Drinking from a Waterfall

Many, many people have accused me of being, well, intense. Ha! Ya think?! Yes, people. I’m intense. I’m big in body, mind, and soul. There is no missing me when I enter a room or open my mouth. No missing me. In my youth, I spent countless hours trying to be quiet, dainty, thoughtful, reserved, patient, demure, small, and feminine, but you know what? I’m really none of these things. Oh, like all people, I have these elements in my personality and at times, they can be seen, but at my core, I’m not tidy; I’m messy and energetic. I’m big, loud, funny, raucous, active, aggressive, and very yang. A part of me still wishes I was softer and quieter. I mean, I’m certainly soft in the right circumstances, in the right places (ha, ha!), and at at the right times, but I’m a nuclear power plant most of the time. I think I need to just own this sh*t.

waterfall

I once reviewed a book for a friend of mine who was into a really interesting spiritual practice of “no mind” or in laymen’s terms, just being in the present moment with no ego, no plans, less thinking and doing, and simply being. I read my friend’s book and wrote in my review of it that reading the book was like drinking from a waterfall because of the bigness of the book, the expansiveness of the writings and his practice. It is, frankly, the best review of a book I have ever given, because I nailed it. I totally dialed it in and “got” him and his work on a cellular level. It’s so fun when that happens.

This morning, it got me to thinking. Anything that we push into the world by way of expression (even if it’s about other people) is describing us, our psychology, our current self; it’s all about us, not the other person. It’s like when dream analyzers say that the dream is always about the dreamer no matter the subject matter of the dream. No element in the dream is actually about other people; it’s all about the person doing the dreaming. Yes.

So, I’ve decided to take my delicious metaphor back, because it also perfectly describes me and the energy, focus, and bigness of this life of mine. My new task? To go deeper in my psychology and eliminate the desire to be other than I am or to change myself because of other people’s behaviors. I will work harder to own my complete self, the self that is loud and sometimes quiet, messy and sometimes tidy, masculine and sometimes feminine. I will remind myself that who I am is ever-changing, ever-active, and never inert. I can be and am all of these things and if other people don’t get me, oh-freaking-well. I am enough. I will drink from the waterfall of the self over and over until satiated. Then, when I’m good and whole, I will offer the purest compassion, understanding, and acceptance to others. I will then be drinking from a sunbeam. :)

Worship at the Altar of the Body

If I were running things, this is what I’d like to see: You, grateful, breathlessly full of love for your wonderful, hard-working body. I’d want you to lay flowers at an altar to the self daily and hold the energy of self love, body love for the entirety of your lives. I want a world full of people who do not disdain their creations. Yes, we absolutely do create our bodies down to the very molecules (with our thoughts and beliefs).

I want a world full of people who LOVE their journey here, who love the lessons that they have chosen, who love their bodies with such vigor that they feel holy, they act holy, they ARE holy. I want you to feel a love pulsing through you that only comes from deep recognition of your own grandeur, your light, your importance to all that is. I want you to be giddy upon awakening, happy, excited, and joyously thinking about all of the things that your body will do for you during the day. This is what I want.

Now, that is also what I imagine God/Goddess saying to us. In my belief system, we have a source energy that holds an image of us as perfect, no matter what we manifest, no matter what the construct. A source energy so loving that it gives us all of the tools that we need to be successful here, gives us free will, gives us perfect bodies, and then in total freedom, releases us to create and shape a life of our own choosing, but a Source that continually loves us inside and out and never waivers from that ideal no matter what choices we make. This is God/Goddess to me.

prayer

If I started a religion these would be the only “laws”: Love yourself in body, mind, and spirit and take ownership of your energy, thoughts, and emotions. That’s it. Can you imagine a world where people were taught in the light, not in the darkness? Can you imagine a world of people who love and worship their bodies for the miracles that they are? I can. How might it look?

Imagine this: A baby girl is lovingly sung to in her father’s arms. He knows that it is his primary job, for the first three years of this child’s life, to teach her that her body is perfect. Her soul is perfect. Her mind is perfect. He takes this job very seriously. He knows that it’s up to him to help her form the foundation to a healthy life, to “program” her body with abundance, love, acceptance, honor, and trust. He knows that she will base all other life experiences from this early foundation and if there are cracks in the foundation, it is his failing and she, along with the human community, will suffer.

The girl grows with no separation between her soul and her physical manifestation. She is solid. She is centered. She is whole. She loves her own mind, feelings, and body. She loves how her body serves her. She loves to think and to play and to feel. It never enters her mind to think of herself or other people as anything less than they are. She accepts other people because she was taught, rightly, to accept herself first. She watches people having emotions, making decisions, living their lives, and she grants them the same freedom that was granted to her from the beginning. She acts like a creator. She is a creator.

In this state of oneness, there is no need to act out, steal, lie, take advantage of other people, or fight with others, because she knows that she is not a victim of any circumstance. She has enough. She has herself. She has the knowledge that if she wants something, she’s but to program the universe to manifest what she wants. Not by taking something away from others, but by being aligned with her own desires and understanding the laws of this physical time/space. She knows that thoughts are things. Thoughts become physical objects. Thoughts always come true in one form or another. All she has to do is think about what she wants and then align with the desire, the feeling of that thing, and it will manifest. She trusts this process. She trusts her body. She trusts the universe.

This is possible. I will never waiver in my belief that mankind will someday get to this place, will prove the naysayers wrong, will realize our divinity and power, the holiness that is the human body and will move onto higher and higher levels of advancement and spirituality. Call me “pie-in-the-sky” or a silly dreamer, but I know mankind is good at its core. We will figure this out. Until then, I’ll be here, reminding you all to lovingly fight for body acceptance until you learn to love it, all of it. Toward that end, I have a GREAT IDEA!

Create an alter to your body

For many years, I’ve kept some kind of altar in my home. Sometimes, the altar was for a lost pet or a sweet place at which I could sit and meditate (not very well, mind you, because meditation doesn’t really work well for me). Sometimes, the altar was a place where I gathered various photos, objects, and rocks that I love in order to do nothing else but look at them. Sometimes, my altar is outside in my yard or a sacred spot that I hike to and sit in for a while, like the Amitabha Stupa here in Sedona.

altar

My current, simple altar.

At any rate, an altar, as you smart body-lovers know is a highly personal place that can help us focus or dream or simply be. It can also be a very public structure that lots of people visit to pray or meditate. Either way, it occurred to me that since we humans are programmed to worship things and erect monuments (big and small) to things that we admire or exalt, why not make an altar to our own bodies?

Making an altar to your body, especially if you have “issues” with your physical form, is a great way to get more comfortable with it, to focus on the positives, and turn your mind toward that which works instead of concentrating so heartily on stuff that displeases you.

Making a personal altar is pretty easy. Here are some tips:

  • Pick a spot that you revere or feel safe in and make it a spot that’s easy to visit; the key here is repetition. The more you view this wonderful altar to your body, the better it works for you. Got a spot in mind? Good!
  • If your altar is indoors and it feels right to do, pepper your altar with photos of yourself from when you were happy, feeling good, laughing, goofing off, or just feeling really content. Try to pick photos of you that you like but that won’t make you feel bad for no longer “being that thin” or “looking that good”. The idea is to get used to looking at your body as it is now and appreciating aspects of it that please you. If all you can muster is a weak “Well, I like my wrists,” good! Use it. Take a photo of your wonderful wrists and pop it into your sacred space. The more you do this and concentrate on at least one aspect of your body that you like, the better.
  • Try putting colored stones, figurines, or other small art objects in your altar space. Bring in objects that you find pleasing and which remind you of health, vigor, and well-being. I sometimes prop up various Tarot cards that remind me of things on which I hope to concentrate or am currently working. I also place stones from the yard, crystals, images of Archangels and I almost always have a small Buddha statue there.
  • Write a loving letter to your body, praising him or her, and remarking on all the ways that your body helps you be here. Cite every pleasing aspect you can summon, read the letter out loud to your body, then place the sacred writing in your altar area to be infused with the energy from your stones and art objects. Read the letter out loud to your body once per day. This totally elevates your mood and gets loving thoughts and energy into your aura and subconscious.

What about you? Do you have an altar? Do think you’d like to make an altar to your body? What will your altar contain? Please share your thoughts on this and let me know if you have any more tips for readers to try. So, let’s do this! Let’s make an altar to the body and worship at it. Love you guys. All of you. :)

 

Guest Post: Aligning with the Highest Self through Hypnotherapy

Hi, BigBodyBeautiful friends! This is a guest post by one of the most amazing women I’ve ever had the joy and privilege of knowing. Like many people, Susan (of the kick-ass blog, Mariner to Mother) has suffered deeply at the hands of her caretakers, but what sets Susan apart from others is how she has dealt with this trauma. The difference is her unflinching honesty and responsibility. Susan takes utter responsibility for her healing and her journey here on Mother Earth. I simply LOVE this woman’s presence, her aliveness, and her willingness to work on herself. Please show Susan some love for so bravely putting her story here for us. And, please visit her blog and tell her that Lizzy sent you. XOXO

******************************************************************************

First, I’d like to thank our dear, sweet, scrumptious Liz for inviting me to guest blog here on Big Body Beautiful.

I’m a former merchant mariner, ship’s deck officer, who came to shore and settled down a dozen years ago. During those dozen years, I became a mother to an amazing and often challenging son. Over the past four years I have been a student of energy medicine, became a Reiki practitioner, and experienced a spiritual awakening.

My childhood looked, from the outside, to be a typical middle class experience, complete with music lessons, summer vacation trips, and playing on various sports teams. However, behind closed doors, growing up with an unmedicated bipolar mother was an experience that was very tough at times. When my mother was manic, she would verbally assault me at the drop of a hat. And when she was depressed, she was often unavailable as a mother. I didn’t have a lot of childhood memories until the past few years, when through doing healing work, some memories have come back. Using a variety of healing methods, I am releasing old fear, anger, and other detrimental emotions that became physically trapped in my young body. And, I’m ferreting out old beliefs that don’t work for me anymore.

One of my favorite healing modalities is hypnotherapy. I’ve had short series of sessions with a handful of different hypnotherapists over the past 13 years, working toward a goal of not needing to use food to numb me from uncomfortable emotions and nondescript feelings. While I was working with the first three hypnotherapists, even though we were supposedly working on food issues, what came forth were some absolutely amazing spiritual sessions: including being healed by an angel. A month ago, I resumed working with a woman, Lia, who synthesizes her extensive training and experience in the fields of psychotherapy, transpersonal psychology, and hypnotherapy.peach orange rose

During my most recent hypnotherapy session, I decided to work on body image. Growing up, I didn’t have anyone to model healthy body image. My mother was always dissatisfied with her body, always on a diet, feeding me the message that she was overweight and not ok. I took that message into my little body and by the time I was 13, I joined Mom on the dieting bandwagon. For the record, my mother was not overweight, and neither was I, back then.

After putting me into deep relaxation, Lia asked me to hover above a timeline of my life and go back to a time where I first had an issue with my body (or dieting). I popped back to eight years old. Someone told me I was fat; probably my older brother, teasing me. Feeling sad and confused, I really took it in. Then, Lia had my current day adult me go talk to my eight-year-old self. I told my young self that she was absolutely perfect just as she was- she was not fat at all. And, that she had a great, strong body that was just right. When the young me heard that, she became very happy and joyful. She gained confidence and strength. I actually saw her aura pop out from her body, signifying that she developed a sense of self and some personal boundaries. She really felt good about herself.

Then, I was prompted to move forward in time to the next time I didn’t feel so great about my body. I was 13 and had gotten my period and was not sure about all of these changes in my developing body. I was very unsure about my new curves and boobs and period. I didn’t feel confident at all about myself, and was confused with all of the changes. When my older self talked to my 13 year-old self, I reassured her that the changes she was going through were very normal and natural, and that she had a great body that was very pretty, that she was cute, and everything was just as it was supposed to be. I told her that she would get used to her new body and that it was a great body. With the reassurance, I noticed that the 13 year-old me became very grounded and centered. The feeling was that nothing could knock her over. All she needed was reassurance from me. Her confidence soared.

Then, I moved forward to when I was barely 15 and just had my daughter. The 15 year-old felt completely ruined in every way. She felt physically ruined, emotionally ruined, just ruined. I told her that she had been through a tough time and got a bad deal, but that she was awesome and perfect. And, because she was only 15, her body would come back to being a cute teenage body with a little bit of healthy eating and exercise. Yes, she will always have the stretch marks, but that’s OK because she brought a beautiful little girl into the world. A little girl who would make a couple into a family, who would raise her well and that she would be happy. I also reminded her that she did NOTHING wrong. It was NOT her fault. At first, the 15 year old got really mad, mad at the perpetrator who molested her, because he had ruined her perfect body. She was pissed!! It took a while, but she slowly came around to the idea that her body was great, and that she totally rocked. She was able to see that she did get her cute body back after some healthy eating and exercise and that it was a great, strong body. Finally, she felt awesome about herself.

Then, Lia had the energies of the various me’s roll up the timeline and join in with present-day me. I felt the confidence and strength of the other me’s, and it felt more confident than present-day me. As the energy of each me moved forward up the timeline, I received a message from them. First, the eight-year-old, who had been waiting a very long time for her knight in shining armor to come riding in to save her, when all along, she realized, it was the adult me that she was waiting for. She was in tears of gratitude, thanking me for saving her. Then, the thirteen-year-old expressed her thanks to me for coming back and rescuing her as well. More tears. Finally, the fifteen-year-old was filled with love and gratitude that I had finally come back and saved her as well. Her message also included, “What took you so long?” Tears and laughter.

Once the transformed energies of the past merged into present time, I clairvoyantly got the message: “You don’t need food anymore. You have all of the me’s holding you up, keeping you strong.” What a powerful message.

From there, Lia reinforced all of the positive, new thoughts and beliefs, rewriting my past and rewiring my brain.

I have learned that with each session, I clear away old, trapped energies. And, in doing so, change happens. It’s a process. Over time, small and even not-so-small shifts begin to add up. Specifically with food, I have already shifted the types of food I eat so significantly from what I grew up eating, that the last time I stayed with my mother for a visit (a few years ago), she was having difficulty knowing what to plan for dinner. She hadn’t changed a whip, but I sure had. And, when uncomfortable emotions come up, my knee-jerk reaction isn’t to go eat something (most of the time). These days, I truly appreciate how amazing my body is; all of the things it does for me without my thinking about them. And, that it is designed as a self-healing, divine vessel for my beautiful soul so that I can experience this life I have.

Guest Post: Yoga Saved Me from Body Hatred

This is a guest post by the darling Jen at Yoga-Moods.com. Jen and I have connected deeply on our mutual love of yoga and the body. On her highly informative, wonderful, and serene blog, she writes about the precious gift that is yoga and how it is helping her and others live richer, fuller lives. So, my BBB friends, let’s show Jen some love for so bravely exploring her transformation from body-hater to body-lover.

<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3

Hello! I’m so honored that Liz invited me to write a post for Big Body Beautiful! I hope that my words resonate with you and perhaps help someone who is searching for a way to deep self-love.

For many years, I struggled with self-hate. I didn’t realize that’s what it was at the time. It was more a feeling of the world being against me. I see it clearly now, though. I didn’t love myself enough. I was painfully shy as a kid and I felt inferior to my peers. I remember the first day of kindergarten feeling so overwhelmed by everyone around me. I felt different from the rest of them.  While they laughed and chatted freely with each other, I shrank into the background, feeling as if I didn’t fit in. My red hair and freckles set me apart. I felt ugly and cursed my uniqueness. I was uncomfortable when called on in class. I surely couldn’t have anything valuable to contribute. Anxiety exuded from me and others felt it, too. This exacerbated the problem. Kids teased me, bullied me, and sometimes simply ignored me. I felt left out and diminished. I truly believed there was something wrong with me – and it started with my looks. Thankfully, I was blessed with real friends who accepted me and celebrated my individuality. But, that wasn’t enough to change my opinion of myself. I cringe to think how much easier things could have been had I discovered then what I know now: self-love is necessary for happiness!  Cultivating self-love is crucial in order to serve your purpose and live your dreams.

I remember as a second-grader sizing myself up in a full-length mirror.  My body is OK, I thought, but my face and hair? Terrible!  When I was 12, a family member asked me why my belly wasn’t flat like my friend’s after a day at the beach. I often heard this person bemoaning her own “thunder thighs,” saying I was lucky that I took after Dad. She often talked about how many of the women in her own family thought of themselves as ugly, though most of them were quite beautiful in reality. Still, the message was that my stomach was “too flabby” at age 12. I wish I could have ignored this comment, but it cut me to the core. For years, I focused so much on that belly wishing it would shrink. I starved myself. I berated myself. I did sit-ups and crunches like there was no tomorrow! My family then worried that I was getting “too thin.”

Despite having boyfriends who were clearly attracted to me, I still compared myself to models. I was unhappy with my face, my hair, my breasts, my butt…. One time, a boyfriend remarked how sexy my “potbelly” was, and instead of taking it as a compliment, I fell further into self-destruction. Strict diets, outrageous exercise routines, and constant self-criticism ruled my life.  It didn’t get me anywhere except unhealthy. Not to mention, I was thin – talk about body dysmorphic disorder. And, I was so focused on myself I couldn’t possibly serve others, which was always my life’s goal.

And then, something miraculous happened. I discovered yoga! It was, quite literally, as if a light shone down from the heavens! I felt as if I had found the key to life. Yoga has healed me in so many ways; I’d need to write an entire book to scratch the surface. But, the most important way yoga healed me was in allowing me to cultivate true self-love and acceptance. I got physically healthy in a gentle way, pushing myself to my limits but being kind to myself when I needed rest. I gained strength, which led to confidence. I had found a refuge – my yoga mat or my meditation cushion – where I could put everything else aside for a while and just be. All of this led to a profound self-love, which continues to grow and enhance my life today.

Jen-Yoga-Moods

Years of asana practice helped me tune in to my body’s capabilities, strengths, and needs. I discovered I could do things I never would’ve believed. When I mastered a new pose, it was an instant confidence boost. Yoga helped me finally come to peace with my body, and to actually develop that more toned stomach I always yearned for. It helped me begin to make healthier choices in my diet, my lifestyle, and with whom I surrounded myself. It helped me to accept that, as a woman, my body is constantly changing. My weight will fluctuate, I will experience break-outs, I may not always feel energized, and that’s all OK. Under it all, I am a beautiful soul, perfect and complete. When I focus on this, and my “connectedness” with others (which yoga also encourages), I am much more happy and productive. Every day I practice asana. Whether it’s a 90-minute class, a few sun salutations, or a quick break at work, it is a part of my life. If, for some reason, I can’t do my asana practice, though, I don’t worry about it. It’s not a chore; it’s a joy. I do it because I love it, and I do it for the continual benefits it brings.

Asana practice alone, however, I’m not sure would’ve done the trick. Dedicated meditation practice (also a major part of yoga, though we often think of yoga as physical) was also essential. Meditation took me to the depths of my soul and back. It was difficult, and I encountered things I’d have preferred to keep hidden. I emerged from meditation in tears on more than one occasion, but it was worth the effort. Over time, a deep, profound love developed inside of me. Love filled my entire being and overflowed into the world. Love sustains me every day and has enhanced my relationships. I confronted my deepest fears and allowed things to arise in my consciousness that I wasn’t fully aware were affecting my daily life. My self-limiting beliefs became very clear and I started working on changing them.

yoga_buddhaRegular meditation practice and checking in with myself, with love, keeps me steady, confident, and calm.  As much as possible, I wake up every day and meditate for 20 minutes.  I try to do the same when I come home from work. If I miss a day, I don’t fret, I just continue the following day. I take the meditation off the cushion, as well, engaging in mindful walks, eating, listening to music, creating art, making love….The list goes on. Just being present wherever I am. Meditation gives the gift of mindfulness that seeps into all areas of life. It trains us to bring ourselves into the present moment, the only moment during which we can act. This precludes worry and anxiety and allows us to truly enjoy living! Namaste, my friends!

Life without a Uterus

Many of us have lost various parts due to disease, injury, or less-than-healthy conditions. It’s a sad fact that we humans spend years ruining our bodies. No matter how healthy our behaviors or how much we run each week (not me, mind you), stuff still breaks or dies or changes. We accept this gradual (and sometimes immediate) decay as a condition of life and regardless of where you fall in the spectrum of beliefs, your body will eventually fail. It really sucks, but this is the gig of being human.

In the last year or so, I’ve conversed with several women who lost their girl parts and in fall 2012, I, myself had life-threatening challenges with menopausal bleeding, a huge blood clot in my right leg, and multiple lung embolisms in both lungs. While I didn’t lose my darling uterus (her name is Uti, by the way), because I fought hard to keep her, I did end up having emergency gall bladder surgery. My gall bladder was named Gill, as in “Gill Bladder”. And, I miss him so much. Honestly, I’m still processing everything that happened during that time. But, that’s a story for another post. :)

This post is in response to a recent conversation I had with a sister-blogger, Joanne from Food Gurly. (Side note: Be sure to check her out; she’s got a mad-awesome blog that makes my stummy growl every time I go over there). Anyway, Joanne was telling me about some of her health challenges from 2007. I mentioned to her that I know of a great way to help with the loss of a body part (or any bodily condition that’s not to one’s liking) and I promised to share it.atom

So, how can we better cope with the loss of an organ or body part (or deal with sickness)? Two words: energy medicine. What is energy medicine? Chiefly, it is a variety of methods that work with the body’s energy anatomy or the etheric body to release blockages, create greater flow of Chi through the body’s meridians, and improve conditions or in lots of cases, outright heal diseases.

Evidence suggests that when we get to the point where we have lost an organ, it is due to chronic blockage in energy flow in one or more areas of the body. Blockages often result from habitual low-frequency or damaging thoughts and beliefs, less-than-ideal diet, lack of exercise, dehydration, stress, and so on. All bad stuff. And, it happens to the best of us.

Energy medicine encompasses a wide variety of ancient modalities from different cultures; most of it greatly predates Christianity and Western medicine and has been used successfully for countless numbers of people over thousands of years. Energy medicine, also known as “Eastern medicine”, is the umbrella term for working with: chakras, energy meridians, acupuncture, reflexology, Ayurveda, Shiatsu, distant and hands-on healing, Reiki, sacred geometry, color and sound healing, magnetism, homeopathy, intentional healing, and more.

Our bodies are electromagnetic or energy. Everything in the universe is made up of energy or vibrating particles. Every bit of matter, including our bodies, is an active soup of swirling energy that expresses itself as patterns, information, sound, thought, etc., but none of it is actually solid. Everything is comprised of subatomic particles that move and interact and change constantly and which make up the seemingly solid planet and all of its “stuff”.

Energy medicine works on the level of the subtle body, or the energy body to clear blockages. It is a holistic approach, in that it treats the entire physical organism, not just parts of a physical system and it really works to clear the pathways that are vital to greater health and well-being.

I’m in no way qualified to advise you on actual exercises for activating or working with the subtle bodies, but I can give you pointers to some awesome resources and a first-hand account of how it’s worked for me. I’ve been taking a class for a few weeks now on the meridians and WOW! What an incredible experience this has been. Seriously, with some very easy and fast exercises, many of which don’t even involve touching the skin, I’ve had huge shifts in my energy stream. I can feel the changes. I can feel my energy flowing through my body in an even greater capacity and I feel so much more vibrant and alive. While doing the exercises, I get radiating chills up and down my body. I can feel heat building in certain spots and a truly succulent flush of energy through me the entire time; it’s wonderful. And, all with just the use of my two hands, help from some cool chicks in class, and a loving, wonderful body-worker/instructor/healer, Teri Starr.

I encourage you all to explore this further and see how it works for you. Following are excellent resources on energy medicine. FYI- I actually own all of the books and resources listed here and have read them/used them, so I can vouch for their “goodness”. :)

And Then He Touched Me

…and it was all over. I was mush. I was a puddle on the floor. I was the ocean, the air, the sun, everything and nothing. I was he. He was me.

It never ceases to amaze me how “open” I am and how other people can simply floor me with the simplest of gestures. Sometimes, I’m waylaid by a soft look in one’s eyes, or I’m hypnotized by the barely perceptible smile at the edges of someone’s mouth, the curl of hair across a long neck; other times it’s a well-crafted sentence uttered softly in the room, the timbre in a voice that I love or the brush of one’s skin against my skin; all of these things (so easily and randomly) thrill me out of myself.

sunset-hair_resize

Royalty-free photos by unsplash; support them: http://unsplash.com/

Recently, a friend grabbed my hand and I practically fainted from his touch. It was so amazing. I spent the next several minutes catching my breath and trying really hard to pay attention to what was being said. I know there was talking, but I have no idea what was said. I was GONE!

With that one simple touch, a touch that most would think nothing of, the rock of my heart was blasted open and the shock of sudden, penetrating sunlight illuminated every square inch of me. I was breathless, spinning. That touch radiated through the palm of my hand, a silky electricity, raced up my arm, sped through my chest and gently snapped my heart chakra wide open, where that silk-strand then softly landed and fluttered there, heaving against me with the sweetest, most mesmerizing pulse.

Here’s the crazy thing. I can still feel that energy from him. I can conjure up that moment over and over and still feel it radiating through my body like it just happened. But, it’s deeper than this. It’s both of us together that makes it so intense. It’s the coalescing of energies that builds the monument to the moment. It’s the exchange that I’m after, the heart below the heart, the words below the words, the subatomic particles below the atoms.

unsplash_tunnel_resize

Royalty-free photos by unsplash; support them: http://unsplash.com/

And, I’m so deeply appreciative, so adoring of this open channel, so in awe of him, his energy, his heart, and this connection between us. Because, even if he would not characterize the exchange in quite the same way as me, it did happen; I know that he feels it. I know that it’s happening all of the time. It’s happening to all of us on earth. And, it means something. Something big.

Namaste, my friends. Feel this with your lovely body, with your soul, pull these words into you and hold them against you. Take this in and go forth looking for opportunities to open your channel. There is nothing to fear here, my darlings. There is only love. Use it.

How to be Obnoxiously In Love with Your Body

The following was a guest post that I did last July for Outlier Collective, which is now gone (Booo! I miss my friends over there very much), so I decided to re-post it because it’s a perfect representation of the BBB philosophy and is hopefully, helpful. :)

zeal

Picture this: A woman, say, in her late 40s, standing in front of a full-length mirror. This woman is grey-haired, heavy-built. She’s looking at her body, up and down and smiling, widely. She giggles, reaches down with both hands and grabs her full, chunky belly, squeezing it as she says to herself: “You are so friggen’ adorable!” This woman clearly loves her body and relishes its size, shape, and bearing. She’s clearly happy with how she looks and loves her girth, despite the fact that her body is “socially stigmatized” as undesirable, unattractive, and unhealthy by large segments of the population. She doesn’t care; at bottom, it doesn’t matter. She is fat. And, she’s completely fine with it. In fact, she’s madly, obnoxiously in love with her body.

Does this scenario seem improbable, maybe even impossible? It’s not. This demonstration of body-love is real and anyone can attain this state of being, regardless of circumstance, body state, fitness, appearance, or health. How do I know this? I’ve done it. The woman that I described above is me. And, if I can do it, anyone can do it.

How did I get to a place where I’m obnoxiously in love with my body? It wasn’t easy, I tell you. It took me years and years to get here. I write about it often on my blog. Ultimately, I think that I got sick of fighting. I got tired of dominating my body and criticizing her and measuring every mouthful of food and obsessing over how I looked. I got sick of caring what other people thought of me. I just got worn down by the struggle and the negative emotions, but beyond all of that, I wanted peace. I deeply wanted happiness. I didn’t want to feel so bad all of the time. I wanted to like my body and relax. I finally, finally let go, dropped my arms, and decided that if I had to be big (like my body so clearly wanted to be), I had to stay healthy. That was my only goal, my only concern, my only rule. And, I’m perfectly healthy, vibrant, active, and thrillingly alive at 5′ 5″ and 245 pounds. My blood pressure is always 110 over 60. I feel and look great.

So, why would any of us want to fall obnoxiously in love with our bodies? Lots of reasons. Primarily, acceptance. Acceptance of the self and others. Acceptance that the body is an integral part of our experience here as human beings and a vital tool, an important element in how we expand as spiritual beings. Without the body, we cannot do the work that we, as souls, crave doing and have come here to do.

At the periphery of our minds, we know that our lives mean something far bigger than our day-to-day concerns and struggles. We know there is a reason we are here. We know that we really should love our bodies, and yet so, so many of us hate our bodies or dislike key aspects of our physiques. So many of us, particularly women, struggle with the body and suffer, truly suffer over how our bodies look, measure up, or perform. Men have this affliction, too, but women. Oh, women. We are largely miserable creatures when it comes to the body. Women are so hard on themselves and by proxy, other women. It does not help that we have these plastic, air-brushed, and computer-manipulated images of “perfect bodies” barraging us from every flat surface.

We, as a species, so dislike the body that we have thousands, maybe millions, of industries devoted to altering, reducing, beautifying, and fixing it. Everything from drastic, brutal methods, such as compulsive exercise, plastic surgery, liposuction, and chemical peels to the less-severe skin and hair treatments, adornment, and concealing clothing. We so dislike our bodies that we mostly will not show what “real bodies” actually look like in advertising, films, art, and other media. This is, thankfully shifting in recent years, but we, for the most part, honor bodies that are not real or representative of the vast majority. We honor the seamless, the young, the endlessly underfed and photo-shopped aliens who peer placidly from the pages of fashion magazines and reality TV shows. So, when your body does not follow the socially agreed-upon convention of beauty, what then? You begin to despise it and this happens at a very early age in this culture.

I really believe that most people want to feel better, happier, more centered, balanced, and loving. Falling in love with your body is an excellent way to increase positive thoughts and emotions. Falling in love with your body is a perfect way to live a richer, happier, and more loving existence. It’s not easy to get there, but loving your body and honoring its needs, rhythms, messages, and life apart from you, the consciousness inhabiting it, is a delicious way to get deeper into why you are here as a human being. I argue that mankind cannot advance to his greatest potential without a healthy love or respect for the body.

So, how does one do this? Start small. Following are three ways to start falling obnoxiously in love with your body.

  • Start with your thoughts and beliefs. Think about the beliefs, thoughts, and ideas that you have about your body. Where did these opinions come from and who influenced your ideas about the body? Think about your shape, fitness, and health. Are you happy when you think of your body or less than joyous? What are you wanting from your body that you do not have now? Think about it. Then, you can try sitting down and writing it all out. Write down how you feel about your body and how you want to feel. Do this so you can create a dialog with yourself and get comfortable thinking about your beliefs. Our beliefs hugely influence the way that we look. Yes, genetics plays a role and also environmental factors, but nothing affects the body greater than thought. If you can get to a place where you can more quickly pin-point an idea that does not serve you, you can change it.
  • Understand that our cultural ideas about beauty have nothing to do with reality. I’m sorry, but women have cellulite. Women make babies. It’s a fact of life. We need some pudge. We need curves. Whoever came along and decided that cellulite was ugly and had to be air-brushed out probably had body issues, but that doesn’t mean that we have to accept this opinion. Nor do we have to shame our bodies because they don’t measure up to some false ideal of beauty. That is a choice that many of us make, but we can change it. Bodies are varied and multi-faceted and miraculous. Bodies serve us in the exact dimensions that we need in order to expand as spiritual beings. Sometimes those bodies need to be big and dense and sometimes small and light. It takes all kinds of bodies to make all of this living work. So, realize that the opinions we are being fed by way of the media are simply opinions of others, are to be heavily questioned, and do not have to be accepted.
  • Realize that you are an electromagnetic being and a powerful creator here in this body. Your body is vital to the process of your expansion. The body is doing exactly what you have commanded of it by way of your thoughts and behaviors. If you continually crab about the shape of your body guess what you are concentrating on through your attention—the current shape of your body. This focus on the negative disallows any number of other realities of which your body is capable, because you are focused, with your thinking, on the problem, not the solution. Try instead to sit quietly for five to ten minutes per day and think of all the things that you appreciate about your current body. Send your body loving thoughts. Maybe you like your toned arms. Well, tell your body that. Maybe you love your skin. Tell that to your body. Have a discussion with your body. Ask it what it wants and needs. Even if you do not “hear” anything in response, know that you are creating bridges of understanding between your consciousness and your body and its particular consciousness. Be willing to listen and this will create huge openings inside of you. You will start to feel better, slowly, but surely.

This is what I know: all of us can change our minds and learn to love our bodies. We have ultimate power and control over what we think, feel, and how we react to life’s circumstances. All of us can decide to change our thinking and thus, our beliefs about our bodies (or any topic). We do not have to hate or be critical of our bodies. We can choose love and appreciation. If we choose to facilitate a deeper love and respect for our bodies, lots of positive things will result. The most important of them: you feel better and you have more happiness. Consider falling madly in love with your body just as it is and see how your life unfolds. Just watch the universe mirror that love and appreciation back to you.