Have you ever had one of those moments that seem to stick with you for a long time?
One of those scenes or sentences or smells or feelings that replay over and over again in your mind?
I had one of those a couple of years ago. I found myself in meditation, and I asked a question to a place deep inside of me, a place that I trusted knew best + had more wisdom than I could intellectually access.
I had begun to realize that the answers ‘out there’ were no longer working for me, so I figured it’d be worth a shot at asking myself for a change.
I asked what I needed to know as I was entering this next chapter of my life.
I heard a few things to me that I’ll never forget:
– Listen to your intuition
– Your body will be your biggest ally
– Your spirit + body not only need, but deserve, nurturing, love, + support
– You need to deal with your sexual trauma
Writing this out now, it seems incredibly obvious to me how deeply accurate + important these truths have been.
However, at the time?
I didn’t totally get it.
It didn’t ‘make sense’ to me. I wanted more concrete, exciting answers like – “go do this and you’ll make lots of money!” Or “do this, and you’ll finally feel a sense of clarity + people will like it!”
And at a bigger level, in all honesty,
a part of me didn’t WANT any of this to be true.
It felt hard, deep, painful, amorphous, never-ending, uncertain, risky…
I was hoping for *upbeat, clear action steps*.
(Which likely had everything to do with why I got what felt like anything other than that.)
I kinda felt like I was ‘past that’ already.
I had given it thought + worked through it.
I was beginning to learn how to love my body and treat her with care.
I had significantly reduced my negative feelings about my appearance.
What more was I supposed to do?
It has definitely taken me some time to see the deeper truths behind why I got these messages.
As I’ve gone further into my learning + exploration, I’ve realized that
so much of my journey has revolved around my relationship to my body.
For years, it was a relationship based mostly in hate.
If I had a choice at the time to ‘trade-in’ my body, I likely would’ve ended the relationship a LONG time ago. (Thank goodness I didn’t!)
I felt anger about my genetics, like my entire anatomy was working against me,
resenting the body I was born into,
reliving the shameful, painful, unwanted experiences my body ’caused’ me to have, ones that replayed over and over again in my mind…
It was a full-on war between my mind + my body. My body was enemy #1, and I was on a mission to conquer it.
That, and I learned pretty early on that I got lots of praise, validation, + attention for how smart I was, so I figured it was only a matter of outsmarting myself.
Most of what I did for many years was a giant ‘f you’ to my body, even if it wasn’t intentional. I was fighting this battle at all levels, including the sub-conscious level, meaning that the driver behind a lot of what I did was rooted in the opposition to and hatred for my own self.
There were the what I’ll call ‘obvious’ things like sleep deprivation, excessive levels of stress, over-caffeination, partying a lot, working too much, spreading myself too thin across commitments, working out way too much (or not at all), eating nothing (or lots of stuff that then made me feel like crap or super restrictively).
But there was also what I’ll call the ‘less obvious’ things like ignoring + shutting down my emotions, keeping everything locked in, never saying ‘no’ / always saying ‘yes’, constantly shaming + ‘punishing’ myself, not expressing my truth, struggling to find sex pleasurable (or to even be present + not swiftly leave my body in attempts to dissociate), being the person who does it all and cleans up everyone’s messes without complaint, playing the ‘martyr’ the ‘poor me’ as if I didn’t have control over my life, never asking for help, perfectionism, focusing on everyone’s happiness + well-being more than my own…
^^^ that’s all linked to the body, too. They were refusals of signs + signals my body was sending me. I was mentally overriding what my body was wisely guiding me to do to, you know… help me, make things better, feel better.
What I didn’t realize at the time is that things like stress, trust, danger, joy, heartbreak, shame, etc. ALL have physical + energetic implications and manifestations in our bodies. We cannot separate the two. But I certainly tried to, and the more my mind pushed, the more my body fought back.
As a result, I spent my life at war with myself.
And to be ‘at war’, that means you need to have at least two sides, mine being:
Me vs. (you guessed it) …Me.
Somewhere down the line, I split myself in two. Into the “Me” that was ‘good’ (those parts that exceeded or met the standards, desires, expectations of others) and the “Me” that was shameful and needed to be hidden, destroyed, fixed, subdued at all costs (the parts that I was told or led to believe were ‘problems’).
For a variety of reasons, including that my body and all of its expressions and messages weren’t naturally aligned with the culturally-desired standard (and whose is, really?), most of what makes me… ME, got relegated to the latter half of the equation, aka the ‘bad’ camp.
This left me incredibly disconnected to myself + my body. I was deeply out of touch with the truth of who I was because I was so focused on who or what I needed to be in any given moment (and how I believed I was failing miserably).
Contrary to what I’ve heard some people say, our bodies aren’t ‘just meat suits’ to carry our minds around in. Nor are they something the Universe / God gave us so that we have something to ‘work on’ and always be ‘fixing’ in attempts to make it look good. (I think many of us would agree that we have enough other stuff to focus and work on to fill many lifetimes)
Our bodies are so important. They contain a great deal of wisdom and information that informs our human experience. But that has very little to do with how they appear and has much more to do with how they feel and function and the messages they’re sending us throughout the day.
Things like that intuitive nudges to call your friend only to find out she’s having a terrible day. Or that uneasy feeling in your stomach walking alone at night when you sense you’re not alone. Or that call for rest that goes ignored, leading you to eventually come down with some illness.
Yet somehow, the messaging has gotten twisted – we’ve learned to focus very little on improving how we experience and feel in our bodies and place all of our focus on what we (and others) think and feel about our bodies.
This brings me back to those 4 messages I received: They were ALL a call back to my body, a call to reintegrate all the parts of me I had tried to disown, a call to reclaim my body & all of what she has to offer as my greatest gifts, a call to focus on the experience and feelings inside of my body now that I had moved past the obsession with always needing to ‘fix it’…
It was a call to return to LOVE and TRUST. And in those things, it invites in a spaciousness, an acceptance, an openness, an attitude of non-judgment. It was calling for me to create my own sense of safety.
It was an invitation to allow these rejected, less-valued parts of me that felt like sources of shame for many years – to find solace, to reestablish their home in me, welcoming them with open arms.
It was a call back to vibrancy, to feeling completely + entirely ALIVE in + connected to my body. To allow myself to shine from the inside out, rather than constantly focusing on fixing + polishing the outside, trying to make it shine for me… (hoping if I shined enough on the outside, that maybe the inside would one day start to match.)
And now, this isn’t what most of us are taught, so it’s no surprise most of us feel unsatisfied and empty, even after reaching these difficult goals. Most of the strategies and approaches we’re taught to ‘promote our physical health’ or ‘achieve success’ or whatever it may be… often ask us to disconnect from or override our body’s natural instincts, desires, and impulses.
They ask us to shift the locus of control + source power from within us to something outside of us, denying pleasure along the way. The more restrictive the diet, the more bland the food, the more intense + long + heart-pounding the workout, the more hours worked… the ‘better’… right? You know: ‘Follow my exact regiment / habits / rules. And if you don’t get results, well, you only have yourself to blame!!!’
Well… I say, not exactly. Not that tough workouts or working hard is inherently ‘bad’ but they’re not necessarily ‘better’ either. They serve a purpose just as much as the yin yoga class or the day spent relaxing in bed doing absolutely nothing or the car of chocolate.
The point that is missed in all of this is that we need to ask OURSELVES what it is that we want and need. All of these approaches tout their own as ‘the best’ rather than inviting us into a place for us to listen within and then act; instead, we are called to act as we’re told and tell that inner voice to stay quiet.
This has been an ongoing journey for me, but it is one where I now see my body as my greatest ally, the source of my power + pleasure + humanity. I see that she not only facilitates but enhances my beautiful human experience. I’ve had to say sorry, humbly seeking forgiveness, but she has welcomed me back just as I have with her.
This is why, in the work that I do, I am so passionate about empowering humans to feel sexy, confident, trusting, and – most of all – ‘at home’ in their bodies. Our bodies are the homes for our spirits, and amazingly engineered ones at that.
In those years of disconnection from my body – which I now consider to be one of my most precious gifts in this life, the thing that marks my humanity, birth and death marked by the arrival and departure of a body – I lost my connection with myself, with my inner guidance, my power, my humanity.
What I didn’t realize for years is that my body was, and is, one of my greatest allies, indeed. Yes, it’s been through hell + back with me, but it has never left my side. It’s still here, heart pumping, lungs breathing, neurons firing.
And after all I put it through, damn, how lucky am I?!
You’ve got this. <3
As always, feel free to share this with anyone who may find it helpful, and I look forward to hearing how it helps you.
P.S. If you need some help with this (or other related topics) and are interested in possibly working together, leave a comment below or hit ‘Contact’ above, and let’s get talkin’!