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Posts Tagged ‘love your body’

Let’s face it, sometimes people express your thoughts in such a perfect way that there’s no need to reinvent the wheel.  We’re on the cusp of the new year and I know that words like “healthy”, “diet”, and “weight loss” are bouncing around in people’s minds.  As a Yoga therapist, I see it every year and it breaks my heart every…..year.  We approach our bodies as if they were demons to be fought off when, really, they are the wonder-filled envelopes that hold our souls.  We don’t often approach them that way, though, do we?

I noticed this Facebook post on a friend’s wall.  I offer it to you because it is sheer perfection.

May you have the most passionate and loving relationship with your soul-envelope ever! May the new year be loaded with blessings and lessons that help you awaken to your highest Self.  May you be well.  May you be at peace.

Peace, friends!

Tabitha

From Anne Lamott:

We need to have the little talk we have every year at this time:

I know you are planning to start a diet on Sunday, January 1st, I used to start diets, too. I hated to mention this to my then-therapist. She would say cheerfully, ” Oh, that’s great, honey. How much weight are you hoping to gain?”

I got rid of her sorry ass. No one talks to ME that way.

Well, okay, maybe it was ten years later, after she had helped lead me back home, to myself, to radical self-care, to friendship with my own heart, to a glade that had always existed deep inside me, to mostly healthy eating, but that I’d avoided all those years by achieving, dieting, binging, people-pleasing, and so on

Now when I decide to go on a diet, I say it to myself: “Great, honey. How much weight are you hoping to gain?” Here is what’s true: diets make you fat. 95% of the time. We gain it back, plus 5 lbs.

I may have mentioned several hundred times that I have had the tiniest, tiniest struggle with food and body image for the last–well, life time. Hardly worth mentioning. It is a long story, having to do with childhood injuries to my sense of self, terrible anxiety, and the inability of my parents to nurture my soul: so starving and chastising myself cannot possibly heal this. I hate to say it, but only profound self-love will work, union with that scared breath-holding self, and not a diet that forbids apples, or avocado. Horribly, but as usual, only kindness and grace–spiritual WD-40–can save us.

Can you put the scale away for a week? Okay, then how about 4 days? I have been addicted to the scale, too, which is like needing Dick Cheney to weigh in every morning on my value as a human being. Can you put away your tight pants, that do ‘t actually hurt you? Wear forgiving pants! The world is too hard as it is, without letting your pants have an opinion on how you are doing. I struggle with enough esteem issues without letting my jeans get in on the act, with random thoughts about my butt.

By the same token, it feels great to be healthy. Some of you need to be under a doctor’s care. None of you need to join Jenny Craig. It won’t work. You will lose tons of weight quickly, and gain it all back, plus five. Some of you need to get outside and walk for half an hour a day. I do love walking, so that is not a problem for me, but I have a serious problem with sugar: if I start eating it, I sometimes can’t stop. I don’t have an off switch, any more than I do with alcohol.

Given a choice, I will eat Raisinets until the cows come home–and then those cows will be tense, and bitter, because I will have gotten lipstick on the straps of their feed bags.

But you crave what you eat, so if I go for 3 or 4 days with very little sugar, the craving is gone. That is not dieting. If you are allergic to peanuts, don’t eat peanuts. Have an apple! Have some avocado.

It’s really okay, though, to have (or pray for) an awakening around your body. It’s okay to stop hitting the snooze button, and to pay attention to what makes you feel great about yourself, one meal at a time. Unfortunately, it’s yet another inside job. If you are not okay with yourself at 185, you will not be okay at 150, or even 135. The self-respect and peace of mind you long for is not out there. It’s within. I hate that. I resent that more than I can say. But it’s true.
Maybe some of us can try to eat a bit less, and walk a bit more, and make sure to wear pants that do not hurt our thighs or our feelings. Drinking more water is the solution to all problems. Doing a three minute meditation every day will change your life. Naps are nice.

I’ll leave you with this: I’ve helped some of the sturdier women at my church get healthy, by suggesting they prepare each meal as if they had asked our beloved pastor to lunch or dinner. They wouldn’t say, “Here Pastor–let’s eat standing up in the kitchen. This tube of barbecue Pringles is all for you. i have my own.” And then stand there gobbling from their own tubular container. No, they’d get out pretty dishes, and arrange wonderful foods on the plates, and set one plate before Veronica at the table, a plate filled with love, pride and connection. That’s what we have longed for, our whole lives, and get to create, now, or on the 1st. Wow!

Join me in not staring a diet January 1st. And God bless you all real good, as my pastor always says.

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strength

I’ve always had a hard time with my body. Short and stocky with a round face, broad hips and chunky thighs, I have never even slightly resembled the images of beauty I am sold every day.  No amount of dieting or compulsive exercising was going to get me to grow five inches taller and many inches narrower. Being chubby, I was frequently teased and set up by boys I had crushes on to be humiliated in public; I was frequently a laughing matter.  I developed early which brought on a whole new brand of angst as boys wrestled to grope me and snap my bra straps.  It was attention I never wanted.  Then, in 2008, a family member, who was the first to harm the healthy connection I had to my body, died and something strange came over me.  At the age of 38, I was blanketed in shame like never before.  I could barely stand to look at myself, and I’m not talking naked and in the mirror here.  I’m talking about the simple act of looking at my face while I brushed my hair.  Added to that was the reality that time was showing itself on my flesh as my breasts were noticeably sagging, fat deposits were beginning to develop in places where they had never been before, and my jaw line was beginning to soften and droop.  It was the perfect storm, and it was completely unacceptable to me.

I cannot recall where the inspiration came from or how the decision was made but, that year, I decided that I was going to break this horrible tie with shame and reclaim my body.  I was going to do so by being photographed in the nude.  Can you think of anything more agonizing for someone dealing with serious body issues?  But I was determined.  I found a photographer in Hamilton, Ontario, Melanie Gillis, whose work I absolutely loved, I booked an appointment and off I went.

The day of shooting, I thought for sure I would be sick. There I stood in front of a complete stranger with my chubby belly, my cellulite, my pimples and every other imperfection completely exposed for all the world to see.  Being a model is not easy.  You have to surrender to being manipulated, like clay, into positions that feel awkward and raw.  With droplets of fear-sweat beading on my back, I allowed myself to be molded, trusting in this woman’s ability to capture any signs of beauty that might be mine.  At the end of the session, as Melanie scrolled through the photos, allowing me to see some of her favourites, she stopped at the one shown above, and I stopped moving.  I couldn’t breathe. And, surely, I could not believe my eyes.  In a quiet whisper I asked, “That’s me?  That is back there?  That’s mine?”  Melanie gently replied, “Yes it is.  That’s you.”

How could I ever have imagined that what lay behind me was profound strength?  Being so fixated on all the things wrong with me, I forgot to look back; I forgot to complete the picture.  In my blindness, I could not see the power that held me up, that wrapped me in strength, and that kept me moving forward.  These were not just muscles, they were a symbol for all the unseen things that enfold me and keep me strong.  These physical structures were manifestations of forces in my life that I had forgotten to witness, that I refused to see.  In looking at the picture of my own back, a scab fell from my eyes and I was no longer able to believe that I was anything but power held in the hands of an even greater Power.

I’m not saying I don’t struggle with my body anymore.  Four years later, the stamp of time has dragged more of me down towards the earth (my final destination, after all).  There are more ripples and dimples and soft bits than ever before.  Sometimes, watching my own decay can feel quite terrifying, but I can still feel that Power standing behind me.  Like invisible hands resting on my back, It still holds me up and I feel okay.  I had always feared looking, with open eyes, at my nakedness.  When I took that risk and looked, I was gifted with a remarkable piece of Truth–I am not alone.

Where are the places within you that make you cringe?  Can you, with gentle hands, move towards those places and lovingly begin to investigate them?  It may be that within these “forbidden places” your strength lies hidden.

May you find within yourself the courage to open that locked box and to look inside.  May you always know that you are not alone.

With much love,

Tabitha

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Hey, guys. This is Balpreet Kaur, the girl from the picture…Yes, I’m a baptized Sikh woman with facial hair. Yes, I realize that my gender is often confused and I look different than most women. However, baptized Sikhs believe in the sacredness of this body – it is a gift that has been given to us by the Divine Being [which is genderless, actually] and, must keep it intact as a submission to the divine will. Just as a child doesn’t reject the gift of his/her parents, Sikhs do not reject the body that has been given to us. By crying ‘mine, mine’ and changing this body-tool, we are essentially living in ego and creating a seperateness between ourselves and the divinity within us. By transcending societal views of beauty, I believe that I can focus more on my actions. My attitude and thoughts and actions have more value in them than my body because I recognize that this body is just going to become ash in the end, so why fuss about it? When I die, no one is going to remember what I looked like, heck, my kids will forget my voice, and slowly, all physical memory will fade away. However, my impact and legacy will remain: and, by not focusing on the physical beauty, I have time to cultivate those inner virtues and hopefully, focus my life on creating change and progress for this world in any way I can. So, to me, my face isn’t important but the smile and the happiness that lie behind the face are. 🙂

You can read the full story here:  http://jezebel.com/5946643/reddit-users-attempt-to-shame-sikh-woman-get-righteously-schooled.

May we all learn to accept this marvellous machine and soul-capsule that is our body with as much grace and reverence as this young woman.

Namaste,

Tabitha

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