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Category Archives: Health

Mercy

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Edvard Munch: “Death and the Child”

Most people say “When my time comes, I don’t want to be hooked up to machines! Pull the plug, just let me die!” Oh, but it is not that easy when you, as the family member, have to make the decision for your loved one. In my case, my father.

To treat or not to treat? It is a gut-wrenching, sleep-depriving, desperation grasping, doubt-filled, guilt-ridden nightmare. It’s the Serenity Prayer incarnate.

Sometimes, death doesn’t stare you in the face and take charge. Sometimes death dares you to dig deep down beyond your own existence, beyond everything you thought you knew. Sometimes death calls bullshit on your spiritual capacity to allow, surrender, and trust. Sometimes death turns you into a terrified child lost at the department store, worried she will never-ever go home again or see her parent’s face, or feel their embrace. Sometimes, death just sits back, and watches you writhe, like an earthworm in the dry daylight, as you wrestle with your humanness.

And then there is the one who breathes an inconsistent breath, whose fate is in your hands. And all you can offer is the the most tender mercy that arises from a place beyond the psyche and without words.

2/26/2016

The Gifts of Darkness: An Invitation for Self-Care and Connection

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Image by Catherine Hyde

Image by Catherine Hyde

During the Winter Solstice we experience the shortest day and longest night of the year. This time of extended darkness (the longest of the year) can bring about mixed feelings depending on your situation. For some, having longer nights brings about little disruption to daily life. However for others, this time can brings discomfort on many levels.  In either case, the Winter Solstice can serve as a time to ground and honor where we have been, and where we would like to go.

Darkness of all sorts serves a purpose. Seasonally, the darkness allows for rest and rejuvenation. Emotionally, the darkness can facilitate a stillness we can harness to turn inwards, dream, connect, and reflect. Like the plants that feed on the sun’s energy, so do we need a break from the light. This break brings about balance, rest, and an opportunity for deep connection to ourselves. Dreams are born here in this place of darkness. The Winter Solstice becomes an invitation to access these gifts that darkness brings by taking a pause, turning inward, reflecting on what is, and birthing dreams of what can be.

The day after the Winter Solstice, we begin to see longer days, and shorter nights. We slowly begin to feel more of the sun’s light and energy allowing us to move forward from our dream state. In these days after the Winter Solstice, we can be in the planning stage of manifesting our newborn dreams, and begin to take action on bringing them to light.

I also like to think of this time as a reminder that, no matter how dark our days, there is the promise of light. When in the darkness, it can be hard to imagine anything different. However nature always serves as a living example of how life works.

If time allows, I invite you to take this opportunity to connect with yourself, especially if you are about to step into holiday festivities where you will be surrounded by family and/or friends. A moment of connection in any manner (prayer, mediation, silence, journaling, etc.) is a beautiful way to practice self-care as it can really help ground you before stepping into relationships with others. The added bonus is: others then get the best you available.

If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, this year’s Winter Solstice will be on December21 or 22 (for your exact day/time go to: http://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/winter-solstice.html).

Here are some suggestions on ways to acknowledge the Winter Solstice and connect with yourself:

 Simple Activities:

  • Make a big pot of soup rich with grounding vegetables (i.e. potatoes, carrots and other root vegetables) and warm spices. If possible, eat early

  • Drink warm liquids, ideally something sweet, spicy and grounding like chai

  • If you have a fireplace, light a fire and spend time in prayer, mediation, or silence

  • Light those special candles you have been saving (use fire-safe precautions)

  • Spend time in contemplation through journaling, drawing, or other creative outlet. Explore your year and write down what you’d like to see in the new year.

  • Hang an evergreen wreath on your door (evergreens are a symbol of protection, prosperity, renewal, and the continuation of life)

 Rituals:

 Intention Setting Ritual:

  1. Clear the space by smudging sage, or by noise through clapping or ringing a bell 3 times.

  2. In silence, settle into your body by taking a deep breath in and exhale slowly.

  3. Allow yourself to let go of the day’s thoughts and worries.

  4. Ask yourself, “What do I want to manifest in the next six months?”

  5. When you have several intentions, write them down on small pieces of paper.

  6. As these intentions come into being, place them into a container. In 6 months, open your container to review what dreams you manifested.

You can also do this ritual at every New Moon and collect manifested dreams throughout the year. At the end of the year, open your container to review what dreams you manifested.

 Releasing Ceremony:

This ceremony is best done out doors, or indoors using a fireplace. An indoor option is also offered in the instructions.

  1. Light a fire outdoors in a grill or fire pit, or use an indoor fireplace.

  2. Light candles and clear the space by smudging sage, or by noise through clapping or ringing a bell 3 times.

  3. In silence, settle into your body by taking a deep breath in and exhale slowly.

  4. Allow yourself to let go of the day’s thoughts and worries.

  5. Ask yourself, “What do I want to release? What does not serve me?” This can include habits or patterns that get in the way of manifesting your intentions.

  6. On small pieces of paper write down what you want to release. At the end of each item write “Be Gone!”

  7. Read each item out loud (or to yourself silently) and toss them, one by one, into the fire. If indoors you can use a fireplace, use s shredder, or cut into small pieces using scissors.

  8. Give gratitude for new beginnings and the light that is on its way.

 Welcoming the Light Ceremony:

  1. Place one large unlit candle at the center of the table, and several smaller unit candles (such a tea light candles) near you.

  2. Turn off all the lights and spend a moment in darkness, as a symbol of honoring the gifts of darkness and welcoming the light.

  3. Light the large candle and offer a blessing.

  4. One by one, light each small candle from the main flame and place each one in a circle or spiral around the main one.

  5. When all candles are lit, give gratitude for new beginnings and the light that is on its way.

Are you a woman who would you like deeper, more personalized guidance in letting go of what no longer serves you, and bringing in more of what you do want into your life? I offer 1:1 coaching programs designed to help women release emotional blocks, and step into their power and voice. To apply go to: http://www.medicinanepantla.com/#!strategy-session-request/s57j1

Colposcopy Pains: What I Wish I Would Have Done

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This post is going to talk about gynecology stuffs, specifically: the colposcopy. If you don’t want to know about this fucked up vagina procedure, feel free to skip, or better yet, pass this on to someone who you love who has a vagina.

A colposcopy is done when your have an abnormal pap smear that warrants a closer look. It is a way to screen for precancerous or cancerous cells. A colposcopy truly can turn physically and emotionally painful quickly, and the emotional roller-coaster that can follow is real. I have had two colposcopies before, both yielding no further action. However the one I had today was a worse experience than the other two. Then again, maybe I have some kind of post-colposcopy amnesia that keeps me from running in the opposite direction of the gyno’s office. This is partly why I am writing this post; so that maybe – just maybe – I will take my own advice should I (better not) have to do this procedure again. Mostly I hope this information helps you be better prepared for a colposcopy in the event that you need one.

My vagina is hard to put a speculum into. At 42 it’s drier and, even with lube, my doctor had to try three different speculums before finding the one that wouldn’t cause me too much pain and help her see what she needed to. Even then, she had to take the speculum out, and re-insert it twice because the walls of my vagina kept pushing in. Because my vagina was being stubborn, this colposcopy lasted much longer than usual. I’ve heard most sources say the procedure takes around 5-10 minutes, but mine felt like it took 15-20 minutes. The pinching and prodding felt worse as time went by. I was nauseous, felt like I needed to go to the bathroom, and kept cramping. Every poke and pinch shot increasing pain through my body and towards the last 10 minutes I started crying ( I seriously told myself I wouldn’t cry this time). The pain was getting worse and I had a huge flood of painful emotions coming up. I felt helpless, ashamed, and angry. I wanted to love my body so much, and felt like somehow I betrayed it but having to go through this.

By the end I was dizzy and wobbly. It took me a little longer to get up off the table and get dressed. I felt like a wreak. The loneliness was still there overall I just felt icky. Thankfully I was given a pad for the inevitable bleeding that was to immediately follow. As I left the doctor’s office I dreaded going to work, I was emotionally raw, still in pain, and just wanted to lie down and hug my cervix. It’s been 8 hours and I am still feeling waves of pain on my cervix.

Looking back, here is what I wish I would have done.

  • Taken a Benzodiazepine. I have a prescription for Ativan that I use for significant anxiety. I don’t use it often but I sure could have used it this morning. I was so nervous, as I knew from past experience, that a colposcopy is painful. I’m not much of a talker, but I was quite the chatty Cathy with the physician’s assistant (who was a total love). I noticed it was hard for me to relax when the speculum was being inserted, which made the whole procedure more painful, and take longer.
  • Brought a friend. Something about this procedure leaves me feeling so scared and alone (even with a patient doctor and comforting physician’s assistant). I wish I would have brought the most compassionate person I know to be with me and hold my hand through the whole thing. Never underestimate the power of a safe compassionate presence. Plus, having someone to drive home would have been super nice.
  • Taken time off. I had the procedure done first thing in the morning, and I wish I would have taken the morning or day off. I was light-headed, sore, and walking slowly. Being able to lay in bed and drink hot tea would have been a great way to practice self-care.
  • Read this blog postSeriously. Her honesty and humor feel comforting to me now, and if I would have read the post BEFORE the procedure this morning, I would have done all of what I listed above.

Even if your vagina isn’t as stubborn as mine, a colposcopy is generally painful. I hope this information prepares you for the procedure. Many hugs to you!

Note: I do not have a sexual trauma history and have never had an abortion. If this is a part of your history, I highly recommend ramping up on support people and measures when having a colposcopy. The experience of having someone causing you pain in your vagina and not being able to make it stop can trigger strong feelings and memories of being violated and/or having painful vaginal procedures. Talk to your doctor before you schedule your colposcopy to see if they have any additional recommendations.

Stepping Into Body Love

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Every few years I grown into a new awareness, and as a result, a new self. Reconnecting with my Mexican and Indigenous heritage in my early 20’s, becoming vegan in my early 30’s, and growing into my spiritual and mental health in my late 30’s are all major turning points of growth and reconnection that have helped me to become more whole. Now, there is another layer that I am growing into. Specifically the ability to truly love my body.

In 2013 I became familiar with Jes Baker’s blog and I immediately knew it was the beginning of a much needed layer of healing for me. I knew that fat advocacy had been around for a long time, however, I was so deep in my shame about my own body that I saw subscribing to fat advocacy as giving up.

I was a chubby baby who grew into a fat kid, and eventually became a chunky teenager. I didn’t eat abnormally large amount of food, and I was as active as any kid around me. Foods like chips, soda, candy bars, and fast food were not a part of my daily or regular life as a kid. My food and lifestyle was healthy, yet I carried extra weight easily.

Growing up I was constantly teased about my body. This teasing came from family, friends, classmates, people in my neighborhood, and strangers. It was a daily nightmare that had me hating walking into a room at an early age. I learned early on that my body fat and my mere existence was ugly, unacceptable, and a target for jokes.

In my early adulthood my self-esteem was wrapped in my body image, and both were pretty low and unhealthy. I lost and gained several pounds and at one point I maintained a substantial weight-loss for 5 years. I thought I had my fat body beat. I was the Scarlett O’Hara of weight loss exclaiming, “As God as my witness, I will never be fat again!”

Then the weight crept back. Now, I didn’t get lazy about my “health routine” and begin to gain weight. No, I was working hard at the gym 5 days week for 1.5 hours a day, hiking and running 2 days a week, and counting every calorie, fat, sugar, and carb gram. So when the weight crept up, I freaked out. The harder I fought back with increased exercise and stricter eating habits, the more my fat fought to claim it’s place all over my body. I followed the regimens of fitness trainers, nutritionist, and lifestyle coaches yet the weight on the scale, and my jean sizes crept up. I couldn’t exercise any more or eat any less. I was exhausted and decided to stop fighting. I felt like a failure. No. I believed I was a failure, and I have been dragging that burden around ever since.

It was only after my emotional and spiritual healing journey had begun that I was able to open up to the concept of body love.

Becoming familiar with Jes Baker opened up a whole world to me that I was finally ready to accept. I learned about other amazing women who have been paving the way for body love. Slowly but surely I have been learning what it means to love my body and focus on my health instead of my weight.

I have recently finished reading the book “Health at Every Size” by Linda Bacon, PhD. I know I am quite late to the party, and there are people who have their criticisms of the book and HAES philosophy. However I have gained so much from reading this book I can’t help but acknowledge how it has benefitted me.

Having a background in mindfulness, I absorbed the information of being present with my body, listening to it, and tuning into it’s response to hunger, stress, emotional and physical needs, and food. I was surprised to notice how I truly didn’t feel how full I was until an hour after I ate. I also learned that only a few bites of something sweet was usually enough to satisfy a craving.

It has been an interesting few months, as I have been steering this brain around to understand that my weight is not the focus, but rather, my health. It’s also been hard to be patient, be kind, and be forgiving. Yes, there are many days where I go unconscious and eat more that I need to, and yet there are more days than in the past were I lose a craving after I check-in with my body.

Being patient with body changes is hard for me, since I am use to doing extreme measures to achieve fast weight-loss. Luckily, as the weeks go by I notice a new healthy habit which strengthens my faith in being patient. Recently I noticed that my critical voice isn’t as intense as it use to be. A kinder, more patient and observing voice in present now. This helps me to see my life experiences from an observers perspective. Instead of “See?!? You screwed up again!”, I hear “Well, isn’t that interesting? What am I learning about that?” Every choice I make is no longer a definition of my worth, it is data. Information that can help me understand me and my body better.

Will I Hate My Body or Love My Body?

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I attended an event last night that excited and empowered me like very few events have. Jes Baker (creator of The Militant Baker blog and many other amazing things) gave a talk at Curvy Girl Lingerie in San Jose, CA. Her presentation wasn’t just on body acceptance or loving yourself. Her talk, Change Your World Not Your Body addressed so many angles of the body shaming issue, that a socially and psychologically conscious gal like me can’t help but soak it all in.

I learned about Jes a little over a year ago, and was smitten by her bold, honest, creative, and positive energy. She touches on various aspects of body love and includes every body in the discussion, understanding than people of varying body sizes, abilities, and genders are pretty much fighting the same battle of body shame. She, and other women, dare us to see body acceptance as a means to revolutionize society.

I have been to many different types of conferences before, but I had never been to a conference that focuses on body issues or body acceptance before. It’s a topic I have shied away from due to my own shame. I believed that if I went to a fat acceptance event, then I would, well, have to accept my fatness. However Jes Baker’s approach to the subject has helped me see the negative impacts of having this shame, and normalized it. Last night, she posed the question that I didn’t even know I was asking myself: “Will I hate my body or love my body?”

As a bonus, I also met Vergie Tovar, who is currently rockin’ my world big time. If you don’t know about her, you need to. She is all the cute, smart, funny, fun and  gorgeous.

There are so many topics I can go into based on last night experience that I feel I need to highlight significant take-always now and go into these and other topics separately in future posts. So here it goes.

~FAT

The word itself is loaded. The emotional reaction I get from the word is painful and long-standing. For years I have tried to own this word, but fell short of truly embracing it. After last night, I can now say, I AM FAT! Wait, what? Duh! Everyone else knows I’m fat. Am I that late to the party? ¿Que nuevas?

I now realize that, throughout my life I have allowed everyone else to define what my body means to me. I avoided the F word out of the fear of what others have decided the word fat means. Specifically: ugly, undesirable, wrong, lazy, gross, etc.  What is new for me about saying I AM FAT is that I am finally owning the word fat and deciding what it means for me. For now, what fat means for me includes: I am human, I have a body, a body that takes up space, a body that works, a body that demands attention, a body that stirs up emotions and reactions,  a body that is bountiful. My body is only a part of who I am and it has things to tell me. I get to decide how I relate to my body. As most things go, what fat means to me will change over time, and at all times, I get to decide it’s meaning. So yeah. I’m a fatty fat fat and love every part of me, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

~I SAW ME

On the daily I would see my reflection in a window and cringe. I would sigh and feel shame. I would see everything I thought was wrong with me. My short legs, my wide body, my broad shoulders, my round stomach. I saw my failure as a human being.

Sitting among more than 25 women of varying larger sizes for 2.5 hours was life changing. I noticed how everyone chose to dress their bodies, their topics of conversations, and overall presence. In Jes’ presentation, she mentions neuroplasticity and the power of exposing ourselves to more diverse body shapes regularly as a way to bolster our own body love. This is crucial as we are purposefully bombarded with non-realistic images of bodies and, despite knowing better, believe that these are what “perfect” bodies should look like. Well, let me tell you, being exposed to bodies similar to mine, works. At the end of the night, after being in the presence of these women, I caught my reflection in the window, and for the first time, I saw me. I saw ME and for THE FIRST TIME EVER I didn’t have a knee-jerk cringe-y reaction to my big body. FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, I saw my reflection and said “Oh, hi there!” I am grateful beyond measure for this singular experience.

~TAKING UP SPACE

As a chubster, I take up space. I have slowly been trying to accept and get real comfortable with this reality, but my fear of fat kept me from being able to accept this fully. Funny thing is, being afraid of fat doesn’t make me “not fat”. Fearing fat doesn’t suddenly make me 60 pounds lighter. Instead, being afraid of (and not accepting) my fat keeps me from myself. In essence, I cancel out my own existence. Sad. Hugs.

Many of the women I was with last night took up space, owned their size, wore big bright bold patterns and form fitting clothing, short skirts, spoke honestly about real topics, and laughed loudly. There was a lot of unapologetic laughing out loud last night that I couldn’t help but feel elated. I also wondered how many of us audience members dial ourselves back for fear of taking up space. Last night, I’m glad so many decided not to.

~PHOTO ADJUSTING

I have never had the experience where, when someone took a group photo, there was a simulations group movement of self-adjusting for the photo. You know, tugging at shirts and skirts. Pulling our clothing that folded into our lonjas (fat rolls). Sitting up and finding our best pose to hide a chin or two. It was absolutely the funniest, most endearing, cutest thing ever.

Me, Virgie Tovar, Jes Baker, Dana

Me, Virgie Tovar, Jes Baker, Dana

~ EVENTS

There is an online Fat Activism Conference coming up next month with the most reasonable registration fee I’ve ever seen. Vergie and Jes will be presenting there. http://fatactivismconference.com/

The 2nd annual Body Love Conference is being planned and could use your support. http://www.bodyloveconference.com/

A “Mourning” Person. Get It?

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I have been restless all week. I usually LOVE this time change as I am a morning person and I feel like I am getting more “morning” to ease into my day. But not this year. This year I am as so restless that I know something more is going on.

This morning I decided to do some writing and in doing so, perused through some past writings for reference.  In doing so, I found this piece from August 2012. It’s all too appropriate for what’s happening with me right now.

When my brother passed away in May, a friend of mine and her son scattered flowers into the sea for him. I was so grateful for this beautiful gesture and decided that I would do the same for my brother who passed away on Monday.

Yesterday morning was my brother’s funeral, and the whole night was excruciatingly painful for me. Not only was the pain of losing this brother painful in itself, it brought back, and was compounded, with the loss of my other brother in May. I don’t remember falling asleep, but upon waking, I decided to walk to the beach, flowers in hand, to spend some time in solitude.

He loved Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World”, and as I sat on the beach, this song played in my head. “I hear babies cry, I watch them grow. They’ll learn much more than I’ll never know. And I think to myself, what a wonderful world”. I cried at the pain of losing him and my other brother. When I felt ready to, I found a spot on the shoreline and watched the waves. What happened next was an unanticipated meditation exercise.

I believe that the answers to everything can be found in nature. Nature, although imposed upon by humanity, moves and exists in rawness and truth. With all my pain, I observed what was happening as I slowly walked toward the waves.

As the cold Pacific Ocean hit my feet, I couldn’t help but feel jarred awake and into my body. I watched the ocean rush towards me and pull back into itself. As the ocean pulled back, the sand under my feet began to shift. If I stood in the same place long enough, I would lose my balance. So each time the ocean waves pulled back, I moved to a new place.

As I watched the waves come and go, and as I slowly moved to new places in the sand, I began to throw flowers, one by one, out into the ocean. I took long pauses between each flower being thrown so as to watch how the ocean interacted with it. What I noticed was that it was the calmest waves that carried the flowers furthest out. The bigger waves brought the flowers back to me. When this happened I would pick it up, walk towards the waves, and wait for a calm wave to approach before throwing it out again.

To me this was a teaching moment. The waves represent life. As life moves, one must keep moving as well. If I try to stay in one place (try to maintain the illusion of control i.e. doing things “my way”), the sands will shift from under me and I will lose my balance and fall. But if I keep moving, I stay standing, and in synch with life. The biggest waves (emotional upheaval) brings memories back. This is just how it is. It is painful, and when things have settled some, the healing takes place, and memories are carried out.

The beach has warning signs stating that there are “Changing Conditions”. This is all too true. In the midst of calm seas, a rogue wave may come (seemingly out of nowhere) and with it old memories may come. I must be with it. I must meet the wave and yield to the shifting sand as I step to new footing. This is living life in all it’s pain and beauty. Learning to be yielding and proactive.

These are the things the ocean taught me this morning, as I grieved loss.

There is something new wanting to grow in me, but in order to do so, something in me needs to die. I know this is what I am experiencing right now. I am fighting this out of fear. Fear of the pain of grieving loss, even though I know something amazing is on the other side.

Body-Mind-Spirit: A Tale of Disconnect

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First, I want to be clear that, although some of this may sound like a pity-party, it’s far from it. If you decide to read through this, you’ll see what I mean. Now let’s begin.

When I chose to live a vegan lifestyle in 2006, I felt like an outsider for the first year or so. Most people hadn’t heard the word vegan, and it took some detective work to navigate restaurants and grocery aisles. Over time this became much easier as I became familiar with products, options, and most importantly, other vegans.

As veganism gains increasing public attention, I notice that it does so, mainly from a health perspective. Most people touting veganism’s health benefits do so claiming that you will lose weight. Although this may be true for many people, this was definitely not the case for me. My weight has always been an issue for me, and continued to be so after going vegan. Talk about feeling like an outsider among outsiders.

This experience resulted in feeling a complex mash-up of emotions including: Guilt, fear, anger, and sadness. Each time I read about someone claiming the amazing weight loss they’ve experienced from going vegan, I felt like a failure. I wondered what I was doing wrong. I wondered if people doubted my being vegan with thoughts of “she must be sneaking in dairy”. I also believed that I was a bad representation of veganism. Oh this mind of mine can spin, but I also know that I’m not far off the mark here. This society fat-shames and objectifies women. Add veganism to the mix, and you have a setting prime for being picked apart.

Now, weight itself is no stranger to me. I was a chubby baby, who grew into a fat kid, and chubby teenager. Growing up, I had no safe place to go. Home, school the neighborhood, family members houses, birthday parties, everywhere I went, people felt the need to reference my weight. “Hey fatso” (chubbo, tub of lard, butter ball, etc.) What 5 year old can defend themself from such verbal abuse from adults and peers? If I became visibly hurt, some adults would say “I’m just kidding”, but a child’s brain can’t discern such semantics. A child’s brain understands things literally. Children also learn who they are by what adults’ project onto them. I wondered what I did wrong, and why I was so “fucked up”. Where were the adults who were supposed to protect me? As years passed, this mindset would manifest in many ways. One of which was the cycle of self-abuse known as dieting.

Like many women I compared myself to the women placed on pedestals by the men in my life. I hated my body and tried to eradicate it through every diet and exercise plan imaginable. It’s a well-worn story, you know, go on a diet/fitness plan, lose weight, and gain it all back (plus some). It’s an old path that many women have travelled down. When all efforts have failed, we blame ourselves for being weak, stupid, hopeless, etc. It’s a horrible thing to go through and more abusive than we allow ourselves to believe.

So here I am again. All 41 years of my life stacked in me like nesting dolls. This morning started off no different, with me dreading the task of trying to make myself presentable to the outside world. I beg my closet “Please, work with me here!” I made my selection and as I began to undress, I could hear the familiar voice in my head. “Ugh, I hate my body. Why do I have to have THIS body? Why is it so hard for me to lose weight? What’s wrong with me?”

Just then I realized that I was talking to myself no different than the adults and peers around me did when I was a child. This defenseless child inside me, who is still hurting from past harm, was being bashed by none other than myself. In short, I was abusing the shit out of her.

You still with me?

I immediately felt like a bad mom. Luckily, before I could go bashing the adult in me too, I remembered that what I needed was compassion and forgiveness towards myself and my little girl.

Afterwards, I debated about posting this experience. What would people think? Insecurity can be such a turn-off. But the idea would not let me be. So, why go public with this experience? Well, I know I’m not alone, and I also know that where light is shown darkness fades. I don’t want to keep me or my little girl in the dark anymore. I want light and love to be here in us. I want this self-inflicted war to stop. I truly do have to rebuild my love for myself.

You see, I know and really love me. Me being the Mind-Spirit me. I know my strengths, my growing edges, my gifts, and character. I know I’m as valuable and beautiful as any other living creature on this planet. I know who I am and look forward to getting to know who I am becoming.

Paradoxically, I don’t like the body that this “me” inhabits. So what I have is a disconnected relationship between “me” and my body. As a child I learned my body was “wrong” so I discarded it by leaving it through disconnecting from it. Ways that I could feel “in” my body were through food, starvation, or excess exercise.

So I’m attempting to heal this relationship as I have healed other internal relationships with myself; slowly, compassionately, trusting, with mindful insight and reflection, and safe people. This body deserves love and recognition and as I begin to heal this separation, it’s important that I stay connected with those who can see the beauty in me as well.

After drafting this post, I found this newsletter message by Louise Hay in my email. Quite appropriate don’t you think?

“Little babies love every inch of their bodies. They have no guilt, no shame, and no comparison. You were like that, and then somewhere along the line you listened to others who told you that you were “not good enough.” You began to criticize your body, thinking perhaps that that’s where your flaws were.

Let’s drop all that nonsense and get back to loving our bodies and accepting them totally as they are. Of course they will change—and if we give our bodies love, they will change for the better.”

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