individuals out there that have looked at both of these environments such as Rachel CarsonSandra Steingraber, and Jim Tarter.  These people speak about the environment and its influences on people, bringing home this idea that our environment is the space in which we live work and play.  Nature, as part of that environment, doesn’t have to remain confined to pristine lakes, mountaintops, and national forests (see images below).  Nature can be the community garden down the street, the flower in that girl’s hair, or the Christmas tree in my living room.  How far can we push this idea of nature and natural?

When I google “nature” the first three image results are:

Or could nature be:

Being a woman and perceiving that women’s bodies are often under much more scrutiny than men’s, I find the subject of natural bodies much more relevant for women.  Back to the internal/external environment, by looking at how we, especially us women, view our environment, we might be able to learn more about how we view ourselves.  Is this crazy talk?  Or are there indeed connections between our external world and our internal world?  If your city is full of air pollution, fast food restaurants, and concrete landscapes, does that influence how you see your body or how you treat your body?  Does the local community park or farmers market influence how you treat your body?  And if you don’t have any of those, would it?

Feel free to share your two cents on what you feel/think/know related to all this!

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