Right now this topic is what my body and spirit want to bring up and heal for me. Talk about a loaded and potentially triggering subject! In the past, I would have been too scared to look at something so deep and layered. Now I have learned to be excited when big “issues” or intense emotional aspects of myself start to emerge. It means I am ready to look at something. It means my body, mind and spirit want to release something and expand. It means I am ready to heal. It means I am on the cutting edge of my consciousness. So here we go!
First let me say, I am approaching this topic with as much sensitivity as I can. I recognize that if I become too specific with my body image issues, it may be triggering and cause upset for others. Therefore I will be addressing this in general terms, understanding that each of us have unique relationships with our bodies.
Today as I am writing this, I am in a new place with my body. Over the last two years I have deliberately cultivated a strong connection with my body. The fact that I now have a positive relationship with my body can be directly attributed to this connection. From birth to three years ago, I would describe my “body connection” as non-existent. If my body was sending me messages, I was unaware of them. I was not recognizing them for what they were. I am not certain of all the reasons why this phenomena occurred, but I do have some theories. I functioned under a belief that I needed to be and do certain things to receive approval from others, to feel successful, and therefore find self worth and validation. At some point I (unconsciously) determined that what others thought of me and my accomplishments was of upmost importance. My opinion of myself, what I wanted, what I needed, and what I valued paled in comparison. As I continued to receive praise from others for my external “works”, those behavior patterns became engrained until they became my default behaviors. Over time those behaviors became beliefs, which became my paradigm. All the while, the message I was sending my body was, “What you are communicating to me is not important, not useful, and holds no value for me”. At some point that pathway shut down and became inaudible to me.
In the fall of 2016 I could no longer ignore the consequences of living with a disconnected body. The following January, I dedicated 2017 to myself and my health. I was meditating hours a day. My intention was to learn how to hear myself again, or more accurately; for the first time. It took months of quieting my mind and listening. If I felt I was making a decision based on external reasons, I stepped back. I was undoing years of neural pathways, consciously building new ones that would result in new behaviors. This would take time. The messsge I clung to was,”Trust youself. Have patience. Honor yourself. It will all unfold perfectly, in the perfect time”. This message came to me through my meditations.
Over the next few months, my eating started to shift. For the first time in my life, I was able to hear what my body needed. I am still learning and sharpening my ability to feel these impulses. Several months ago, the message started to shift from food towards moving my body. I employed the same approach as before. I quieted my mind, so as to allow the messages from my body to come through. Then a little over a week ago, something miraculous happened. I was looking in the mirror as I was getting ready and I thought, “I am radiant and gorgeous”. I wasn’t trying to believe this statement. It was my truth in that moment. It came from inside. I was so excited about this new development. It continued from there. When my adult child saw me that day, they said; “Wow, you look incredible”. I truly believe it was my energy and self acceptance they were reacting to.
I have been different ages and different sizes in my years on this earth. I have never felt the way I do now. How I feel now has nothing to do with my age, my clothing size, my hairstyle, or any other externally measured aspect. It has to due solely with my connection to me. My connection to my body. Providing a space for my body to be heard and honored by me; intrinsically, naturally and organically.
Our bodies are sending messages to us all the time. Every second of every day. All we need to know about our incredible instruments is being sent to us on a continual loop, never ceasing, eternally accessible. What is more important than listening to this message? To love ourselves in a physically, tangible way? I submit there is nothing more important. If we don’t take care of ourselves, we cannot live to our full potential, and may even become a burden to others. If we don’t take care of ourselves, we cannot be available to help support others. Everything stems from our ability to quiet our minds so we can hear our bodies. Once we have reestablished this connection, we can nurture ourselves as needed. Once we have fully nurtured ourselves; then and only then, can we turn our focus outwards to the world around us.
With love and belief,