Recently one of my May Cause Miracles clients was working through chapter 3:
B O D Y I M A G E.
Everyone who reads MCM finds THE week – the week that they resist, the week that they struggle through, the week that stirs all of their “stuff” up to the surface. And for many of us, that week is body image. I wish that this weren’t the case because it means that, for many of us, we don’t feel at home in our bodies. Our false perception of our body hijacks our life and we feel powerless to stop it.
The Course teaches that the ego teams up with the body to keep us stuck in fear. The ego compares our body to others, convincing us that our bodies are better or worse than others, strengthening our specialness and furthering our disassociation from oneness and a loving mind. Gabrielle Bernstein, May Cause Miracles
One of my greatest motivations for becoming a holistic health coach is to help women feel at home in their bodies. I spent WAY. TOO. LONG. feeling uncomfortable in my own skin and now it’s my mission to help women bust through this incredibility limiting block.
One of my go-to affirmations is from A Course in Miracles.
I am not a body. I am free.
Woah. Let’s repeat that one again…a little bit slower this time.
I am not a body.
I am free.
Can you imagine a life where you were free and didn’t feel ashamed, self-conscious, unworthy, uncomfortable, obsessed, stressed, or at war with your body? It’s okay with your answer is no. I never imagined a life where I could feel comfortable in my own body. It literally never even occurred to me that it was an option.
For as long as I can remember I heard things like:
Women just have body issues.
No woman likes the way she looks.
It’s just part of being a woman.
Every woman hates her thighs.
Every woman diets.
And, thanks to that ego of mine, I believed these statements. I accepted that, because I was a woman, I was destined to dislike my body. And sometimes downright hate it.
The journey to feel at home in my own body has taken many twists and turns. It’s brought me to books like May Cause Miracles, BodyPeace, and Women, Food and Desire, to working with a health coach, to journaling, and to examining my relationship with food.
While I can now laugh at my ego’s tiny mad idea, I still have to choose a loving perspective in each and every moment. There are still moments when I am standing in my closet, in tears, because nothing fits or looks right. There are still moments when I say or think nasty things about my body. And there are still moments when I find myself judging what is or isn’t on my plate.
But it’s in those moments that I have the opportunity to reach into my toolbox and get to work. Here’s what I try to do in those moments:
I have become the nonjudgmental witness of my own life. Sometimes this is easy and sometimes it is a real struggle. But I try to envision myself looking down on my life like it was a movie. With a little detachment, I can witness my thoughts, behaviors or words as a neutral observer. I often ask myself, “Would I say that to my best friend or let her say it to herself?”
And now the hard part – I let myself off the hook. No judgement. No shame. No blame. I try my best not to judge my ego with my ego. Meaning, I don’t blame myself with the thoughts my ego thought. They are not real and blaming them just feeds them.
Repeat “I am not a body. I am free.” over and over again. Choose again. Choose to see yourself as your best friend or loved one sees you. Choose to look at yourself with love googles on. Express gratitude for your body – say three nice things about your legs, your stomach, your arms, whatever part you were just critiquing. Choose to be free in this moment.
And then choose freedom again and again and again.
If this post resonated with you and you want to dive deeper into these topics, I invite you to check out my May Cause Miracles coaching program. I’ll guide you through each week of the book and together we’ll shine a light into the dark corners of your life. Just a warning – this coaching may cause miracles.
(ps: There is no “may” about it – it will cause miracles. Lots and lots of miracles.)