When did healthy become about being skinny?
Do we blame it on the airbrush that wipes away all trace of cellulite?
Do we blame it on Twiggy who drastically changed the curves of fashion?
Do we blame the corset that’s had women tugging & squeezing their torsos into exaggerated shapes for centuries?
Do we blame the paternalistic mindset that’s tried to keep women caged in a girdle of playing small for millennia?
This wasn’t meant to be a history lesson, but taking a glimpse back helps me understand our motivations today. It helps me understand why countless beautiful, intelligent, self-sufficient women come into my office and fret about their weight.
No matter the health issues that plague her, this is the one that motivates her enough to make changes. No matter the level of success and satisfaction she derives from her work and her family, she strives for an external ideal when it comes to her body.
“I can’t lose weight.”
“I eat healthy, but I still have a muffin top.”
“…too heavy…too curvy…not fit enough…”
When I sift through the details of her health history and listen to the story behind her pain & concerns, it always trickles down to “I don’t feel like myself.”
Ah. This I get.
I’m constantly striving to recapture the energy & vitality I felt in my mid-30s. A time when I was fully grounded into myself for the first time, and living from a place that brought me joy. Internally.
I refer to that time as my Golden Years; when I was more fit, creative, intellectually stimulated and adventurous than any other time.
I dove headlong into my job and had fun in the process. Partly because it challenged me to hone my love of organization into useful skills. Partly because my colleagues became a sisterhood of support as we all navigated personal bumps in our journeys.
I upgraded and expanded my food choices.
I went back to school.
I went back to painting and drawing.
I took up pottery. I took up gardening, camping & biking.
I took up Tarot. I journaled and prayed. I looked under the hood of what makes me tick. I looked at the bits that made me happy and the bits that made me cringe.
I deepened the bonds with my girlfriends over dinner and glasses of wine.
I was balanced.
That’s what health is.
Homeostasis is the state in which the many aspects of physiology come to a place of balance. Not static by any means, it’s the body’s ability to adjust whenever anything creates an imbalance.
The word health actually comes from the same word root as whole.
In my Golden Years, all my facets were brought to light. I was stimulated and nourished body, mind and soul. All my pieces were coming together to form a beautiful picture of Who I Am.
I was whole.
(Ironically, I was the heaviest I’ve ever been during part of that time. And when I have lost a lot of weight – usually not on purpose, but because of certain imbalances – I’ve looked and felt less than vital.)
The point of this trip down memory lane is that all those activities and choices came from what I wanted and needed.
I was listening to my body and heart for cues to the next steps. I looked after myself from a place of connection to my Self.
Depending on which of my blogs or guest posts you’ve read, you may have heard me talk about “self-care as a spiritual practice”. This is exactly what I was doing all those years.
I define Spirit as my direct connection to the Divine. Far from my childhood idea of spending hours on a hard church pew, the act of being spiritual is simply anything that strengthens the connection.
As a spiritual being having a human experience, anything you do to improve your earthly life – your health – can be approached as a spiritual act.
It starts with getting to know and understand what you, as an individual soul, need and want. It starts with closing the fashion magazines and opening your heart & mind to possibility.
Stay tuned. I’ll be continuing this theme for several weeks as I explore more concretely how this works. (If you’re not part of my Guest List, be sure to leave your info in the box below so you don’t miss the rest.)
What was going on in your life when you’ve felt your best? Sharing in the comments opens the possibilities for others.
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