Every morning for the last six weeks or so I have been walking my daughter to school. It first began because of a change in our situation that caused us to only have one vehicle. We used to have two, so this sudden change in circumstance forced me into walking to drop off and walking to pick up my second grader.
After the first week and a half of walking or so, I took on this sort of- positivity challenge if you will. I’ve heard and read about so many instances where people started saying affirmations thus changing their perspectives and ultimately drawing those things which they spoke out, into their lives.
At this point in my life I am already beginning to change my thought patterns, questioning “Why NOT Me?” Why can’t I be successful in my endeavors? Why can’t I make a million dollars? Why can’t I travel the world? Why can’t I buy a big home or write a best selling book? Other people can and do these things, so why not me? With these thoughts already in mind I decided that every morning that I walked my daughter to school, not only would I be getting the exercise I desperately need, but I would listen to something positive. A podcast, A YouTube video or an audiobook. Something uplifting was going to penetrate my subconscious through the medium of my phone and a bright green set of beats.
I will be doing a series of posts on this journey soon but in the meantime I wanted to share with you what happened on my morning walk today.
Like many women (survey says approximately 90%), I have insecurities relating to body image and a pretty tumultuous relationship with my body. My biggest obsession is my soft, squishy belly. I always think of this area of my body in a negative way. Of course, once upon a time, I sported a nice set of abs. Never a super six-pack but a “nice” mid section, according to the “media standard.” The so called “bikini worthy” body – whatever that means. I have also had thin thighs and a nice ass, if I do say so myself. Over the years however, things have changed. I currently am about 30lbs heavier than I am used to and I feel every bit of it. More so, I have four children now and adjusting to this life of mine hasn’t left me with much time for anything else.
Like many others, I never give praise to my soft belly for that which it has endured. I never express any gratitude for it’s function. I take for granted it’s ability to stretch beyond my wildest imagination and back. I don’t own the scars it dawns as the “mama bear marks” that they are. No. All of my communication surrounding this area of my body has been negative, harsh, and abusive to some degree. This area of my body that houses my life giving organs, the home to my second chakra, the seat of my emotions. This area that protects my major organs and digestive organs. Somehow, when I think of my stomach in this way, being so overly obsessed with how “bad” I think it looks when I stare in the mirror (because I am comparing myself to some past version of … my self) seems awful petty.
Everyday I have been repeating very meaningful “I AM” affirmations to myself through out my day. I listen to the “positive stuff” during my walk each morning and I have to say, things have been looking or rather feeling, up. Not even that my physical circumstances have changed drastically because they haven’t. However, the way I feel about myself, my circumstances and my life in general is over all way more positive.
Today much like every other day, I find myself sucking in my stomach whenever I walk by or am near people. I have been doing this for so long it is almost like an instant reflex. It just happens. Today, I was consciously aware of the very moment I felt the need to pull my belly button in to my spine. Except this morning something different happened. This morning, almost simultaneously as I pulled in my navel a stream of questions came to me in a quiet stern voice and said ” Who are you doing it for?”, ” Why are you ashamed and afraid ?” And “How does it all feel?” and then I had a remarkable transformative moment… the voice then said in a powerful and commanding tone,
“Change is gradual. Mercy is grand! Have mercy, and own it.”
So I let go.
I released the tension I used to pull my belly button in to my spine and I kept on walking. I let it all just hang loose.
I wanted to take a moment to answer the questions that came to me this morning because questions lead to clarity:
Who are you doing it for?
I truly had no idea because was I really sucking in my stomach for me? Perhaps it was for the cars passing by. The fact that maybe someone would see me and think I looked (gasps) fat! When I think back to this occurrence, in hindsight, it was all very ridiculous and has been for years. The reality is, no one cares. And if someone out there does care enough to call me or think I look… fat, well then damnit, good for them! LOL. I had become so accustomed to “pretending” my stomach was flat that I routinely tensed up in order to suck it in and for what? To pretend to be “skinny” for people I don’t even know? REALITY CHECK MOMENT.
Why are you ashamed and/or afraid ?
Because I gained weight. Except, when I really detail this question, even when I was a reasonable weight I still felt like my belly was an issue. A problem area. This really all happened after I had my first baby. I gained a lot of weight and it didn’t fall off right away, or really at all. Every time I lost any weight and started to feel good again Pregnancy adorned me and the process started all over again. I think I have never truly had time to heal from any of the previous distorted body image issues before tacking on new ones with each pregnancy. Plus, there is this huge social platform that tells us what is and what isn’t beautiful. A big, soft, bulging mid section doesn’t exactly classify me as “hot stuff.” Yet then the question remains, to who, and why do they matter?
How does it feel?
This was a big one because the moment I continued to walk, belly un-sucked, I was able to observe the feeling. It felt… jiggly. LOL. Although it was slightly uncomfortable, I was reminded in this moment of feeling just what it means to truly be present. What it means to fully embrace something. In this moment, I embraced my body for what it was right here in the now and I was at complete peace about it. I didn’t care who drove by, I knew that what I looked like on the outer was a reflection of what was going on on the inner and my inner was bursting with acceptance and confidence. Somehow I felt better than before.
I truly believe that in that moment of the release, when I let go, everything changed.
I walked the rest of the way to my daughters school and all the way back home completely un-sucked. I didn’t die, nobody screamed “fat ass” out of their car window as they passed by. I survived and I actually felt really good about myself.
So in turn, I ask you the same three questions today. Apply them to any area of your life that you need to more readily embrace. Ask yourself, who are you doing it for? Finding out the why is the only way to cultivate forward movement. Why are you ashamed and/or fearful? What shame lies underneath your actions? Guilt? What is the ultimate fear? Last, How does it feel? Think of this on a three fold level. What does it feel like physically? To the body? To the mind- mentally, to the heart- emotionally, when it comes to the feeling. How does it feel to sit in those feelings?
Then embrace and move forward my SUNshine!
Drop me a line. What do you need to embrace? Or just say hey