Contemplating the Navel
What is it about the navel that intrigues us?
An immediate consideration is that doctors use them surgically through which to place their laparoscopes. Also, the exciting new research in using cord blood as a source of stem cells for cancer patients hints at a brave new world in transplants.
We are a centrophilic species. Throughout history we have sought the centers of everything. The ancient geocentric scientists saw our world as the center of the universe. Then the heliocentrics correctly saw the sun as the center of our solar system, and many were persecuted for their theories.
We are comfortable with centers. Even our two eyes, spaced well enough apart on our faces to give us true stereoscopic vision, align the two fields to create a central point for our gaze. We walk and run and somersault using our centers of gravity. And our center-seeking ways in some fashion emphasize the navel.
The navel is nothing more than a scar, after all. But what was there before this skin scarred over makes our whole existence possible? Through this portal both life and nurturing flowed from our mothers. Two arteries and a vein exchanged nutrients and oxygen for us during the pregnancies that safely delivered us into the air-breathing world.
What Does The Navel Mean?
The cutting of the cord at birth is more than symbolic, for it challenges us to survive within our own machinery. The stump that remains withers, until we’re left with what seems like the body’s only joke: the belly button.
The fascia is a tough fibrous tissue that is the main supporting layer of the abdomen. It’s really the thing that holds our organs inside.
A weakening of this layer is a hernia, which emphasizes its importance. During our development in the womb, there’s a separation in the fascia at the navel, for the umbilical vessels need a way out and in while the umbilical cord is in operation.
After birth when the navel remains, there is a small hole left which is technically a hernia as well. It is a point of weakness in our bellies we all are aware of. Whether we realize it or not.
The navel, the belly button, the umbilicus, all are words that describe a center of our physical bodies. And through this center, we’re all interconnected. The belly button is a reminder that we were once connected to our mothers, and they to their mothers, and so on all the way back. We are all wired. We are all “on line,” with our connections intact to the first people.
The lines drawn on paper that make up a family tree can easily be envisioned as cords of life, all inserting into navels down the page. The field of genealogy is learning the way to untangle and draw umbilical cords. Looked at that way, there’s a certain beauty to a navel, whether it’s an innee or an outee, as we are tethered snugly to our species.
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