The Skin I Live In

Alison JamesAlison's Commentary

The title of this movie piqued my curiosity and had me standing “in the queue” to buy a ticket.  I was in a reflective mood and I was reminded, from a spiritual perspective, “I am not my body”.  I was not prepared for how provocative and macabre this unlikely tale would prove to be.  As the story unfolds – – the editing of the timeline of this story is very good — an obsessive cosmetic surgeon, played convincingly and menacingly by actor Antonio Banderas, takes revenge for an incident involving his daughter.

While it was not my intention here to ‘let the cat out of the bag’ as to the ending of the story, I have to reveal what has provoked me to write.  A young man is held against his will and over time he undergoes many “cosmetic” treatments to ultimately wake up one day and discover he has received a sex-change operation. His mirror reflection reveals he is now a beautiful young woman. To say that this story raises the issue of the infringement of personal rights is a blatant understatement, but in light of the awareness of our human journey to integrate and blend masculine and feminine aspects of being within the self, I found myself thinking further about this scenario.

From a higher perspective, when we understand that Ascended Masters in Spirit have fully integrated both aspects of being and have transcended the need to be in form at all, it is interesting to look at oneself in form and note to what degree, beyond the manifestation of form, we have integrated male and female aspects. Have they become skewed in one direction to the detriment of another?  For example, have we become so outwardly expressive that we are failing to nurture the self, taking adequate time for rest and relaxation? Are we working so hard that we are ignoring our desire for pleasure? Has our self-discipline and focus made us inflexible and judgmental? Are we domineering and not synergistic?

Our Beloved Merlin is an appropriate example for us to look at.  He, in form, acted as both a father and a mother to Arthur and by his own say-so today recalls how challenging it was.  Being in a male form and utilizing his nurturing, female aspect was not the social norm or what was understood as an accepted archetype at that time. Being a protector and procurer without being an aggressor, being independent but able to accept gifts through grace, knowing when to act and when to be still; these are a few signs of mastery.

Both masculine and feminine traits are part of the oneness to be found within us and without us; they exist and work together.  For every yin there is a yang, and vice versa. The creative initiating outreach of masculine energies towards individuation must be balanced by the loving, holding and manifesting energies of the feminine. These polarities are found operating in harmony in all structures throughout the universe.  As men and women, we need to balance these traits within ourselves as much as with each other. This is paving the way to the “We Consciousness” on inner and outer planes of existence.

The movie, therefore, raises the question in supposition, beyond DNA coding, hormones and conditioning: if we woke up one day and found, like our movie guinea pig, that we had suddenly become a member of the opposite sex, would our inner traits be balanced sufficiently to handle such a shift in gender?  Or put another way, how far have we traveled along our path to Self Mastery to where we can transcend form and be pure consciousness?