Thriving Women: Bodies
Posted on March 8, 2007 at 10:47 a.m.
Dearest Thriving Women,
Aaargh!! No denying it…..the pants are tighter and the waistband a not-so-gentle indicator of me in expansion.
Many years ago I gave up the scale and stood in glorious empowerment when I politely but firmly stated to the nurse in the Dr.’s office that I would no longer be weighing myself – at home OR in any physician’s office! I was totally amazed when I was led into the examining room without further ado. The decade of my twenties and half way into my thirties was spent in agonizing awareness of every morsel of food that went into my mouth. I surreptitiously carried my own fat-free salad dressing into restaurants, carefully zipped into a baggie and hidden in my purse. I would go to sleep at night, measuring how good the day was (or not) based on my caloric intake. Yet, when I looked in the mirror, I did not see my thinness, but rather where I still carried any extra fat. I was stuck in a trap that many women find themselves struggling with.
In my thirties, I became friends with a group of fun-loving, very alive and healthy women. We started having “girl’s night out”. I loved being with these women. They were responsible, irreverent, compassionate, outspoken and vibrant. I would watch them dive into the chips and salsa with gusto, enjoy their meals and not give much attention or thought to their own or anybody else’s bodies. On one of our nights together, I decided that I no longer wanted to live my life in such a constrained, restricted way. I did not want to be eating lettuce leaves while everyone else at the table was relishing the delights of the palate. I wanted to join the party. I also wanted to be healthy and free to enjoy the body type that I was given in this lifetime. Thus began another decade of learning how to eat intuitively and mindfully, but even more importantly, how to celebrate my own, very imperfect body.
There is a photography book by Francis Scavullo, in which he photographed the world’s most beautiful women. Their beauty was dazzlingly apparent on every page, accompanied by commentary from the women themselves. Not one of them said anything favorable about themselves, but rather focused on what was wrong with them - a too big nose, too small breasts, eyes too close together, etc, etc. Wow, how is this possible???? What about us mere mortals????
In our research regarding creativity, we discovered that the biggest block for women and creative expression is body image. Women can’t be creative when they feel fat or whatever flaw they believe the world sees. Add aging to the mix and it really does get even more complex. How can we overcome this truly tragic plight?
The answers lie within each of us. There is no prescription or how to on this, and there must first be a desire to confront our feelings and beliefs about our bodies, and to get clear about what relationship we DO want to foster within us. Aliveness is not possible when we are disconnected and hateful about our bodies. To be truly engaged, involved, energized and alive, we must find a way to a peaceful, loving and healthy appreciation of our bodies.
Something that has worked for me is to practice gratitude about my body. I do have an amazingly strong body. While I might long for long, elegant, and slender limbs, what I have are muscular, eastern European legs, broad shoulders and a great set of biceps and triceps. Those muscular legs have carried me up and down mountains and allowed me to see spectacular vistas. Those strong arms have enabled me to pick up and carry my adult disabled son. My shoulders have provided a safe haven for my children to rest their heads upon. The dimples in my butt have…..well, I am still working on that one! I try to remember at least once a week to thank my lungs, my heart and all of my organs for working in such perfect harmony with one another. I try to remember that I do not need the absence of health to be the catalyst for appreciating my healthy body. To be a sensuous woman, I need to have eyes, ears, a nose, a tongue and delicate nerve endings in my skin that are in working and receiving order. My body allows me the freedom of movement to dance, the voice to speak and sing, the passion to create sexual magic, the ability to experience the world first hand. Truly, truly a miracle EVERY SINGLE DAY OF OUR LIVES!!!!!!
Yes, my pants are tighter in the legs and my waistbands are uncomfortable right now. I don’t love that feeling….I actually don’t like that feeling one little bit, yet I know that my body ebbs and flows and that usually I regain my more lean state. I also know that I am aging, and that this may be more the norm for me now. Last week, we talked about attitude and our choices when we are faced with difficult life challenges. I have choices in how to love and celebrate my body. We all do, each and every day. It is a daily decision and a commitment to our higher values and goals. When I am ninety and still hiking up a mountain trail, I truly hope that I will be celebrating and dancing my way up the mountain in my baggy-legged pants with the elastic waist band! Hooray for that!!
In love, health and light,
Randi and Daniela