Bodied Mindfulness: Women's Spirits, Bodies and Places


344 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-88920-273-7
DDC 305.4'01





Reviewed by Beryl Baigent

Beryl Baigent is a poet; her published collections include Absorbing the
Dark, Hiraeth: In Search of Celtic Origins, Triptych: Virgins, Victims,
Votives, and Mystic Animals.


This hefty study of feminist theory and of the spiritual/religious
aspects of feminism grew out of the author’s search for a greater
degree of self-determination in her life. The book’s six chapters
explore topics that have been central to women’s studies and religious
studies over the last decade: women’s sexuality and language, sexual
ethics, spirituality, women’s bodies, the sexual contract in politics
and at work, and the relationship between nature and culture.

In an attempt to sort out “how to feel rationally and think
passionately,” Tomm chooses literature that does not explicitly
disempower women. Her discussion of consciousness is grounded in
Buddhist doctrine, which views reality as a changing process of
interdependent causality. She recognizes that the spiritual way of
living includes belief in the presence of life forces in nature, in
contrast with the religious, transcendent view that posits god as the
only spirit, separate from the natural world.

Tomm’s thesis upholds liberation-theological principles, which
suggest that the “motivational force behind constructive social change
must be love.” Taking a reader-response stance and eschewing the
notion that personal experience is not academically acceptable, she
advises, “Woman must put herself into the text—as into the world and
into history—by her own movement.” Bringing women of different
backgrounds, cultures, and income levels together in an effort to
establish new sexual ethics and to counteract the patriarchal
socialization of women is one of the underlying goals of this eminently
readable book.


Tomm, Winnie., “Bodied Mindfulness: Women's Spirits, Bodies and Places,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 21, 2024,