This is what came to me. When I pondered my thoughts and feelings on the last post about whether I needed to lose weight.
Rather than starve myself, and punish myself for being greedy, fat, lazy, as I previously always have in my body image journey – rather I want to fill myself full of life, of flow, of glowingness, of godforce. Rather than diminish myself by dieting, I continue my practice, and deepen it. I choose life, all of my life – not just honing the surface to please others. Nor the scales to please the charts and books. But my, complete, entire self – which in this lifetime is built in flesh, bones, blood and organs. All of these deserve the best care I can give them as an expression of my commitment to myself, to life, and as an expression of gratitude for life.
I have learnt this past year, that when you don’t know what to do you 1) ask the audience and 2)ask yourself – you frame this question as though you were asking your older, wiser or higher self, or as if you were being your own best friend.
And what came to me when I approached it was that it is really important for me not to approach this as an eating thing. I have come quite a way with my disordered eating, and need to honour that this is a tricky area for me. I need to instead take the opportunity for deep, profound, loving self care. To become more mindful in my body, my consumption. To be here, in my body, now.
Sounds easy. It is what I most struggle with.
I discovered a couple of months ago in an energy book called Light Emerging that my “energy body” type is schitzoid – which means that long ago when times were tough, I learnt to escape my body, to disappear off through my head, to not be in the room, or my body. When I feel anxious (which is quite a lot when you are an anxious personality type) one of my ways of soothing myself, comforting myself back into coping with reality is through food. One dear reader-friend pointed out that this is also a way of boosting oxytocin levels – especially by eating sweet things – which is totally spot on.
I have gotten much better at not running for chocolate, alcohol or bingeing on sweet things when I am frazzled or running on adrenal burnout. But I acknowledge that this is the function these foods play and have been needed for – grounding and bringing me back from my shocked, out-of-body state.
So this is what I need to learn, gently, to do for myself – to keep myself here, more in my body, rather than bringing myself back with food.
In the intensity of mothering, with full on demanding two and three year olds I find this my biggest challenge. I am overwhelmed, I request escape, am not granted it, so physically or mentally escape, and they haul me back in. To me when my nervous system is aroused the world feels too much to bear – I need out.
I came across a useful practice just two days ago I which you mentally drop a line down from your spine in to the earth and drip all the negativity and anxiety which you do not want or need down into the earth. It is a very effective grounding exercise which I will be practicing as often as I remember. Ditto breathing consciously. Feeling my feet rooted in the earth. Drinking water or herbal tea.
And moving. I am going to try some belly dancing along to You Tube tutorials :). I have wanted to belly dance for so long and the local classes I went to last year were a real disappointment. So I will be doing that for flexibility and toning, joy, pleasure and self expression. And now that dear Mr Dreaming Aloud has fixed my bike, and the evenings are getting lighter, more cycling – I love to head off on my bike, a freedom denied me for years by the ties of motherhood – I have such happy memories of whizzing round Kyoto and Cambridge – some of my happiest, slimmest and fittest times – all to do with cycling, not controlling my eating.
And I will add, as the season unfolds, more and more freshness to my life and diet. I yearn for a couple of days fasting, a practice I used to do pre kids – but am not sure I can manage it whilst mama-ing – perhaps on a work day.
Today is the women’s ceremony part of Wilde Tribe – which for me is an extended, and deeply feminine part of the Birth 2012 experience. Indigo Bacal, the founder, suggests we each commit to something which will impact our lives and that of the world beyond today, this full moon, for the next forty days. So me, I commit to deep, loving, joyous self care. To deeper embodied living, and loving of this physical form that I call home.
Will you join me in committing yourself to something of value to yourself and the world for forty days? How might you care for yourself more fully? What is your life calling out to you for? Will you answer the call? Will you be your own best friend?
PS It’s coming at me from all angles – Dr Christiane Northrup’s newletter just arrived saying this…
If you’ve read, Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom you know there is a chapter about flourishing. One of the steps I describe is getting clear about your past so you can identify any subconscious beliefs you have that no longer serve you. Your family’s outlook on health and aging, coupled with your family history is a good place to start. For example, when you were young, you may have noticed that your grandparents took a lot of different medicines or that they died in the hospital. Without realizing it, you may think that this is the natural aging process. Although it may be common, it’s not “natural.” My mother is 86, takes no medication, and was healthy enough to hike to Mt. Everest Basecamp about a year and a half ago!
One belief I encourage you to update (if necessary) is the belief that Western medicine—drugs, surgery, and technology—hold the answers to most all health concerns. Of course, these have their place and are wonderful for treating true emergencies. But a system that focuses only on treating symptoms with drugs, excessive medical testing, and surgery for potential problems is not a better healthcare system. Whether or not you admit it, you can always improve your health by working with the wisdom of your body. There just is no substitute!