Before and After: Body Compassion

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This is me, four years ago, before I found Body Compassion.

When my husband took this picture I had a level 7 migraine — which I had most days. We were taking our children to a holiday theme park for Jule in Denmark and everyone was bundled up and excited. I couldn’t move my neck to look up at the camera, so I had to just look a bit upwards at him with my eye. I hauled myself through what should have been a fairy-tale night at Tivoli, but the whole time I was just counting down the minutes until I could go home — as I did in Florence, and Berlin, and virtually everywhere we traveled those three precious years of life abroad.

I was ten years into a stint of daily migraine-level headaches. My chronic illness had shut me down so severely that my body didn’t crave things that were good for me, so all I wanted was diet cola, sugar, and bread. I was puffy. I had no energy. My adrenals weren’t functioning properly, nor my liver, or my digestive system. I would get cold chills and fevers, panic attacks and extreme fatigue. I heard and smelled everything at high volume all the time. It was a herculean effort to walk up the flight of stairs to my daughter’s afterschool program — which I needed, because I was in bed most of the time and couldn’t care for her well.

I was nothing but a Sherpa for pain and depression. I was scared, I was desperate, and my inner wisdom was just a whisper.

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This is me now, after I chose Body Compassion.

Now, I’m not going to infomercial you into thinking that the power of positive thinking is all you need to change. Choosing Body Compassion was much more than just a mental act. I didn’t just wake up one day and say, “I will be kind to my body now and everything will be okay.” Not at all.

First, there was a really tough decision to leave western medicine. Then there was a whole string hard choices around re-directing all our funds to my naturopathic care. There was (and is) lot of willpower around elimination diets — including right-fit-for-me choices to stop eating gluten, then dairy, then grains. There was a series of painful home injections, nasty tasting tinctures, and smelly vitamins. And most goofy of all, there was the choice to push through all the college boys surrounding the herb stalls at the Danish farmers market in order to secure kinda-sorta-legal pain relief that actually helped without hurting my body.

All of those things — the healthcare, and the supplements, and the special strains — were all part of my healing process. But the very first step was to look at my body and say, “You are not my enemy. I will love my body as I love my child.”

“I love my body as I love my child.”

This became my mantra. I said it ten times each morning as I tied an ice pack to my head. I hummed it to myself when I was up all night with raging insomnia. I painted it on a tiny card and pinned it to my bulletin board, over the desk that I could rarely drag myself to in order to do the work I loved. (It had to be tiny. Tiny matched my hope. Tiny was enough.)

“I love my body as I love a child.”

This is the first step to healing.
The mental choice.
The emotional shift.
The willfull planting of the feet in the soil of you.

It’s not easy, but it is eminently do-able.

Especially if someone shows you the way.
Especially if you have a hand to hold.

Friend, more than anything else right now, I want you to see this transformation. I want to see you feeding yourself well — body and soul. I want you to stop being a war within your self. I want your gremlins to get quieter, and your shoulders to be lighter. I want you to see — not just your beauty — but your tremendous scary-as-shit-back-the-fuck-off strength.

(Yeah, that.)

What about you my magpie?

Are you ready to fall in love with your own fine self?
Can you make decisions that put your body first?
Will you start investing in the only thing you’ve got to carry your soul around in?

I think you are.
I know you can.
I hope you will.

Join us at Gather: Body Compassion and get the wisdom and the companionship you need to make that first, triumphant shift.

You are so very worth it.

Much Warmth,

Rachelle Mee-Chapman
*your magpie Girl

 


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