Month: June 2017

The Imperfection of Being a Woman

As I sit here enjoying homemade sweet potato fries with melted cheese dipping fervently into guacamole I am reminded what bullshit perfection is and how unrealistic it is to attain whatever society deems as perfection. When did it become accepted to berate women for being women in a feminine form? Why are curves not OK and yet a toned, shapeless body is what is praised and strived for by women everywhere? I look around me daily and see the active deprivation amongst my sisters in striving to attain a figure that is unattainable and, in the meantime, allowing this way of living dry up their creativity, passion, sexuality, and life force.

 

As a woman with decades of active recovery from a debilitating eating disorder in her cells, I still find myself wavering about how to do this “right”. If I eat really well all day and practice yoga and get out on a trail, then I am doing recovery “right”? But, if I choose one day to indulge in a burger and a beer then I have fallen off the recovery wagon?? To me, recovery is all about balance. Being an embodied and whole woman means allowing, accepting, and embracing every crevice of who you are. For me, that means giving permission for me to really truly BE who I am and that means that, yes, on occasion – sometimes more often than other times – I eat greasy food and drink alcohol.

 

Do I still engage in my practices – yoga, meditation, time in nature, dance, self- examination and process? Absolutely. I feel, at 42 years of age, that I have a grasp – perhaps only a slight one – on who I truly am. Not who I have pretended to be – not who I think others want me to be, say, do, act – ME, all of the aspects of me. And, I can honestly say that most days, I kind of dig myself. I look in the mirror and more often than not I say something along the lines of ‘Damn, you look really good. You look healthy, alive, vibrant, and sexy’. Most days I am not evaluating myself by the cellulite on my ass, the extra belly rolls, the lines on my forehead, and the wrinkles that seem to be forming in the most unusual of places. That is most days, definitely not all days, but what I can say is that the days of praise are outweighing the days of criticism and that is nothing short of a miracle and progress in recovery at its finest.

 

I honestly never really knew whole heartedly if it was possible to live a human life, in a body, with a beating heart, a consciousness, a level of sensitivity to the world that exceeds many for better or worse – if I could ever pull together a life where I actually loved myself, respected myself, knew how to truly tend to myself in the deepest of ways possible. I did not know if I would ever attain peace inside myself to the degree that was needed in order to be able to consistently emanate that to my outer world.

 

I did not believe, as a 20-something and then as a 30-something, that self-love could happen unless I was perfect.

 

Perfect at recovery, perfect in my body, perfect in my relationships, perfect at life as a whole. Well, I am here to say, amongst many other things, that PERFECTION DOESN’T FUCKING EXIST. You can seriously literally and figuratively kill yourself in your quest for perfection. Women do it ALL THE TIME. They nip and tuck, run until their body fails them, nibble on their vegetables and fruits – denying their hunger from their core. Refusing to acknowledge who they truly are and negating what they really need to be consuming, how their bodies are really needing to be moved, and what their voices need to say. It is epidemic. Heartbreaking. Abundantly everywhere, in every community, every country, and, as a woman who gets it on the most fundamental level, I feel a responsibility to share the light. To share my story over and over again, honoring the various narrations of it – the fluctuations through the phases of my development, and the raw humbleness of my admission that I really don’t know what I am doing most days.

 

I am learning with each experience of each day and moment of our days, to trust my heart, to listen to and then actually follow my intuition.

 

To honor my hunger, not just for food but also for love, for sunlight, for solitude, for movement, for rest, for quiet. Listening, honoring, and acting on my highest voice. The one and only TRUE voice and the one that is speaking louder and louder by the years and teaching me what it really means to love, beginning with loving of the self. I never really understood what that meant….all those years of being preached to about the crucial nature of doing just that.

 

So, I sit here writing – a bit broken, tainted, beaten up, alive, committed, in love, wounded, determined, grateful, and steeped in the process of healing – with passion to spread the light. Feeling the responsibility and motivation to reach out to other women who struggle to find that ease with themselves. Those women whom every single day is a battle upstream. Those women who cannot see the light and who desperately long to.

 

May my words touch some in the most tender of places and inspire them to take steps towards their healing – perhaps baby steps, yet forward movement no less.

 

Reach out and connect, women!

 

You are not alone.

Embodying LOVE in Midst of Indignancy

To stay present in your body and heart amidst life’s challenges is no small task. The level of courage and commitment on behalf of oneself is honorable and carries with it the potential for infinite growth and the deepest sense of embodiment. Our experience of life – of living – of communing with others – of relating to ourselves – is magnified. Our senses are heightened and the possibilities of growing and morphing in our lives unfolds with endless possibilities.

 

This is not easy work and I sit here writing this post whole, wounded, scarred, and yet embodied after experiencing one of the most challenging and traumatizing experiences of my life. I feel a responsibility to spread the light like never before. Staying small and quiet is no longer an option.

 

Remaining embodied through traumatizing experiences takes a tremendous amount of perseverance and trust. When we are gutted by what life throws at us, what is left is the raw remains of who we actually are. Our guards are lifted, egos in check, personas are questioned, and we are called to dig to the depths of who we truly are. From our core — our essence.

 

This can be disorienting and so incredibly scary. Situations such as what I am emerging from, force you to question everything and your innate sense of life as it becomes foreign. You know that life will never be the same you just have no clue what its going to look or feel like.

 

When trauma and invasion enter the system, the body naturally shuts down. Our protective shields go up and a level of disconnect emerges. This is natural and, quite frankly, necessary for many of us. When you have experienced abuse at the hands of the dysfunctional masculine in your life, it is not hard to become triggered. Shutting your system down in protection is our intrinsic way of sheltering our hearts from more heartbreak. The problem becomes when you shut down and do not do the work necessary to heal, shed, and reawaken – the trauma infests your body and entire system. We then walk around in protection mode, untrusting of the world, with our barriers around our hearts and bodies, and the armor builds. The trauma and the feelings associated with it do not go away. They just get pushed deeper into our systems – into our cells, our bones, our muscles, our psyche. Many turn to food, drugs, alcohol, over working, TV…anything that can serve as a distraction so as to not feel the pain of what we have experienced and are now carrying with us. There is no judgment here as I have been down many of those paths and still have some need for escape on occasion. What I am more aware of than ever is that there is no sustainability in that way of living. There is only more pain that will inevitably surface if you don’t actually deal with your experiences on an embodied level.

 

Yoga and meditation, if practiced regularly, can be so supportive in finding that presence and acceptance of ourselves in midst of challenge and angst. They can serve as a platform for self-inquiry and self-acceptance. There is the space for hard emotions to surface and move through our bodies and our hearts. There is the opportunity to simply breathe, pay attention to what is going on for us, and let it go. Over and over and over again. This is hard work. Can be grueling for those of us who have carried around generations of trauma and discourse in our systems. Yet, to me, is essential and it is my life’s path to support others in moving through their life’s anguish – through their beautiful bodies and their wounded hearts. To support others in finding that freedom by tapping into their inherent inner strength that is always there – just needs to be held in loving kindness, acceptance, and love.

 

I offer you this simple meditation in support of embodiment during indignant and agonizing times.

 

Come to lie on your backs on a comfortable, flat surface. A place where your spine can rest easefully and you are able to feel the connection of the earth underneath you.

 

Bend your knees, spread your feet wider than hips distance, and allow your knees to drop in towards each other. Feel your sacrum, right at the base of your spine, drop down into the ground. From that space invite in the support of your body and the earth beneath you.

 

Place one hand on your heart and one hand on your belly.

Come into your breath. Tune into the rise and fall of the inhalation and the exhalation.

 

From this still place – present to your body and it’s sensations – feeling the ground underneath you – the feel of your hands greeting your belly and your heart – your power centers – close your eyes and spend a few minutes simply feeling your experience. The entirety of the simplicity of being with yourself.

 

After a few minutes of only focusing on your breath begin to include a mantra with your inhalation and exhalation.

 

I invite you with your inhalation to say “Love” to yourself and your exhalation to repeat “Love”. Continue to do this for at least 10 minutes.

 

Simple, yet powerful way of infusing our bodies with the vibration of LOVE, PEACE, and ACCEPTANCE.

 

Repeat often.