I was standing in the swimming pool in my pajama shirt and nothing else. I hadn’t showered since the show the night before, I’d just woken up. The Idaho oven-sun beat down and brewed the chlorinated water around my waist. I was on the phone with my dear brother, laughing and goofily half naked in the pool.
I felt so beautiful and true.
This post by Stefani Ruper at Paleo for Women tackles this thing we have beating inside us. It’s not just women, it’s the whole human lot of us. We are soft and supple; our minds absorb and it takes time to learn how to wring it out and stay clean in there. As much as we may know how silly it is to try and be “skinny” or “strong”, or any-adjective the world has picked for us to chase, these things are heard.
They may be soft. They may appear benign. Force may come in handy here and there, but it makes me sad to think of all the days I dragged my tired, emotionally exhausted butt out of bed to go run on the treadmill in college. It wasn’t from any deep desire other than to control my body, to have a “routine”. Exercise is useful in burning through pervasive, foggy negativity, but first we have to see the negativity for what it is. We can’t escape to the gym, to the self-esteem hit or distraction we receive there.
I encourage a partnership with your body, your instrument, your human-life home. There are a million work out “challenges” out there, and some people respond very well to them- this post isn’t for you.
This post is for you if your legs want to give out from three dance classes and the StairMaster. This post is for you if you’ve gone to the gym, putzed around for five minutes and left, totally dejected. This post is for you if you’ve ever looked in the mirror and explained to yourself that what you see is okay because of some- any- external message. This post is for those of you who need gentleness and love to be their guides to knowing their body beauty.
If you believe that “love” might be your new “strong” or “skinny”, here’s how to bring it into your life.
1. Never underestimate the power of free dance. Walking down the street, in your bedroom in your panties… just groove, y’all. The groove feels so good. The groove gets you movin’ and shakin’ and that’s where the magic happens.
2. Give up “working out” for a week and instead be an active person. Walk or bike everywhere. Stretch when you get home and realize your lower back is full of the day’s tension. Do the weekend hike. Go swimming in the ocean… or the hot tub. Be in your body, move in the world. Embrace that you’re inhabiting an instrument of movement.
3. Know your body in a deeper way than as a sculpture. Get interested about subtle energy, the chakras, the tapping technique, massage, etc. Know your body as a river for energy, not just a canvas to paint abs on.
4. Eat with love and lust and joy. Food is a gorgeous part of getting to be alive. Learn how to make the real stuff- maple syrup in for white sugar, veggies, runny egg yolks over smashed sweet potatoes, homemade dark chocolate coconut bark. Swear off any “low- or -free anything” foods. Trust that nourishment is a body and soul practice, that you are -free enough as is. Just eat real, whole food.
This works because you get to be alive. This works because you get to be your body’s best friend and lover, instead of critic. This works because we don’t fling ourselves on the merry go round of adrenaline and exhaustion. This works because it comes from a place of love and simple joy. That is where sustainable health comes from- not a three day cleanse, but from loving yourself, loving your experience, getting clear and consciously true.