This past weekend I watched Brene Brown's Call to Courage on Netflix. It was excellent of course! I recommend watching it. There is so much great material in it. There's one piece that's been sticking with me that isn't even the main point of the show. Near the end she mentions that women most often feel shame around their body image and men most often feel shame around their role as providers. I have since been reflecting on this.
As women I know we are so much more than our appearance. SO much more. And I know there is some good emotional material of my own to dig into here. For now though I'll say that it angers and frustrates me to think that we still live in a culture where a women's appearance is so heavily emphasized and that it is something we still experience so much shame around.
A friend of mine said "if only eyes could see souls". I agree.
As if it isn't enough to feel pressure to look a certain way and be a certain size, how about the thousands of us who just purely don't feel safe in our bodies? Energetically many of us are not grounded in our physical bodies. Our energy is in our heads most of the time, or even beyond our heads and outside our bodies completely. Whether that's for the simple fact that you're a woman and that might not feel safe to you; or because you don't fit the particular mold set out in magazines, television, runways, social media, or even family and friends. Or perhaps you have experienced physical or emotional trauma that's left part of you believing that it's not safe to be in this body. Energetically, even the experience of an emotion that we don't want to feel can leave our energy sort of hovering above us - "Nope, don't want to go in there, don't want to feel that." Not to mention the pace of life that surrounds us, the disconnection from nature, and the constant bombardment of wifi, cell phone signals, environmental pollutants, a culture that emphasizes knowledge over embodiment, etc etc.
Let's switch this up to something a little more positive. I invite you to close your eyes and take the time to ask yourself the following questions. What would it feel like to live in a world where people feel safe in their bodies? How do those people interact with you? How do they interact with themselves? How do they move? What do they look like? How do they speak to themselves? How do they speak to you? How are they in their relationships? How are they at work? How are they in their general lives? How do they treat their bodies? How do you feel when you feel safe in your body? And how do you treat your body when you feel safe in it? Does the way you feel in your body relate to the way you feel in the world?
The above paragraph is available in audio below so that you can really feel into this and notice what comes up.
For now, put your hands on your belly, take 3 deep breaths, and say to yourself "It is safe to be in this body. It is safe to be in this body. It is safe to be in this body".
How do you feel now? How do you feel in your body? How do you feel about your body's appearance?
You are beautiful. I mean it.
Since the weekend before last my intention has been: Listen.
Art I created with this intention in mind
Beyond feeling and knowing how important listening is, I've been dealing with some ear issues. When I was a kid I had really bad earaches and as an adult, mild tinnitus, and lately some eczema and blockages. My go to with something physical like this is Louise Hay's Heal Your Life. It was one of the first books that set me on this spiritual path. She sees the ear as a representation of our capacity to hear of course but also "not wanting to hear".
For a while I have been craving a silent retreat and with so much gratitude, the Universe brought me one. I spent this past weekend at La Solitude, a silent retreat center, with Jacynte Leger and Terri Hall for a Kundalini Yoga Retreat. I have friends who have gone to La Solitude and I've been wanting to go myself. I know Jacynte through a few different circles, and met Terri in Souris, PEI where she teaches and where I have been going every summer since I was a child. Not only all of this wonderfulness, but the retreat was called Discover Your Inner Wisdom. Inner Wisdom, connecting to it myself, and helping others connect to it is a passion of mine. It was an amazing weekend!
Photos of La Solitude by Jacynte Leger
In between the morning and afternoon session on Saturday I was cozy in my little cabin with the woodstove going. I began to focus my awareness on my ear and asked "what is it that you don't want to hear?" I suppose it helped that I was in this very quiet place physically and energetically, that I was surrounded by nature, and that I had practiced Kundalini Yoga the night before and that morning because I received answers. The first answer I heard was "I'm fat" and I realized that my spirit didn't want to hear the things I had been saying to myself. The second answer I heard was "I'm ugly". I know! Why would I say these things to myself? I guess I didn't realize that looking in the mirror and thinking these things could have such an impact. And I don't think I've been doing it all the time but it seems that thinking it even once in a while can affect us. I would never say those things to someone else so why would I say them to myself?
Other things my spirit didn't want to hear:
I'm not good enough
I'm too sensitive, emotional, etc, etc, etc
There's not enough to go around
I have been on a long journey of lowering the volume of my inner critic's voice and changing it's words. I guess I didn't realize how loud it had gotten again and how the negativity of what it's been saying has affected me. I had also forgotten the importance of the words we put after "I am...". Wayne Dyer talked about that. I love this meditation of his. Might be time to start practicing it again. :) I know so well the importance of honouring what we're feeling instead of stuffing it down and the suggestion was to say "I'm feeling..." instead of I am.
The Kundalini session that afternoon was all about connecting with your soul and listening. Near the end of the session Terri said something along the lines of be careful what you put after "I am" because it will come for you. And then she recited some of the things we often say to ourselves and no joke, the first two things she said was "I am fat" and "I am ugly", the very first two things my spirit let me know it does not want to hear me say to myself anymore! I nodded internally. Message received and confirmed, Universe. Thank you.
Ode to the Ear
PS. The awesome Practitioners at Forever Healthy are helping me with my ear and I am so grateful. <3
Natalie loves life, people, animals, plants, and trees. She believes in the flow of life and approaches each day with gratitude.