Have you ever looked in the mirror and hated the reflection staring back at you?
Have you then proceeded to scrutinize every inch of your physical body, aggressively pinching skin here and there with disdain as you scoured the surface with your eyes?
Have you then turned this critical lens inward?
Felt like you were not worthwhile?
Felt like you were a failure?
Have you ever wanted to feel small?
Have you ever wanted to feel empty?
Have you ever looked in the mirror and celebrated the reflection staring back at you?
Have you then proceeded to tenderly rub your stomach, softly infusing loving energy into your touch as you admired the curves, softness and dimples of your body’s surface area?
Have you then turned this love inward?
Felt like you were a beautiful force?
Felt like you like were deserving of great things?
Have you ever wanted to feel expansive?
Have you ever wanted to feel an outpouring of light from within?
It has taken me many years to transition from scenario A to scenario B. I cannot say that there was a Great Awakening or an “aha” moment. The Universe has been very patient with my at times painfully slow learning curve.
At the ripe young age of 22, I found myself emotionally bankrupt and physically exhausted. After years of seeking distraction in overdrive and salvation in self-destruction, I had developed a potent mix of anxiety, depression and an eating disorder. Thankfully, my mom intervened.
A few months before I was due to graduate college, she accompanied me to an eating disorder specialist. I was ashamed, but not reluctant. I had dabbled with seeing a specialist in the past, but convinced myself that I was fine and that everything I was feeling and doing was a passing phase I could muscle through on my own, thank you very much. But as the phase had continued for a few years and my so-called muscles and strong will had weakened, I knew something needed to change before I completely undid myself. I committed to getting treatment.
And so began my re-education. With Dr. Susie, I learned that my “disorder” was about so much more than the weight. And I was worth so much more than I was giving myself. In addition to weekly therapy sessions, I was referred to a dietitian and exiled from the gym. Slowly (and I do mean slowly), I came to appreciate myself as a complex individual and my body as an incredible system with many parts that needed to be cared for.
In the comfort of my room with the curtains drawn and my eyes closed, I would dance. I would forget about how I looked or the numbers on the scale. I drank in the rhythms of the music and allowed them to wash through my body. I began to listen to what my body and spirit had to tell me. I began to truly feel things in my body and in my soul. This new territory was incredible, and I wanted more. I started to devour books and lectures on self-care, spirituality, energy healing, holistic health, anything I could get my hands on with regard to wellness. I also turned to yoga, something I had dabbled with before but had originally found too intimidating and too risky, for it called on me to slow down and feel. At this point, I was still treading water, but I could see the shore.
I was learning how to respect myself and how to re-build a level of trust in myself that had been missing since childhood. My yoga and dance practice allowed me to return to my body, to dwell in it. And my cultivation of self-reflection and a meditation practice helped me move from judging myself to embracing who and where I was as a person in a physical body.
But don’t think this romantic story is without it’s ups and downs. There were tumultuous love affairs. There was more partying. More exhaustion. There was uprooting myself completely and traveling the world in search of the answers that I had all along. There have been multiple relapses into my eating disorder. My troubled relationship with food and with my body has taken a lot to repair and it still requires ongoing maintenance. Nonetheless, I own my phases of recovery.
These experiences have been both humbling and empowering. They have made me even more determined to honor and protect this body suit. But, more importantly, they have inspired me to help others return to themselves, reclaiming their bodies and their existence. We are powerful individuals instilled with a divine wisdom that we can so easily disconnect from. Let us elevate our intuition and own our innate might. We’re in this together.