A story of love, betrayal and the beauty of my body
One of my clients, who has had struggled with her health in recent years, and for which there has been no medical solution, wrote this for me to share with you.
"Body, heal thyself" and the idea that body and mind is one and the same - inseparable - your body is you - comes to mind as I read this, along with words like nurture and love: it is impossible to beat oneself into good health which is the allopathic model of healthcare. When it comes to promoting health in all the ways it may be understood, a patient, loving, nurturing: Mother Nature or feminine approach is the one that yields the best results always. Contrast "nurture" with the impatient masculine Hammer of Thor approach that we see in pharmaceutical healthcare and see where it has gotten us as a country and as a world. Not good!
Guest article: Name supplied but withheld.
A story of love, betrayal and the beauty of my body. A while ago I wrote about accepting my new body as it is which I am finding is easier said than done. I have always felt generally pretty positive about my body and incredibly appreciative of its strong, fit, resilient, responsive, sensitive, very communicative and healthy demeanour. It has been consistent and reliable for me staying roughly the same size since I was 18 so 30 years. It being in what felt like such good nick was not an accident or 'luck' as some people like to ascribe it e.g., "you are so lucky you are slim" . Well no I am damn well aren't - I feed my body well, I move it well and I treat it well with kindness, gratitude and love. I never really took it out on wild rides bouncing from diet to diet with the soul purpose of losing weight like many of us women do. It is fair to say, my keen interest in nutrition especially over the last 10 years as a vehicle for good health, longevity and desire to nourish and look after my beautiful amazing body led me to become whole food and plant based (and vegetarian along the way). Fair to say I have always had a love for hot chips - certainly my big vice. I still dream about them but am also well in touch with the reality that they aren't going to do me any favours and from what I recall many gluten free breads taste like hot chips if you toast them! So that's an option. I have always loved my muscles, the capability my body had to take me on fabulous journeys into the great outdoors - running, lake swimming, kayaking, walking, mountain biking, rogaining, wandering until my heart is full and feeling quite content. I looked in the mirror and I saw a reflection of this body that had given me so much and supported my endeavours gracefully, gently and sometimes not so gently reminded me with clarity (hindsight is great) to treat it better than I had been, rest more, be still more often and that less can be more. Now when I look in the mirror, the image just doesn't look like the me I have known and loved for so long. I have attained the magazine prescribed ideal of a female body and beauty just as it is changing to some thing more realistic and in most cases, healthier (thank goodness). But still when people see me they say "you look amazing""you look fantastic"'you look great". Well newsflash people I LOOKED BLOODY FANTASTIC BEFORE AND I DON'T FEEL BLOODY FANTASTIC ABOUT HOW I LOOK AND FEEL NOW. If you only knew what I have been through, what I have endured to achieve this notion of female 'perfection' which I never wanted and never ascribed to, I hope you would change your tune. I really do. This new body is a testament to survival and not a desire to look a certain way. this new body has endured incredible unrelenting pain, hardship, physical and mental challenges. This new body actually felt like it was dying and was shutting down for about two weeks. This new body represents a part of my life that still brings tears to my eyes when I remember it - feelings of desperation, helplessness, hopelessness ... like I was on a train that I knew was going to crash which I kept telling people, but no one believed me and no one could or would help me until ridiculously close to the crash. Things really didn't need to get that close. Despite all that, for the first time in my life, I feel some neutrality, un-ease and if I can completely honest - I just don't like part of my body right now and that disturbs me greatly to say it out loud. This is wild and alien territory for me. I am not a fan of my very ribby torso, my puny arms, my skinny wee chicken legs, my bony back and my non existent bum that painfully experiences the seam of my yoga pants pressing on it when I lie down in savasana. I am finding myself belittling myself (irony noted) and my features at a time when this beautiful and fabulous body needs me to be its number one supporter and cheerleader; to have faith in its perennial ability to bounce back, to heal, to fully recover, to show me its incredible strength and intelligence and to do its thing. My body is amazing and it has taken us through so much. I am so grateful for it and a huge part of me really feels like I have let it down. To be honest I did. I took it to work when it really needed to rest and recuperate. I ignored its clear signals when I needed to walk not run. I allowed my mind to run my body in a way that ignored it and ignored our heart. I did let it down and you know what, here it is, still fighting for us, still diving into healing, still doing what needs to be done despite my feeling of negativity, despite my impatience, despite my sometimes feeling like it has let me down which could not be further from the truth. So today I am choosing to make a commitment to my body because how we respond to everything is our choice right? Life is full of perspectives. I choose to love my body unconditionally whatever it looks or feels like. I choose to appreciate my body because it is amazing and incredible and has strength and wisdom beyond measure and certainly beyond this awareness of mine. I choose goodness and positive and appreciation. All of these choices represent small decisions day in day out - a body positivity and appreciation practise, a moment to moment devotion for the love of my body and for the love of me and for the love of what we are together. Unique, beautiful, worthy, loveable and fantastically human. Peace be. Love be. Loving kindness be. Gentle compassion be. Deep abiding appreciation be.