What was a complete waste of time and has now been debunked as not being a path to sustainable healthy living?
You and me and the “f___ that”
All about our relationship with our bodies and finding some moments of freedom.
There are no mirrors in this room
Only me, only you
It’s a nice room
We are staring at ourselves
Not with our eyes
But with our past and our present
Today we see tight
Cotton or elastic or polyester or linen
Belted around our belly
Strapped around our hips
Twisted around our legs
We see thighs rubbing together
We see bumps on our back
We grab at whatever is there
Between our fingers
Our mountains of what?
Our mountains of what does that feel like?
Does it feel like hate
From my brain
A pinpricked heat
To my mountains
Do you feel this too?
We talk about them
About them saying
Do this or do that
They say schedule it
Learn to love it
Don’t fat it
Don’t carb it
Carb it a bit
Look like this
Look like that
So you can look down
They have said a lot
We have said a lot
We learned the language
And that’s ok
We want to shine
But we don’t feel shiny
They are not in this room
There’s only me, only you
You look at me
I look at you
I turn on the music
In jumps and whoops
Now we see loose
Cotton or elastic or polyester or linen
Free around our belly
Flowing around our hips
Liberated around our legs
Massaging whatever is there
Between our fingers
Our lush valleys of what?
Our lush valleys or what does it feel like?
Does it feel like
Our heart is beating primitive
Or circulating air
Or silky hot blood
Or singing skin?
Is there is rushing from your body
To your brain
Of gentle sunlight
Falling down your cheeks
Through your past and present
Ravishing you in acceptance
So let’s be this
Let’s stay here for a while
You and me and the fuck that.
Freedom to be in your body.
Whether you say it aloud or quietly to yourself. It’s such a wonderfully powerful word. Freeing us from people and ideas and beliefs that only a moment ago held us captive. “Fuck that!” It’s almost alchemical in its power to dissipate drama and bring us closer to what is really true and what we really want for ourselves.
Looking at our bodies and seeing only what “shouldn’t” be there. The little spill of flesh over too tight clothes that used to fit or one day might fit. The belly that protrudes, announcing to the world that we are not in control, the protrusion of our pain pushed through clothes in its vulnerable seeming failure.
The energy rush of shame from brain to body as we audit, notice and morbidly hold these pieces of ourselves that protrude beyond the mainstream moulding within which our bodies are supposed to be contained.
Here’s a process to move beyond it. A little gift to yourself. 30 min. Well worth it.
Slow it down a moment now and be with your own body. Take a breath and feel that breath expand your lungs. Gently, lovingly, run your hands over your whole body – your chest, your belly, your shoulders, your back as far as you can reach, your legs and hips, your neck, face and head. Light and loving touches.
And now, even while you are owning your body, touching it lightly with love, notice the other voice, the critical voice. It might belong to your Mum or an old boyfriend or the mean girl at school or the magazine police. What is that voice saying about your body?
Now, shake it off, literally, stand up take a deep breath and shake it out like your do in gym class or used to do in primary school “Music and Movement” sessions. Shake it out. It’s their voice, their trapped, their pain, not yours. The boyfriend not yet a man or able to make his own decisions and discover and stand by his own desires, the mother unwittingly passing her fears and failures down the line, the insecure journalists writing to perpetuate an industry that makes money only to the degree that we all feel insecure also. These are the voices in your head. Tell them to go take a lunch break. Enough, you are quite over them for now.
OK, as an interim step (and we will do much better than this), but as an interim step I want you to stand in front of a mirror and make a realistic assessment of your body. No judgement or critical words, just simple facts. You must start with something you like about your body. Each time you have recorded something you like about your body, you may add something you feel insecure or unhappy about.
Use all your senses as you uncover the good stuff – the feeling of the skin in the hollow of your neck or the smell of your freshly washed hair, or the strength in your leg muscles as you climb stairs or the ease in your body as you stretch out lazily on a weekend morning. When you write your second list, keep it simple and as factual as you can. This is a time for noticing and accepting, not adding to self-hating.
Feel free to keep going with the good stuff once you have run out of the insecure stuff.
|I like these things about my body
|I struggle to accept and love these things about my body
|Here’s some to get you started:
Warm soft skin of my belly
The feeling of the curve of my waist
Running my fingers across the delicate skin over my collarbone
My large fulsome breasts
My clear, strong eyes
|Here’s some to get you started:
My belly keeps being too big for my jeans to fit like they used to
The fat on my back gets scrunched in by my bra
Now let’s talk about the stuff we’ve all done over the years to make that second list go away. The diets, the strictness, the controlling the natural flow of self from the outside, rather than listening to what’s needed from the inside. And the incessant magazines with their latest lists of what is wrong with our bodies followed by their latest list of what we need to do about it. And there’ll be a new problem and a new solution to sell the September issue.
What have you learned that continues to prove itself true and to work for you in looking and feeling healthy?
What pieces of wisdom about body, mind, health and wellbeing have you discovered for yourself along the way, wisdom pieces you would share with a group of teenagers in a personal development class, if you ever had the chance?
Now read over the wisdom above and take it in. Read it to yourself. You might like to record your words on your phone and play them back with your eyes closed, letting each idea, each piece of wisdom work on you. Breathe deeply, feel how these words of wisdom land in your own body. Notice where you have full acceptance. Notice any places of resistance. Notice them and love them.
And now we are going to change it up.
Because bodies have their own wisdom and sometimes we have to move them and activate them, in order to activate their wisdom.
If you are feeling joyful start here …
If you are with a friend, put on your favourite ever dance track or your favourite just right now track and dance silly. Dance past all the rules about how you should look or move. Dance your own personal “fuck you” to the rules and judgements, dance and make space for the wild and free in you, coax her out, call her out, let her know she’s needed at the party.
Maybe you have done similar things before and that’s OK. Here’s a little window in your day to connect back in and create your day from an even more loving, free and connected place.
If you’re feeling soft start here ….
You might want to start slow on the floor, down low, where very little effort is required and you can feel the support of the ground beneath you. Close your eyes if you like. Breathe in and let your body move in small way as it needs to from the inside. No choosing, deciding or forcing, just allowing. Be really conscious with your whole body – where does it ache, where is it close, where is it buzzy with energy and now what is the stretch, the movement that would bring greatest pleasure. Let your body move freely from the inside for a time. This is your time. A little time out to connect into the most beautiful and powerful thing … you.
If you’re feeling angsty or edgy start here …
Clear some space around you, so you can move freely without hurting yourself. Just start to move, anyway you like, walk around in circles, march on the spot, turn around in a circle and once you have started, let your body show you what is next. No-one is watching, so let your body show you the stretch or the shake or the dance move that will bring you the greatest pleasure right now. And if there is a sound that goes with it, allow that sound to be released now too. No rules, no goals, just listening from the inside, feeling into what is going to feel good in your body, the release or the movement that your body wants and then allow that movement. That’s all. Simple.
Words from the wise, old and kind.
Now, as you are moving and dancing, imagine you are dancing by a fire outside, wild movements, laughter, crying and sighing. After a time, when you are spent, you take a break. You sit on a rock. A woman comes and sits with you. She is older than you, deep and wise. She is so present and all-seeing that it’s a shock at first to notice. But you do notice. And you see kindness in her eyes like you’ve never known before. This woman has seen a lot of life and through it simply vibrates with kind seeing of the truth of all things.
She speaks to you of the beauty of your body, of how it looks, of what it can do, of how it can make you feel, of the capacity for pleasure and love inherent within it.
You listen and each word drops as truth, settling at different points within you as diamond drops of truth, in your belly, your heart and the seeing place behind your eyes.
Take it in, hear it, receive is as truth in the deepest parts of your being. Feel these drops of intelligent heart vibrate within you. Take some time just to feel it, be with it, integrate it.
When you are ready, record the wisdom, to play back later – with spoken word on your phone, with a selfie of the image on your face, with a drawing of the woman or the diamonds, with some words below that were spoken.