Loving your body is an inside job. It is recognizing that She, your body, is your soul in form, an extension of the deepest part of you. Loving your body is really about connecting to your Essence found WITHIN your body. This can be a bit of a foreign concept for some of us who were taught that Spirit is outside of our bodies and the body is just a place of sin and weakness. I challenge this assumption. Hogwash I say! Your body is a Sacred Keeper and the physical form of the deepest part of you. This is called Embodied Spirituality, where connecting to your body is really connecting to the Divine.
Can you begin to have the intention of uniting your mind and body in a sacred union, a true and loving kinship? This means approaching your body as an equal, even as captain of the team. This is a much different way than treating your body like a thing to dominate and a thing to push past it’s limits. It is letting go of mind over body mantra and instead following the body’s lead. It is opposite of everything we have learned and it will take some unlearning, believe me, I too lived that mantra. I played competitive sports and we trained until we puked, pushed to the limits and beyond and called that success. My body has since rebelled as I continued to live a life of overdoing. She has said no more, too much, no you won’t overdo, over-extend, over push, over carry, over burden me/us anymore. She has put her foot down with the manifestation of an autoimmune disorder that I believe has evolved out of refusal to hear Her and slow down. Now, I have no choice but to pay attention. I’ve had to find another pace, another gear and slow way down in order to do life or I will have an autoimmune attack and end up in hospital.
Marion Woodman, a Jungian Analyst who specialized in the Lost Goddess said in a speech for Conscious Femininity, “You know, you must wander in a culture where autoimmune break down is the most prevalent of diseases — lupus, AIDS, cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome — these are all illnesses in which the body refuses to play host to the soul.” Booyah! That kinda hits you in the gut doesn’t it.
In mind-body therapy, we look for the metaphorical message in the illness. Illness is often accompanied with unresolved emotion or belief patterns. In the book The Secret Language of Your Body by Inna Segal, autoimmune illness is associated with “…an inability to stand up for yourself. Weighed down by responsibility. Always putting others first. Anger, resentment, blame and guilt…” For me, I regularly pushed past my limits, over committed, over did things, held everything on my shoulders and did not ask for help. I didn’t stand up for my own limits, I didn’t stand up for my body’s needs or my souls needs. I put other’s needs ahead of my own, and I sacrificed me time, down time or rest time in the name of getting more things done or to squeeze in an extra workout.
Autoimmune illness is literally the manifestation of the mind attacking the body. For me, it is the manifestation of my mind pushing my body past it’s limits continually, never checking into see how things feel or where the body’s energy levels are at. It is keeping it up too late, feeding it too little, forcing it to exercise extraneously, stressing it with life, having a thousand and one commitments to tend to and pretending there is no emotion within about the way I’m doing life. It was living with an “I am fine” illusion when I wanted to cry at every stop sign I sat at. In fact, I pretended I was superwoman and to say I was struggling would have ruined my facade. I rarely rested or fed my soul through creativity or stillness. I only collapsed in exhaustion or used alcohol to disconnect from the exploding reality trying to burst out of my insides that I couldn’t manage the pace of my life any longer. Then one day, I collapsed at work and life was never the same because an autoimmune disorder was born.
We must balance DOING with the Sacred Task of BEING! Being is experiencing life with a pure intention of peace, joy, fun and play. It is not checking off the to do list or creating things for the purpose of getting accolades. It is refilling the energy tank, the love tank, the self-esteem tank, and the feel good to be alive tank all in one. It is experienced through stillness…conscious stillness, reflection, journaling, even when you really don’t want to or would rather watch TV and zone out. It is also creativity, creative expression, and a dumping out of the emotional tub inside. It is walking outside and feeling the wind caress your face or it is sticking your tongue out and tasting a snow flake. It is life lived at a slower pace, in the moment, focused on the beauty and wonder around us. It is connecting to the Universe, the Divine, to God & the Goddess, the Creator, the stars, the moon, the wind, the water and fire, because we need and crave meaning, spiritual connection, and emotional release in our lives. We need to do less more often. Did you hear that…do LESS more often! We need to have way more fun and play in life and accomplish less. (This statement might get some great comments lol)
When we are so busy, over doing, over extended, over exhausted, there is no room for the soul, we don’t take presence in our own body. We don’t step foot in our own two feet, we just float around in our minds going through our life tasks spiritually vacant. Maybe we find ourselves wanting to cry out of nowhere and we aren’t sure why…this my friends is the soul’s tears. They will leak out in the moments of stillness right before bed or when things just keep getting compounded and challenging that we can’t keep it together, we burst at the seems. That moment is a gift, a call home to your Essence!
So take five minutes and for today, write 5 things you are grateful for about your body. Thank your legs for carrying you from place to place and the ability to move. Thank your hands for doing such amazing work tending to the children or cooking meals. Thank your gut for digesting food and helping you have life force energy to go about your day. Thank your ears for the ability to hear a beautiful song or your child’s laugh.
Let’s appreciate our life giving, soul holding bodies today and everyday! Let’s take things a little slower, a little gentler, a little more focused on fun and less on outcome.
And so it is 🙂
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