I tried dating my body (not in a dirty way... mostly).
I wrote up this exploration of embodiment for my newsletter and it seemed to strike a chord. I thought I’d copy it over here too! Let me know what you think :)
What & Why?
Anyone who's sat still near me for 5 minutes, knows that I'm WAY into Mindful Self-Compassion. This practice of being a little kinder to myself has been wonderful. I no longer automatically judge my thoughts or emotions.
But I noticed that there was still work to be done when I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and my automatic reaction was a disgusted "ugh"!
I took a step back and tried to look at my relationships with my body as if it was my relationship with another human... and it looked so toxic.
Imagine that I had a life-long friend who I took completely for granted. The only time I thought about her was when I was disappointed, or disgusted. I'd demand things from her, like that she suddenly be able to run a 10k, or look different in high-waisted jeans, or stop aching in the winter or being allergic to EVERYTHING - without an ounce of grace or patience. And when it came to taking care of her, I'd focus more on things that would make her stop complaining (like TV, wine, and cookies) rather than on what was in her best interest. Who would want to be in that relationship? How could I expect a connection from my body, when I was doing nothing to create an environment where that might happen?
So I decided to start over, and try dating my body. Instead of seeing it as a willful or disobedient friend, to be controlled, hacked and tricked into submission I wanted to see what it felt like to have my body as a partner... and relationships don't start with marriage, trust must be built and communication must be established.
Well, obviously I didn't have a lot of personal experience to draw on here... and I don't have a lot of great personal models... I was raised to fully believe in the Thomas Edison quote...
"The chief function of the body is to carry the brain around."
So I went to the library! I read...
I started meditating - using guided meditations that focused on observing my physical sensation, rather than my thoughts and emotions - like this one by Tara Brach.
And I tried a bunch of silly little things that felt good for my body... like dancing around my kitchen to the soundtrack from Guardians of the Galaxy, eating cheese and olives for dinner, community acupuncture, and a trip to babeland ;)
How did it go?
I'm still building this relationship... I'm writing this with hives all over my chest from spring allergies, so obviously it's a bit of a work in progress. But I'm really enjoying the dates (I'm going to Wanderlust this June I'M SO EXCITED!!!!). And, I don't know if this is connected (though I'd bet money that it is) but I've noticed a lot of other major breakthroughs and shifts in my professional and personal life.
The idea that I can somehow become the grounded, calm, joyful person I want to be, while ignoring or disdaining my body is bonkers. I want to love every part of myself. And building a relationship of connection, communication, respect and love with my body seems like a crucial part of that.