Last weekend as we drove home from a family gathering, I absentmindedly rested my hands on my stomach. My fingers touched a a roll of skin that folds when I bend at the middle.
“Gross.” I thought.
And then just as quickly, “Love.”
“Gross” is the message of the culture. “Gross” is my Crazy Expectations gremlin who drank the Hollywood body-type kool aid. “Gross” was what I was trained for from 13 year’s old, when my classmates would eat theÂ chocolate bars we were selling as a fundraiser, then do a calculated number of sit-ups during study period to counter act the calories.
I’m sure you have these stories too. Road maps that got you to a place where yourÂ first impulseÂ is to criticize your body. To disassociate fromÂ her. To say mean things.
Maybe it was a mother who weighed herself and winced. Or the grandmother who called you a butterball when you came for Thanksgiving. Or the endless number of magazines that scream at you from the check out stand.
“Gross”Â is an automatic learned response.
It is what youÂ have been conditioned to think, to say, to feel.
ButÂ it is not your instinct.
Love is your instinct. Gratitude is your impulse. Pride is your rightful inheiritance.
This, friends,Â is whatÂ we were born to, whenÂ we were a infants, whenÂ we were new. This is how we were looked upon in our mother’s arms — pink-eared and fuzzy-headed. This is howÂ we once, uknowingly,Â viewedÂ ourselves.
Take for instance, my nephew Grayson. At nearly one, he’s eager to learn how to walk. He takes one step, maybe two — and then, amazed by his whole body and it whatÂ it can do–he claps his hands until he falls down, laughing.
That is where you come from.
That is where you can return.
Over the past year, I’ve been watching the circle of smart, soulful, beautiful women that I and my colleagues are a part of — that you are a part of. I’ve listened to your stories. I’ve read your reviews. I’ve observed what you gravitate towards. And what I’ve noticed is this:
You are being called to body compassion.
You are ripe for next stage of healing.
You are ready to take he energy you use every day trying trying tyringÂ to love your body, Â
and to give that energy something far more powerful.Â
Like your art.
Or your family.
Or your sex life.
It’s time to step out of the body-image struggle and into a place ofÂ empoweredÂ kindness.
Start today, friend. Start now.
Reconnect with your infant self. The self who nursed when she was hungry, and stopped when she was full. Who cried full-throated when Something Was Not Right. TheÂ self thatÂ stood on stout legs andÂ clapped a the shear joy of movement.Â Â Look at your self in the mirror and tell your body, “I love you as I’d love a child.”
That’s where I started. That’s where we all did.
In radical self-acceptance. In a pool of love.
Are you ready to love your body as you’d love a child?
Can you return to your instincts?
Will you kick out The Critic?
I think you are.
I know you can
I hope you will.
These days I may sometimes still start with “gross,” but I transform quickly to “love.”
You can get to this place too — but faster and with more ease than I did. Because you don’t have to do it alone.Â
I have found your teachers. And we have the time and space to gather.
So start at the mirror friend. We can all do that — regardless of time, or circumstance, or resource. Start at the mirror and your own powerful medicine. Start at the mojo that is already within you, a powerful force bound with sinew, sunk into bone.
And then, if you’re ready, invest in your healing with us at Gather: Body Compassion.Â
Step out of the struggle.
Watch the healing flow.
*your magpie girl