Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Je Ne Sais Quoi: Strong

Could you imagine if someone had the audacity to suggest in this day and age that having je ne sais quoi was about a woman’s body? As if presence was all about a nice figure, or a seductive walk, or a thin stature, and not about inner confidence and strength and character. Could someone be so foolish?

Well, yes. I could.

It is true. I, indeed, have the audacity to say that an alluring presence is about the body. Or at least partly about it, anyway. This isn’t, I know, a fashionable idea, but before you judge too hastily and swear to never come back, I invite you to hear me out.

You see, I’ve been learning a lot recently about my body. Not in an anatomy-kind of way (by age thirty, I’m pretty well acquainted with all of that!), but in a body-spirit kind of way. Like how they’re connected, with one influencing the other and vice versa. It is a very, very simple concept, and yet somehow I managed to forget it.

Forget it until about a month ago when I felt like I needed to make a change in my life. I needed a different daily routine and a new outlook. And I didn’t know where to start until I was praying for wisdom one day and felt like I needed to move out. Not move out metaphorically, but actually, physically move out. As in take my body out of my chair, away from my desk, and out of my front door.

You mean, I asked, my physical body actually makes a difference? The answer, it seems, is yes. Although the work I do online, and with words and ideas, and in conversations with others, is important, I had overlooked an important truth: my body supports my spirit. And when my body is too stationary, too immobile, too weak, my inner spirit grows stagnant and also weak.

Perhaps this sounds a bit woo-woo, but I assure you it is entirely practical. We express ourselves through our bodies all the time--through our movements, our body language, our appearance. Think, as an example, of a woman you know who exemplifies je ne sais quoi. I’d bet my house that her movements are captivating--that they draw attention.

And so, in our pursuit of this mysterious inner strength and elegance, I want to challenge us to start with our bodies. If you are feeling weak, than pick up some weights and literally build some muscle. If you are feeling dowdy, than try dancing. If you want to feel liberated, find a nearby swing and fly. If you want to feel happy, try skipping. Of course these movements won’t radically alter your circumstances, but they can impact your spirit and the presence you exude in the company of others.

So, yes, je ne sais quoi is about your body. So get moving.


  1. AH! I'm in the same place right now! Perhaps a lot of people are as spring starts to bud (although I heard you had more snow in CO today), and the weater warms. I felt weak . . . sadly lacking in strength, so I started the P90x workout, which let me tell you, is not for the faint of heart. But, it's crazy! 3 weeks ago I couldn't do a single push up the "real" way . . . now I can do at least 10 at a time before goign to my knees to finish a set. Who would have ever thought that in three weeks time I could do that many pushups. Definitely not myself. And, while someone people will write it off as vanity, growing older, etc, there is something incredibly mental/spiritual about pushing yourself in something this difficult. I mean, I've ran several half marathons, but that did not compare to this as a challenge.

    I TOTALLY with you on this one. It's not about having a perfect body, but it's about understanding your body, what you put into it, and what you can get out of it (in terms of activity). i wonder how much faster I'll be able to run after 3 months of doing lunges and squats . . . ?

  2. I'm so glad to hear that someone else is in my camp! Of course, it sounds like you're being a little more aggressive than I am (Way to Go!). I'm excited to hear about how fit and energized you are a month from now!

    Thanks for your comment, Nicky!


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