There’s just no other way to say it – your body has been gifted to you to live in, move, experience life through. It’s a gift.
February is Self-Care and Self-Love Month. Here’s an idea:
Start really noticing what you’re allowing in…
Not so very long ago, I loved fashion magazines. (I know it’s hard to believe because I look like a sweaty mess most of the time, but I love fashion.) But I started noticing that sometimes I felt crappy after looking at the magazines. I somehow felt…not enough or less than when I exposed myself to them.
So, I stopped reading those magazines.
I don’t seek out stuff that triggers my ‘less-thans’ (fitness sites, social media, some people’s websites, fashion magazines, RHO___.)
I especially avoid them on those those days when I just feel a little poopy. On those days, I make sure that what I’m putting in supports the whole of me – feeds the real and essential me.
Also, consider dropping the stuff that agitates you and pisses you off. Politics get you all wound up? Maybe step slowly away, or control your intake. Maybe start blocking people in your feed that keep posting disturbing things.
Start noticing the crap that makes you feel like crap and serve as the gatekeeper for your own beautiful self.
You’re worth it.
The first time I saw this…I wept. The biggest gift of self-love we can give is to set down the battering stick that we use on our bodies.
Our bodies are miracles. They hold us up, move us around, allow us to express and receive love. They heal us, allow us to feel, and think.
We are. YOU ARE a miracle wrapped in beautiful package.
Make peace. Spend the energy that you’d normally spend on flagellating yourself, loving yourself.
You are so worth this gift.
I had a colleague ask this week for some suggestions about the weight around her middle. You have to understand, when I look at her she is strong – beautiful – amazing. So that she was asking me reminded me…
We all question our bodies.
And it’s NO WONDER. We’re being fed these crazy images of emaciated women being the norm. It makes every normal-sized woman question themselves.
Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, but my actual giving a crap about what people expect me to look like is taking a nosedive. Most of the time I’m pretty much digging the skin I’m in.
Is that what it takes? Age? Did it just take me turning 47 to stop giving an actual F&*K? Worrying and fretting about how toned my arms are and that my butt is genetically the size of Nebraska? Does it take turning 47 to start enjoying life instead of obsessing about every.little.thing. I put in my mouth?
Do my poor daughters have to doubt their amazingness and their incredible beauty for 40 years? Do they have to question how incredible and strong their amazing bodies are for 40 years? Do they have to wonder what incredible gifts they are to this planet for 40 years?
My God I hope not.
Your body is a gift – to be cherished and adored and celebrated. It is a wonderful machine that does most of the things that you ask of it. It should be washed in gratitude and loved fully.
When you wonder? Look at what you can do. When you doubt? Hug yourself tightly and remember that the whole of you is a gift. Your machine is a gift.
Replace the awful, punishing words we use on ourselves with love, kindness, tenderness, care. Wash yourself in self-compassion, self-delight, self-love, self-celebration.
Don’t wait for 40 years. I beg you.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how aging gives you a different perspective. Back when I was young I was more concerned with “What do I look like?” And now, as a middle-aged woman I am more concerned with, “How do I feel?”
But vanity doesn’t escape me. I’m getting ready to take my daughter to a ball. I pulled out my trusty full-length classic black CK from when I used to need such things. Ten+ years ago…
And let’s just say that things have changed.
It fits (wildly proud of this) but it’s…different.
Since I last wore the dress to black tie fundraisers and the Emmy’s…I’ve had two children and gotten older. My skin is different. My body is different. I’m different.
My first reaction to it was OH.MY.GOD.!!!!!!!
My second reaction to it was to start looking on the internet for Spanx.
About a half an hour into looking at various ‘support’ options…I started writing a post to my mommy group here in Saint Paul. I knew they’d hold me gently as I embraced the idea that I was going to have to buy some Spanx. Then…it turned into this blog. Because I realized that I wasn’t the only one to war with this decision.
I love myself. I love where I am. I love my beautiful body. It’s not perfect, but it suits me. And everything I stand for as a trainer is all about loving on your sweet self.
So isn’t buying Spanx kind of buying into the idea that I have to look a different way?
I think so. So I stepped slowly away from the girdles and support wear.
I need to think on this, but I’m not sure if I can get around buying it…it buys into something that makes me sad. That I need to suck it all in and be a certain way in order to be beautiful. And…that’s bullshit. I’m just right as I am.
Now…ask me again when I put the dress on to take my girl to the ball…I might have a crazed visit to the department store. But for now…I’m going to sit with it. I’m going to sit with the idea that I’m perfect as I am.
And so are you.
Last month, I was asked tto speak at a church. This has, in the past, been a very stressful ask for me – standing in front of people and exposing your most vulnerable insides is really scary. But this time, I was asked if I would preach about what I do. What I care about. What my work is all about. When do we ever get an opportunity to preach our passion? To share what we believe to be true with people you care about? So…here you go. If you’d rather listen to it, you can click here.
God is in the Body
The title of today’s sermon is from a bit of today’s Gospel from John – “Joy Made Complete in Themselves”
It’s Easter season still and it’s a wonderful time –SPRING- to take look at Easter in a new way. How can we bring this story into our own lives? Instead of looking at the death and resurrection of Jesus…let’s look at our own beautiful selves, our own beautiful bodies…LIVING in our own beautiful bodies. Resurrecting our connection with this magnificent gift that we have been given.
I start today with a quote from Barbara Brown Taylor – An Altar in the World: ‘The Practice of Wearing Skin, “I’m not sure when Christian tradition lost confidence in the body, but I have some guesses. Although Jesus was a Jew, many of his earliest interpreters were Greeks, who divided body and soul in ways that he did not. Descartes did not help matters by opposing nature and reason in his philosophy. Then along came the Protestant Reformation, with its deep suspicion of physical pleasure, followed by Freud’s dark insights into human sexuality. Add to that the modern scientific reduction of the body to biological matter, overlaid by Victoria’s Secret ads, and it is small wonder that so many of us are uncomfortable in our flesh. Yet here we sit, with our souls tucked away in this marvelous luggage, mostly insensible to the ways in which every spiritual practice begins with the body. Where Christians are concerned, this leaves us in the peculiar position of being followers of the Word Made Flesh who neglect our own flesh or – worse – who treat our bodies with shame and scorn.”
I also read something from yogi Donna Farhi’s book, “The Breathing Book” and she said, “Many of us feel ourselves disconnected from our bodies, often having no more familiarity with the physical frame that carries us than with a remote distant cousin.”
How do you feel about your body?
How do you feel in your body?
Do you wish it were different?
Do you pay any attention to it?
Or do you feel like it is a remote distant cousin?
The body – your body – is always speaking to you. It tells you the obvious things like, “I have to pee” to “My neck is sore from sleeping funny.” It tells you when you’re hungry and when you have an itch.
But it also, if you pay closer attention, speaks your feelings to you physically. Tension from stress. Hot and sweaty from anger – or passion. Exhausted from sadness or depression. Shining from joy and laughter.
The body is a miracle. It is your miracle. Every day your body steadfastly does a zillion functions without you having to think about it. Breathing. Digesting. Hormone balancing. Moving. Seeing. Thinking. Sensing.
It’s a miraculous thing this body. Tell me, why do you think it is that we ignore this gift? Why do we not inhabit our bodies? Why do we disconnect from this miracle, feeling thing? Continue reading →
I like it when three completely different things present themselves to you as gifts from the Universe and they all illustrate the same thing in different ways.
First thing – A conversation with my neighbor Joan. We were talking about our parents getting older and how difficult that is for us to see. For each of us the takeaway was to MOVE AS MUCH AS WE CAN, WHILE WE CAN.
Second thing – I’m at the gym in the changing room and the beautiful women of the Water Aerobics are drying off and naked. And most of them are senior citizens. They are laughing and seemingly at home and content in their bodies. They are beautiful. They are fit. I admire them. I want to be like them when I grow up.
Third thing – a woman came to my class. Lovely, strong, full of life. She is living with Multiple Sclerosis. And when I asked the class to run down a hill, she wept. She wept because she used to be able to run down hills, and now she can’t. Now, with a determined look on her face, she concentrates on her balance and she walks down that hill. This woman was a runner, a mountain climber, a MOVER. She grieves the loss of ability in her body, and yet pushes herself to do her very best in what she CAN do.
We spend a lot of energy….wait, no, we WASTE a lot of energy disliking our bodies and wishing that they were different. So much energy wasted despising, wishing, working, coveting, loathing….
And here’s the deal people. It’s all going south. For each and every one of us eventually….it’s all going south. Eventually the skin sags around the muscle and things loosen up. Unless you are going to get a body lift (is there even such a thing?) it’s coming for all of us…
So when are we going to love ourselves? Love this shell that we’ve been given that holds our beautiful selves? Take care of it, move it, stretch it…but moreover – be grateful that we CAN do what we do.
If we take a wider view of our beautiful selves…not so myopic on our bellies, butts, jiggly arms, sagging jowels and zoomed out a bit. Maybe we could see how lovely we are as a whole. How nice it is to be right where we are…right here, right now.
Love the body you’re in. It’s part of wellness. Let go of the blaming, shaming, self-disgust, frustration. Embrace love, admiration, celebration and delight.
Please. And please stop letting marketing and sales geniuses define what beautiful is. It’s crap. Healthy? Yes. Eating well because it contributes to your wellness? Yes. Moving because it makes you feel good inside and out? Yes. But dieting yourself into submission because people say that’s what size you ‘should’ be? No. Working out obsessively because you want to look like xyz? No.
It’s all going south people.
Until then. Love your beautiful selves. Be grateful. Delight in yourself. Focus on health and wellness. Spread love around to others….and to yourself.