Today, my body and I went for a walk.
Not the hit-the-hills-and-push-till-you-pant type walks we usually go on … at my insistence … because I’m hating the way she looks,
but a quieter, more gentle, look-at-the-spring-buds-on-that-tree type walk.
An introverted walk.
A feel-the-sun-on-your-skin walk.
A “please won’t you say something’ walk.
You see, my body’s not talking to me.
I guess she’s sick of the way I’ve treated her .. the adoring self-massage one day, the intense wash of dislike the next.
The eat-this-it’s-good-for-you green juices sipped reluctantly while my menfolk relish my latest gourmet dinner right in front of me.
The indulgent delight of croissant-and-latte days that are always followed by hours of mental self-flagellation and hip-width despair.
She’s done with that.
And she’s not talking to me until I fix this mess.
I know this because in my coaching training, I studied a technique called ‘Body compass‘ originally created by Martha Beck.
In it you imagine a horrible scenario, and ‘feel’ where that sits in your body. How it reacts to that memory. The sensations, the tightness, the speed of your breath.
Then you imagine something wonderful, bliss-filled, and notice the way your body shifts. How you expand, relax, lift.
I tried it, imagining a moment of defeated humiliation and then one of sweet triumphant delight …
And they felt exactly the same.
How could this be?
How can fear and dread sit in the same space as anticipation and joy?
Am I confused? Metaphorically deaf? Broken?
So I ran it by my coach and the other brilliant women in my coaching mastermind.
The first response was ‘not everything works for everyone’ … which I realize is true, but I still couldn’t/wouldn’t let go of it.
I’m an uber-Libra. I thrive on relationships. I list one of my greatest attributes as the ability to talk to anyone. My body was not going to prove me wrong on this one.
The second response came in a private follow-up phone call from Reiki genius friend Jackie Gaston.
“It’s not that you can’t hear. It’s that she’s not talking to you.”
Because you never listen.
(She didn’t actually say that. It’s what leaped to mind.)
The last time I listened to my body was just before I walked stark naked through a crowd of strangers, but I have to admit that her voice slowly got drowned out by the noise of everyday life and the strident demands of building my coaching practice.
Slowly, almost imperceptibly, I slipped back into the outside-focused, the go-go-go.
I started to ignore her, take her for granted, put everything and everyone else first.
And then berate and hate her for not supporting me.
Until I tried the Body Compass exercise,
and realized … again … that one cannot be at war with one’s body and at peace with the world. (share)
So I’m in reconciliation mode.
This morning, I woke still tired and despite deadlines and housework, I took a nap.
Breakfast was nourishing and tasty and savoured in front of an open window.
I worked online for a while, but noticed the ‘deadness’ starting to grow, the stiffness in my shoulders, the stuckness in my words,
but instead of dissing my body as weak, and unfocused, and a hindrance to my empire-building-dreams, I listened.
We went for a walk.
And when we got back, I created two blog posts in half an hour.
I only ate lunch when she said she whispered she was hungry rather than ignoring her until my stomach screamed in desperation, or letting the clock dictate and rush me.
I took a few minutes to make a sandwich, bulging with the colours of spring, and did nothing else while I ate it.
This afternoon has flown by in a euphoric burst of business productivity, punctuated with a few housekeeping duties that cleansed, beautified and blessed my nest.
It’s a good start, but I know that this is just the beginning.
Because what this relationship needs is consistency.
My body and I cannot be BFFs one moment, and at war the next.
We’re together ’till death do us part’ … for real … and after nearly 50 years of tensions, I’m finally ready to make peace.
She is a reflection of me, and everything I do/believe/am.
The extra weight she’s carrying is a direct correlation to the protection I often feel I need from the world.
And yet when I do the things that let her shine, her radiance showcases my innate ability to light up my surroundings and make beauty out of nothing.
When I’m feeling small, unfulfilled, ordinary …. all you see is a dumpy, nearly-50 housewife who used to be an actress.
When I’m certain of my gifts, basking in my power to create my world … you don’t see any of that.
All you see is the light in my eyes and the proud carriage of my head.
You’ll hear the confidence in my voice and the belief in my vision.
And that’s all I see too.
We’re in this together, my body and I.
Because I have huge dreams and I’m going to need physical energy to make them happen.
I’m going to need consistency, focus, awareness … and I’ll practice these on her.
Because how you do anything is how you do everything, right?
Sweetheart, you cannot adore your children and then feed yourself so badly that you die early and rob them of decades of your life together.
You cannot hope to instil confidence and self-respect in your teenagers if you demean your own worth with every belittling word and every disgusted glance in the mirror.
We are women.
We lead by example.
We become the change we wish to see in the world by treating others the way we wish to be treated.
And that has to begin with ourselves.
Self care is not selfish.
Self care is the greatest gift you can give to those you love. (click to tweet this)
Self care is the lesson you teach your daughters by living it, every moment of every day.
Self care is the way you show your thanks to the Creator-of-All-Things.
Self care is gratitude in action.
Self care is the antidote to criticism, depression, despair.
It will cure over-eating, over-spending and overwhelm.
It will help you make friends with your body for maybe the first time in decades.
It will show you the power of the tiniest actions, and the miracles that can be wrought over time.
It will encourage you to beautify your home, dress better, live fully.
It will give you the energy to make a cake, make a million, or make love.
It will give you the self worth that creates confidence, fuels adventure and cures comparisonitis.
In short, self care is the cure-all for everything that’s wrong with your body, business and life.
How you do anything is how you do everything.
How you feed yourself is how you feed your children … physically, mentally, emotionally.
Loving yourself is the first step to healing the world.
The way you treat yourself sets the standard for the way others will treat you.
May I suggest that you raise your standards?
Because, as the incomparable Lucille Ball once said …
“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line.
You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.”
I think that about sums it up, don’t you?
So sweetie, how’s your level of self-care?
Do you see it as important, but it still gets left until everything else gets done?
Or do you see it as absolutely vital to your health, wealth and happiness?
I’d love to know what you think.
And if you’d share this with your girlfriends or on social media, I’d be ever so grateful.