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Navel Gazing

According to Webster’s Dictionary, navel gazing means this:  Useless or excessive self-contemplation.

It’s part of our dialect and culture now (obvious from all those “reality” shows on nearly every channel) or as Wikipedia says, we use it in “jocular fashion, to refer to self-absorbed pursuits.”

It does channel your joy for life and coincidentally, feelings associated with shame, jealousy, fear, remorse and disgust.  Figures.

It does channel your joy for life and coincidentally, feelings associated with shame, jealousy, fear, remorse and disgust. Figures.

It comes from the word, Omphaloskepsis, “the contemplation of one’s navel as an aid to meditation.”  This navel-gazing thing goes way back, y’all.  Many religions regard it as a good thing since if we get in touch with ourselves, we get in touch with the cosmo and some consider the navel to be a “powerful chakra.”

I get that.

Anyway, I guess I’ve been doing a lot of it lately and I’ll probably be doing more of it.  For the next few weeks anyway.

I’m in that place before leaving one place to go to another, wrapping things up here to go there.  Cutting ties.  Things like that.  It’s getting down to the wire and as The Boss said, “Man, I’m just tired and bored with myself.”

I feel as if I’ve been fumbling around in the dark for awhile now, wondering what this next chapter of my life will bring.  And because I believe things happen the way they are supposed to, I’m looking forward to getting to that next place.

Look at that, I’m doing it again.

Belly Button Trivia

Anyway, it got me to thinking about navels, belly-buttons.  So I googled that.  About why some of us have innies and some of us have outies.  I’m an innie by the way.  According to an NBC News Health article, most people are innies, nearly 90 percent.  Some people have surgery to correct it — that outie thing.  Whatever.  If I’m going to have plastic surgery to improve something, it won’t be my navel.

outieAccording to the same article, when the doc snipped the umbilical cord, you get an innie or an outie “when the stalk from the leftover cord dries up leaving an abdominal scar.”

But, don’t blame the doc the article goes on to say, it’s got everything to do with “the presence of space between the skin and the abdominal wall.”  What does that mean exactly?  If Mom has a thicker ab wall and skin, then you get an outie?  Please healthcare people, weigh in here.

I think of babies with that tiny little cord stump, waiting for that last little piece of her/his connection to Mom to fall off.  That life-giving connection that fed us, gave us life until we could make it on our own.

Maybe there’s something to all this navel gazing we do.

More Random Belly-Button and Navel-Gazing Trivia 

Major Nelson could bare his navel when he wanted and gaze at it, but Jeannie couldn’t.

The only way Jeannie could bare or navel-gaze was if she popped in her bottle.  But she could gaze at Tony's and he could navel gaze all he wanted.  Figures.

The only way Jeannie could bare hers or gaze at it was if she popped in her bottle. But she could gaze at Tony’s and he could navel gaze all he wanted. Figures.

According to Wikipedia, “The Motion Picture Production Code. . .banned the exposure of the navel because it simulated an erogenic orifice. The navel was censored in women and not in men because the simulation or upward displacement from vagina to navel was commonplace and obvious in women.”  Wow.  I think this was going on in the 1950s.

Marilyn Monroe and Cher were two women who blazed the trail of female navel baring and gazing.

Marilyn Monroe was one of the first females to bare hers in the movie, Something's Got to Give. She said, "I guess the censors are willing to recognize that everybody has a navel." A revelation in those days, apparently.

Marilyn Monroe was one of the first females to bare hers in the movie, Something’s Got to Give. She said, “I guess the censors are willing to recognize that everybody has a navel.” A revelation in those days, apparently.

Cher bared and gazed at her navel frequently.  I like Cher.

Cher bared and gazed at her navel frequently. I like Cher.

I threw this in her for color.  And I like navel oranges.  Btw, the color associated with the navel chakra is ORANGE.

I threw this in here for color. And I like navel oranges. Btw, the color associated with the navel chakra is ORANGE.
See how I came full circle there?

I’m getting off topic here.  This is obviously an entirely different post.

Me, Navel-Gazing One Night

The other night I was sitting out on my noisy, temporary balcony having a glass of wine.  I called my Mom.  “Mom,” I said, “I’m having a glass of wine sitting on my noisy balcony, feeling sorry for myself and I need you to tell me to shut up and get on with things.”

“Brigitte,” she said, “Get on with things.  Everything will be alright.”

My Mom has an unshakable faith and a network of family and friends.  She’s been through many of those life-altering things — the things we all go through eventually, if we live long enough, as we move through this life.

You Do It. I Do It. We All Do It.

Maybe it’s not so bad that we navel-gaze from time to time.  After all, if we didn’t we wouldn’t be alive whether we’re in or out of the womb.  It’s self-preservation, protection.  It may seem narcissistic at times, but necessary in order for us to contemplate, weigh things out, figure out what we need to do in order to survive.  Get on with life.

Because after all:

It’s not useless, this navel-gazing we do.  That’s why many of us blog, put our thoughts, expressions and everything else out there — we are communicating with each other, revealing things about ourselves.  Asking others to validate our feelings, our dreams, our sorrows and joys.  If that’s navel-gazing, then I’m good with it.

And seriously, if you look at your navel, it’s one of the things on your body that stays the same.  Whether you’re a baby, a kid, a twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, seventy and beyond-something, it’s the same.  It doesn’t age.  Just everything around it does.

So take a good long look at it and love it.  We all need to navel gaze from time to time.  Maybe that’s why we all keep doing it.


Are you an innie or an outie?  How are you navel-gazing these days?  Share please.  It’s okay, really it is.

And because I mentioned The Boss earlier in this post and a line from one of his songs, enjoy.

Sources:  Navel, Wikipedia; Balance Energy:  What is the Navel Chakra?

About Brigitte



44 thoughts on “Navel Gazing

  1. Starting my day with The Boss is the way to go–you have my deepest thanks. Thanks almost as deep as my navel! What a great segue! My navel is so deep (chorus: How deep is it?) that even when fully extended to each of my 11 month pregnancies, with a belly the size of Rhode Island, it never popped out or even smoothed out.

    I got nothing after that.

    Posted by Addie | August 1, 2013, 9:13 am
  2. Honestly, Brigitte, I think in our fast-paced world, we don’t typically do enough navel-gazing. Getting in touch with ourselves and truly feeling what’s going on is so important. I’m an innie and as your online physical therapist, I’d say the answer to the outie questions is “the presence of space between the skin and and the abdominal wall” of the baby, not the mom. I think it actually has more to do with the firmness of the scar tissue behind the navel as to whether it holds the skin in or lets it protrude out…

    Anyhoo, loved the navel trivia. It’s always great to see a post from you in my mailbox and I know things are going to settle soon.



    Posted by Cathy Ulrich | August 1, 2013, 9:14 am
    • Hi Cathy, maybe you’re right! I think we have to look inward to figure things out from time to time. I would love for you to continue to be my online physical therapist and your summation sounds right. Always good to see you and your beautiful posts as well. Thank you, friend. xo

      Posted by Brigitte | August 1, 2013, 9:23 am
  3. I find the busier I am, the less navel-gazing I have time for. Sometimes that’s good, sometimes not. As for innies vs. outies, it doesn’t have much to do with mom beyond the genes she passed down, meaning the anatomy in that area, because I imagine that’s what it comes down to–as you point out, the space between the skin and the muscle on the baby. For most of us, the soft tissue of the navel sinks in. For others, it doesn’t. But that’s just a guess. We never covered it in med school. 🙂

    Good luck with your navel gazing. I hope it leads you to where you want to be.

    Posted by Carrie Rubin | August 1, 2013, 9:18 am
    • I know what you mean, Carrie. That’s true. If I stay busy, busy, busy, I don’t have to think about all the what-if’s which can drive you nuts and a true sign of some serious navel-gazing. So that’s it, huh? And it should be covered in med school, don’t ya think? ;). Thanks, Carrie.

      Posted by Brigitte | August 1, 2013, 9:25 am
  4. Get your head out of your navel. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.
    I am a big navel contemplator. I realized after 17 days of not having time to look down at it, that looking around can be so much less stressful. The Europeans are so good at living in the moment and now I am aspiring to do the same.
    Where are you moving to?


    Posted by susielindau | August 1, 2013, 9:19 am
    • HA!!! Susie, how are you m’dear? I needed to hear that — thank you. I think you have something there and being grateful about the looking around part. I think the Europeans have something there and I’m going to aspire to that more often in the coming days. Moving near the coast again — this time near Charleston, SC. Thanks innie and I so hope things are wonderful in your world.

      Posted by Brigitte | August 1, 2013, 9:27 am
      • Thank you! It is great to be back.
        SC sounds like a wonderful place to land. I LOVE NC and have always wanted to go to Charleston. Have you read South of Broad?

        Posted by susielindau | August 1, 2013, 9:30 am
      • Is that Pat Conroy? I’ve not read that one, but Prince of Tides — have you read that? IT’S GREAT. (if you come down thatta way, let me know — 😉

        Posted by Brigitte | August 1, 2013, 9:34 am
      • I definitely will let you know. Yep. Pat Conroy. He gives us a glimpse of what it’s like to grow up there although his main character is pretty messed up. Excellent book!

        Posted by susielindau | August 1, 2013, 9:58 am
  5. Oh, Brig, I have missed you and your banter! It was so great to see you in my feed this morning!

    If naval gazing is just taking a moment to think about myself and the way I fit into this big world and make it a little better, then I am a naval gazer. I think that phrase gets a bum rap, but introspection, as I see it, is always a good thing. PLUS, naval gazing gives me a good excuse to listen to The Cure.

    Posted by The Waiting | August 1, 2013, 11:02 am
    • Hi Emily! What a nice thing to say — thank you for those sweet words and positive vibes. I agree with you on your definition of navel-gazing. If that’s what you do, it works. Your posts always make me smile and feel better. Here’s to healthy navel-gazing! 😉

      Posted by Brigitte | August 1, 2013, 6:46 pm
  6. At the risk of detracting from the central topic, Brig, I’m appalled at how gaunt Marilyn looks in that picture, but please do not interpret that as meaning that I’m not a huge MM fan. She will always be one of my all-time favorite screen goddesses. “Something’s Got to Give” was the film she was shooting at the end. It was unfinished. A few years back I was able to see much of it posted on You Tube. If you love her like I do, you won’t be disappointed. She radiates, but I just didn’t realize how emaciated she was looking before she bought her rainbow.

    As for naval gazing, when I’m busy as I’ve been lately, I have much less time to ruminate. I think having a handle on introspection is healthy, but I noticed that it is very easy to slip into the sinkhole of over-indulging especially when times are challenging than when everything seems hunky dory. And I tend to fall into that trap of moping, or if you prefer, naval gazing, when I’m feeling blue. But that’s just me.

    Always good to hear from you, buddy!

    Posted by lameadventures | August 1, 2013, 4:47 pm
    • Hey V, I know she does look very thin in that picture. I’ve seen pictures of her when she looks voluptuous and then very, very thin. I didn’t know that was her last movie. And I always thought she was great. I felt sorry for her. I feel that she was very talented and no one would take her seriously plus I don’t think she had a very good childhood.

      I do too think some soul-searching introspection is worth it, but it’s kind of like therapy…at some point, you have to get on with things. That’s where I am I guess and I too get in that “moping” thing as well. Always good to hear from you too, my friend. Thank you. xo

      Posted by Brigitte | August 1, 2013, 6:36 pm
  7. Too much navel gazing on my end. Sometimes I could use a swift kick in the $&@.
    When I can actually find my navel buried in all the layers of gelatinous fat , I have an innie.

    I’m smiling that you’re happily looking forward
    Cheers! Audra

    Posted by unfetteredbs | August 1, 2013, 5:00 pm
    • Me too, Audra. You crack me up with your self-deprecating thing but I love it. I do it alot myself. I think it’s a sign of very high intelligence. Thanks for your kind words — always appreciated. xxoo

      Posted by Brigitte | August 1, 2013, 6:37 pm
  8. Sometimes you have to indulge yourself. Everything will work out fine. Be patient with yourself 🙂

    That photo of Marilyn doesn’t look real. I don’t think she was ever that thin. Look how muscular her arms are???

    Posted by Maggie O'C | August 1, 2013, 7:17 pm
  9. I’m right there gazing with you, Brig. These transitions are rough and maybe the best thing we can do for ourselves is to go into gaze mode. I like that you traced our navels back to the fact that they were the conduit for giving us life. I feel like during these times of shifting circumstances we should stop and think about our lives, do a little inventory, etc. I told Lily today, that I’ll do whatever I need to do to get me over this hump. Anything goes. Navel gazing is definitely part of it. Another great post, Brigitte.
    Don’t you just love Audra? She cracks me up. She has a great way of deconstructing the whole premise — now I’m contemplating my fat stomach thanks to her. Lol!!

    Posted by A Gripping Life | August 1, 2013, 10:48 pm
    • I bet you are Lisa. Nothing wrong with doing some inventory and taking care of yourself. What’s that old saying — something about be the best YOU you can be and everyone around you benefits and I think how you are thinking — doing whatever you need to do is great advice. Anything goes! 😉

      And stomachs..sigh, middle-age, what are we gonna do but love it right? Take care of you and thanks, friend. xo

      Posted by Brigitte | August 2, 2013, 6:16 am
  10. Oh, naval gazing. Just the thing that I seem to do practically 24/7. No big deal. Until I realized that apparently most people don’t do this (or to the extent that I do) so that they can live more of their lives externally as opposed to internally. Does that make sense? Anyway, I’ve learned to balance it out with some outward living. Nothing with gazing downward (and inward) but it can get pretty lonely if you don’t look around.
    To chime in with the others about Marilyn’s picture: I feel like there’s something wonky going on with her ribs. Is it just me?

    Finally, I’m just glad to see you doing well despite the inevitable nerves and emotions. Like I said last time, I’m excited for you so I think it’s time you join in on the excitement yourself. 😉

    Posted by lillianccc | August 2, 2013, 12:06 am
    • Ha! Yeah, I’m with you, Lillian. Yeah I do much of that internal living lately, so it makes perfect sense to me. That’s it — i’m using another Marilyn pic. And yes, I’m doing well — thank you and I’m excited! Thanks Lillian!

      Posted by Brigitte | August 2, 2013, 6:13 am
  11. You give navel-gazing a whole different perspective–I love how you take a topic and explore all its nuances–you are funny and entertaining and philosophical all rolled into one. Btw I am an innie–along with 90% of other people–will have to find another way to be unique. Have a wonderful weekend Brigitte–would love to share a glass of wine with you on your temporary balcony–I have lived in the same house for over 31 years and am ready for a change

    Posted by on thehomefrontandbeyond | August 2, 2013, 6:59 am
  12. I usually naval gaze to get the lint out, figuratively and literally. Where does the link come from? Great to read you again, Brigitte. I think erogenous orifice will be the new name of my band, if I ever start a band.

    Great stuff – I have an inner-outie. very rare, weird.

    Posted by mabukach | August 2, 2013, 11:18 am
    • That’s a good of a reason as any, Mike. And as far as where the lint comes from, that may something you wish to explore, both figuratively and literally and regale us with your wisdom and findings. PERFECT name for a band — it suits you, Mike. I don’t find it surprising you have a rare belly-button. Not at all. :D, Thanks!!

      Posted by Brigitte | August 2, 2013, 12:26 pm
  13. Great post! I have an innie and I won’t be showcasing it anytime soon! LOL. 🙂

    Posted by brickhousechick | August 2, 2013, 1:08 pm
  14. Yay, a post from Brigitte! And another great one at that. This innie’s been a bit contemplative, too, wondering if she can pull off this latest story idea and having dealt with a rough July for people around her. We can take it too far, as you say, and I’m trying to pull myself out of that place. August has started with some good news, and maybe that’s a sign of things to come.

    May your new place bring you inspiration and happiness (and the desire and time to write more blog posts. 😉 )

    Posted by jmmcdowell | August 2, 2013, 3:28 pm
    • JM, thank you and so nice to hear that August holds some good things for you and those around you. I’ve always thought of you as a ‘thinking’ kind of person and it shows from your writing. You are so nice to say you’d like to see more of my posts. I miss writing them on a more regular basis. Maybe in a month or so. Anyway, as I’m on the road, I will keep reading your wonderful posts and comment when I can. Thank you my friend. Xxoo

      Posted by Brigitte | August 2, 2013, 6:14 pm
  15. Interesting read, and kinda ties in with my recent “discovering a body” meditation too! 🙂

    Posted by thesonnyone | August 4, 2013, 9:50 am
  16. Hi, girl ! What a funny and interesting journey you’ve taken within this blog post! I’m navel gazing these days too. Somehow you and I continue to travel together in spirit. I’ve also come to a defined point of change, though not in the physical sense as you are. It is change, nonetheless… a major shift I suspect. I think its towards something quite positive. I feel very open to possibilities and opportunities. I sense you are as well. Yay!

    I’m also rediscovering my navel as I work hard to lose some 15 pounds I somehow accumulated this past year. Yes, I can already see my navel again! LOL. I sure wish I could have just made it disappear with a blink like Jeannie but, alas, I’ve been forced to do it the old-fashioned way. 🙂

    I’m an innie, BTW. 🙂

    Posted by Sue J | August 7, 2013, 12:43 pm
    • Sue, You and I — we have to meet at some point. We always do seem to be traveling the same journey. I am JUST LIKE YOU. Over all these changes, troubles, etc., I too need to lose those 15 POUNDS. I plan to start working on that soon myself, as I’m like you, not accustomed to that extra something. But I guess I’ll just love it until I can lose it. Didn’t you always love Jeannie??? Even then, she was a forward-thinking woman that seemed to adjust to her situation but keep her own sense of self. Now that I’m older, I SEE that more, don’t you. Love you much, my friend.

      Posted by Brigitte | August 7, 2013, 9:56 pm
      • Lol. Yes, Jeannie was more in control of her situation/self than her golden locks suggested. And, yes too, I’m pretty certain you and I will meet. Maybe at a cozy cafe in the South on a lazy afternoon. 🙂

        Hugs and Love.

        Posted by Sue J | August 8, 2013, 10:26 am
  17. You have gone missing again my friend……………

    Posted by on thehomefrontandbeyond | August 26, 2013, 8:48 pm


  1. Pingback: contemplating our navels | THE WORM IN MY APPLE - September 30, 2013

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