When I recorded a whole new series of soul boosts recently I felt I had to say something about loving your body. If you’ve watched it, you’ll have heard me say that our body is the vessel that carries our soul through our magical journey on earth. I really wanted to add more here about how to love your body because so much of modern life puts us at total disconnect with the precious form we come in.
We can be under such pressure these days to conform to a certain ideal that actually represents little more than the limitations of our culture in that it seems to set up a hugely restricted range for what we see as being beautiful! Surrounded by gorgeous models and actors, we can be pushed into being at war with our very selves if we feel that we don’t match the airbrushed and photo-shopped images that we see in the media.
Back in the 1980’s Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop, ran a campaign that proclaimed ‘”There are 3 billion women who don’t look like supermodels and only 8 who do”.
As you can see from my pictures, I am a big woman. I do what I can to take care of my body but I have never bought into the idea that you have to be stick thin to be beautiful. I do love clothes and when I go somewhere special, am known for a flamboyant way of dressing that probably breaks every rule about how women of my size are supposed to dress.
We might not be able to change the ideal that our culture tries to push on us, but we can decide for ourselves that we are going to love who we are. If someone wants to think that we are less of a person because we don’t look how they think we should, the shame is on them. But the tragedy becomes ours if we buy into it and let it limit our lives in any way.
It’s an easy thing to say that we should love our bodies, but many of us have had our relationships to our physical form shaken up or shattered, and it takes a little more than just a decision that we’re going to look in the mirror and like what we see. We have to go about rebuilding a relationship to ourselves, and here’s how.
1/Stop punishing and start nurturing. Starvation diets and boot camp regimes might work on one level, but they can be a bit too brutal and can send a meta message to your body that you’re quite prepared to punish it into shape! Begin to make healthy choices about what you eat and how you move that come from a place of reverence for the sacred vessel that does its best for you every single day. If you want to train and run a marathon for the sheer joy of it, then do it, but don’t drill sergeant your way through a process that makes you feel miserable or inadequate or actually puts you at even further odds with your body. Instead, choose foods that are good for you and also delicious so that you really enjoy the sensual pleasure of eating, and take up something that you really enjoy to get you moving. Last summer, I started kayaking and I absolutely loved it! I certainly wasn’t thinking, ‘right, I’d better paddle for another ten minutes and that’s enough to burn off an apple!’
2/Create your own rituals that put you in deep connection with your body. So many ancient and traditional cultures have ritual baths or ceremonies where the body is adorned because the process weaves a cloak of sacredness around the body itself. I love to take baths. I light candles, use scented oils, and might even add some crystals to the water, such as Rose Quartz. If I’m feeling in the mood, I’ll scatter a few flower petals on the surface of the water. Or if you prefer to take showers, you can massage yourself from top to toe with oils and then loofah them off. Do what brings you sensual pleasure and joy.
3/As much as possible, make eating into a ritual. There are days when we all have to grab a cup of coffee on the run or shove down a sandwich at our desk, but where possible make time, lay yourself a place, put food on a plate and eat mindfully. Again, I like to light candles for evening meals and pause for a moment before starting to give thanks for the food that is about to nourish us.
4/Make a vision board that shows images of people of all ages, shapes and sizes that you find beautiful. It might be because of a particular look in their eye, or an energy that they convey, or it might be because actually they just are, even though they don’t fit the mould you’ve been taught to see as attractive. Change the filter through which you look at others from ‘where do they fall short?’ to ‘what about them is beautiful?’ and you’ll begin to see that everyone really is. As are you.
5/Break through the limits that you’ve placed on yourself. If there is something that you want to do, be or wear but you’re holding back until you’re a perfect size zero or whatever, please don’t wait! Your soul is immortal, but we are here for such a remarkably short time in this incarnation that we can’t afford to waste any time in self-loathing! There is nothing more beautiful than someone who clearly vibrates with a love of life itself and a joy for everything around, so do what brings you bliss today.
Loads of love,
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