How to Find Body Compassion

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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 the 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 your first impulse is to criticize your body. To disassociate from 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” is an automatic learned response.

It is what you have been conditioned to think, to say, to feel.

But it is not your instinct.

Love is your instinct. Gratitude is your impulse. Pride is your rightful inheiritance.

This, friends, is what we were born to, when we were a infants, when we were new. This is how we were looked upon in our mother’s arms — pink-eared and fuzzy-headed. This is how we once, uknowingly, viewed 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 what 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 tyring to love your body,  
and to give that energy something far more powerful. 

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 of empowered kindness.

Click to share the good word.

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. The self that stood on stout legs and clapped a the shear joy of movement.  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.

Amen? Amen.

***

A very long P.S.

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. 
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. 

Step out of the struggle.
Watch the healing flow.

Much Warmth,

Rachelle Mee-Chapman
*your magpie girl

 


Jen Bardall March 5, 2014 at 6:11 am

This is just beautiful. You’re speaking directly from my own heart, I swear. This is exactly the sort of thing I try to teach women as well – to reconnect with that younger version of themselves, the rock star superhero who knew how wonderful they were – but somehow forgot over time how to just be themselves. Thank you for sharing this, I’m sharing it over on my FB page this morning for sure. xoxo

pj March 7, 2014 at 12:25 pm

I have a memory I can pull up that’s helps me counteract such thoughts. I had a lover (wouldn’t call him a boyfriend; I call it a 2-year one-night stand) years ago. One time we went to the movies. During it he was touching me pleasantly, including, at one point, stroking one of MY (post-four children and a c-section) stomach folds between his thumb and forefinger, and again, my “arm fat.” and he wasn’t stroking them as if he thought they were “gross.” I also had another lover many years before specifically grab and gently bite my “saddle bags” and tell me how sexy they were.

Barbara Burns March 7, 2014 at 6:02 pm

Wonderful reminder. Thank you so much for sharing your learning and reflection. You nurtured me with your words. XO

Barbara Burns March 7, 2014 at 6:03 pm

Thank you so much for your words. Your learning and reflection is so meaningful in this day and age. Your words nurtured me.

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