Loving your body is an inside job. It actually has nothing to do with your weight or size. It is recognizing that your body is a Sacred She, not an “it”. That’s a She with a capital “S”. She is your soul in form, an extension of the deepest part of you. 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. Imagine living a life centered around your relationship to your body, knowing that the integrity of this relationship was central to every other aspect of your life. How you felt about yourself , your relationships and your life was mirrored by your relationship to your Sacred body. She is guiding you and signalling your emotions, needs, wants and beliefs, directing you like the lead of a marching band. And, rather than fighting against, ignoring or denying the trumpets and drums, you can listen and follow them because you are being led by the Divine.
What if you trusted your body to lead you to your dreams- your soul path, simply by honoring your body’s innate wisdom and amazing abilities of bodily sensations, emotions and gut feelings? You have no need to shut these wondrous messengers off because they are from your soul, transmuting messages to you by the form and emotional/physical functions of your body. Your body is the computer of your soul. You are being led towards what feels right for you, if it lights you up like a fire cracker, then it is for you. The body will not guide you to what you think you should be doing or to be perceived as successful, that’s your mind. The body will guide you to fire and passion, it is not worried about becoming a role or title, it wants soul expression and release into your world.
Can you open up a space to begin the process of uniting your mind and body in a sacred union, a true and loving kinship? Can you allow your body and mind to bond into a sacred marriage and away from sacred battle?
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 its 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, unwinding and at times collapsing of every construct you once operated upon.
I too lived with the debilitating mantra of mind over body. I played competitive sports and we trained until we puked. This led to a life addicted to superwoman powers. I learned to push myself to the limits and beyond and called that success. My body had no choice but to rebel as I continued to live a life of overdoing and over-extending. She said, “No more, that’s too much. No, no NO! You will not overdo, over-extend, over push, over carry, over burden 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 down, way down, in order to do life. If I don’t an autoimmune attack shows up and I typically end up in hospital.
Marion Woodman, a Jungian Analyst who specialized in the Lost Goddess and the Sacred Feminine 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.”
Boo-yah! That kind of hits you in the gut don’t it?!
In mind-body therapy, we look for the metaphorical message in the illness. Underneath an illness is often unresolved emotional trauma, wounds or belief patterns that continue to perpetuate the dis-ease. In the book The Secret Language of Your Body by Inna Segal, autoimmune illness is associated with “…an inability to stand up for yourself…feeling weighed down by responsibility. Always putting others first. Anger, resentment, blame and guilt…”
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 know how to draw a line in the sand. In fact in didn’t know where I’d place the line because my head thought it should be way over here when my body was barely making it way back there. I felt like a failure, weak and lacking for not being able to do more. I didn’t recognize it as wisdom at the time. My ego wanted more! My body knew that the superwoman pace was a bullshit facade. It was an empty crusty shell trying to get validation of being enough by doing too much. I was addicted to the drug of over-doing.
I didn’t stand up for my body’s needs or my souls’ wants. 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 so my perfection addicted mind would shut up.
Autoimmune illness is literally the manifestation of the mind attacking the body or for argument’s sake, the mind over body mantra in a physical form. For me, it is the manifestation of my mind pushing my body past Her limits continually, never checking into see how things feel or where the body’s energy levels are at. It’s not even knowing the body’s limits or refusing to believe the body is entitled to having limits. 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 that everything is under control and I’m doing great. It’s a high to be busy all the time, accomplishing, getting things done at lightning speed. It’s a high until you crash and burn and the exhaustion, the tears, all the emotional messages and physical needs the body was saying comes crashing into you all at one time.
I was living with an “I am fine” illusion when I wanted to cry at every stop sign I sat at. I wanted the false pride that came with the super-strong-independent-I-don’t-need-anyone woman disguise because I thought it meant I was succeeding, coping, keeping afloat. I didn’t want to give up my shiny cape.
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 screaming of depletion. I was empty and hollow and I didn’t want to own it. I thought that it would mean I was failing. Then one fine day my body did it for me. I collapsed at work and life was never the same because an autoimmune disorder was born out of my denial to accept the Truth.
So here’s what I learned in my break-down. We must balance DOING with BEING! Being is experiencing life with a pure intention of peace, joy, fun and play. Being is the gear that the body likes. 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 just because we need to, not for the shiny cape and applause.
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’s doing restorative yoga rather than Vinyasa yoga. It is creative expression or any kind, knitting, kite flying, even button collecting. It’s furniture re-purposing, writing, painting or puzzle making.
It is a dumping out of the emotional tub filling up inside because you know the body is guiding you through the messengers of emotions. They are the compass on your soul journey.
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 just because our soul calls for it. We need magic and wonder in our lives. We need meaning, spiritual connection, and emotional release. We need to do less more often. Did you hear me?
We need to have way more fun and play in life and accomplish less. Yeah, I said it, accomplish less and connect to each other a lot more. At the end of your days you won’t be counting the things you accomplished, you’ll be remembering the special moments with your people.
When we are so busy, over doing, over extended, over exhausted, there is no room for the soul. And when there’s 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 seams. That moment is a gift, a call home to your Essence!
So take five minutes and write 5 things you are grateful for about your wise, soul speaking 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. Even thank your swirling stomach for the anxiety signalling to you that your soul is not content.
Let’s appreciate our life giving, soul holding bodies today and everyday! Let’s take things a little slower, a little gentler, and a lot more focused on fun and less on outcome.
And so it is!
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