Tag Archives: Health

Step Away from the Body!

Sometimes…you just have to get away. Peel out of there like a shot. Bail. Abandon ship.

There are moments when it’s nearly impossible to be in the body, to stay with the body. I’ve found that this usually occurs in times of intense feeling, trauma, anxiety, or fatigue. If you’re anything like me, your feelings are massive, earth-shaking, and, well, bigger than the universe. Feelings are messy, deranged, reckless, momentous, and impossible to contain. Our feelings are so big that we’re often afraid of them and sometimes so raw that it feels like they’ll choke us (or at least, do tissue damage). Damn emotions. 😉

Whenever something gets too close, hurts too much, or feels too big or confusing, I bail on my body. This is called disassociation; it’s pretty common in people who have been abused. I do it subconsciously, of course, and it happens so fast that I can’t stop it. Most of us disassociate to some degree. When you daydream, that’s disassociation. When you drum, you enter a disassociated state. When we trance while listening to music, deeply relax, or even when some of us do yoga, that’s a type of disassociation. But, some of us disassociate dozens of times per day (or more) to avoid feelings. Some of us live more “out” than “in”. I lived more out of my body than in my body for decades.

For the longest time, I didn’t know that I was employing this type of coping mechanism. I didn’t even know what it was until I went through therapy. Analysis revealed to me that when the sh*t goes down, I leave my body effortlessly and instantly. My spirit vacates. Again, for years, I did this without realizing it. And, it was a real process to identify my penchant for disassociation.

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I was in my second year of high school and going crazy. Years of living with abusive parents (four of them between both sides of the fam) and siblings (two of them between both sides), plus gobs of other physical and emotional trauma, had literally brought me to the edge of sanity. I was a complete and utter wreck. I was anorexic/bulimic and torridly addicted to cigarettes (1.5 packs) and caffeine (1200 milligrams) per day. I ate one meal per week. My life was imploding all of the time, but, hey, I looked competent. I acted brave. I was thin and beautiful. People thought I was well.

At the end of my Sophomore year in HS, I was trying to move out of my dad’s insane household and struggling to pay for food, school supplies, clothes, and the bare essentials. I was working under-the table at a video store and putting in as many hours as I could get, in addition to going to school. So, there was intense pressure in my life, intense pain, and heaps of childhood damage that I was doing my best to hold down and avoid. It was a truly awful time. And, being in high school, with all of its pressures and torment, was the last thing I needed or wanted. But, of course, I went to school every day, because if I hadn’t, my dad, (read: bad-ass cop/investigator), would find me and drag me back into the hell from which I had escaped. He warned me that he would. I knew he would. So I toed the line, stayed in school, did my time.

“Doing my time” included a stint of living in my car, which was preferable to actually going back and living with the damn-family. Yep, it was pretty bad. But, my ego had me convinced that I was fine. What other 16-year-old lives on their own? I didn’t need any help. I just needed to stay away from my crazy family and work harder, that was all. This was the stuff my ego was routinely telling me and since I was rarely ever in my body, it was easy to believe my ego, easy to believe that I had things under control.

In talking with an older friend of mine one day (who was a regular at the video store where I worked), I let some of the “crazy” out. I admitted that my childhood had been pretty abysmal and I was often so depressed that I had trouble getting out of bed. He suggested that I call a therapist with whom he had worked and gotten some help.  At first, I balked because “everyone has families like mine, right?” He assured me that no, what I suffered through was actually far worse than what many people go through; it had damaged me; I clearly needed help. His words burned me. They did. I felt them pinging somewhere deep inside of my body as he spoke them, and I knew he was right.

I called the shrink soon after, made an appointment, and in the consult with the doctor, I begged her to help me. I offered to pay her $10 per week for our sessions, because it was all I had. I ended up going to her for three years. And, despite the fact that my therapist tried really hard to turn me into a Christian (a story for another post), the therapeutic process actually saved my life. In my sessions, I finally caught up with the damage that had been done to me. I saw and re-experienced, in garish detail, the abuse, the trauma, the heartbreak, the devastation, the agony. I crawled through the dark woods of myself over and over and got lost inside of those woods many times and sometimes for days on end.

I learned about disassociation and how I had used it exclusively to avoid my feelings. I learned when I do it, how to catch myself doing it, and how to stay in my body (or at least, how to return to it faster and catch some of the feelings that I was trying to avoid). And, while therapy made me feel like sh*t, often, it also began to work in subtle ways, ways that I couldn’t articulate until much later. I learned how to descend into the body and hold the feelings that I was running away from. This work was harrowing, painful, awful, and at the same time, illuminating and beautiful. Analysis helped me so much. I loved and hated it. But, I did the work. I kept going.

Truthfully, even now, it’s a daily struggle to stay present and descend into the depths of my body versus pop out and retreat to my mind or somewhere “out there”. Sometimes, it’s such a chore to dig in on my feelings, trace them to the thoughts I was thinking, ask questions, wait for the answers, and not run away from my emotions. Sometimes, I just can’t do it. I have to leave. And, I’ll be honest, I like bailing. I like being “out there”. It’s safer. There are fewer feelings “out there”. But, I’ve learned that it’s not always helpful to bail.

While disassociation is a coping mechanism that serves a purpose, is necessary, and even arguably “natural” for human beings, when we do it too much, it can keep us from healing our inner wounds and fully living. It also cements a less-than-healthy relationship to the body because you’re not fully feeling the body or living in the nuances of experience from the body. You know what I mean. We all struggle with body image issues. We all reject our bodies sometimes. I had to learn how to dig in versus bail out and I had to learn how to  walk into my wounds. When I did that regularly, when I did the work, huge transformation happened for me.

So, tell me about your experience. Do you disassociate? How does that feel for you? What is your journey with it? Have you come up with some ways to manage your departures? Tell me about it in your comments. Let’s talk.

Got My Pigeon Back!

…sort of…as you can see from the following photos (that my hubby took of me in our cluttered studio and which inspired this impromptu post), I’m back to doing yoga every day and LOVING IT! Goddess, why did I ever stop? Oh, that’s right. Bulging disks, the holidays, working two jobs, life, stress, etc. Thaaaaat’s right.

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Well, body lovers, I wanted to share these photos with you to simply re-affirm that every triumph, no matter how small, is good to recognize, celebrate, and pause long enough to let it into one’s core. Every success causes us to rise in energy or effectiveness or joy or consciousness and it’s all worth acknowledging. When one rises, we all rise. I have really missed doing my favorite pose, pigeon (aka, Eka Pada Rajakapotasana), and after four weeks of daily practice, it felt like a good time to try it. Ahhhh…

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However, I have to be honest. At first, I balked at sharing these photos. Pigeon is not the most flattering pose. BUT, just as quickly, I realized that my entire blog encourages self-acceptance and pushing oneself to explore all of the nuances of feeling and behavior that results from the exploration. So, sharing these photos was what I very much must do, if for no other reason than to drill down on my discomfort, to short-circuit my ego, to live what I write on a deeper level (like when I shared the demodex photo with you some time ago). So, I forced myself to post these.

Is my pose perfect? By no means. Is the pose flattering? No, but yoga teaches us that acceptance is key. Breath is key. Trying is key. Staying present is key. Staying with the body is key. And, above all, accepting the journey, whatever it looks like. I get to accept that not every pose will be as deep as the day before. Not every pose will “look good”. Not every minute will you be successful at staying totally present in your asanas, but it’s okay. You might not be able to do pigeon or tree or cobra every day, but that’s okay, too. There is room for all facets, all phases, all expression. Just show up. Keep showing up for your body. Keep listening to your body. Keep loving your body.

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It’s funny, but when my hubby snapped these, I was actually deep in the process of praising my body and thanking her for letting me do what I was doing. I was simultaneously feeling the delicious difficulty of pigeon, reveling in the sweat tricking, and glorying in my body for being so strong and flexible and wonderful. I L<3ve this.

So, there it is. Me, deep in yoga at the end of my daily practice, and loving the process of getting over my ego’s fear of being “less than beautiful”, which is funny because I am beautiful, even in pigeon asana. 🙂 What about you guys? Have you been celebrating the small triumphs? Have you praised your body today? Have you tried pigeon or any other pose that made you think and feel deeply? Talk to me. I live for it. 🙂

In a Famine, My A$$ Could Feed Me for Weeks

Make no mistake. My arse has a plethora of healing powers. Ask anyone who knows me. It’s a magic a$$. It’s an epic shelf of protection, the very source of my earthly powers. Ha!! I joke, but it’s literally a fact that due to my “largess” in the hindquarters region, I would outlive lots of people in a famine. I might even outlive the famine. Fat is a good thing. It nourishes, protects, heals, heats, and feeds. It’s necessary to life. We all have it.lizzys_tush

People often talk about the unhealthiness of being fat, but rarely do you see reports of the good that being a chunky-monkey can do for one in this world of ours. Well, I’m here to set the record straight (or, curvy as the case so clearly is for so many of us). Following are three pluses of being…well, plus.

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Fat is actually healthy and being overweight leads to longer life for lots and lots of people. Being overweight is even cited as a boon for fertility, better skin, calmer dispositions, stronger bones, and sounder minds. Despite rampant reports that being fat equals automatic heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes, it’s simply not true for lots of people. Studies are coming out all of the time that disprove the “Fat is Always Bad” prejudice.

Unfortunately, what we have in this country is a media monster. This monster spreads misinformation so pervasively and so routinely that few people ever take the time to question, let alone challenge the assertions being made by these misinformed souls. One of the falsities that the media perpetuates is that being fat is universally bad or will lead to bad things down the road. Not true.

We all know that life is much more complex than soundbites and selling news would have us believe, isn’t it? There are way more nuances across the wide spectrum called human health than these media monsters portray. I encourage you all to dig a little deeper. Like anything in life, there are extremes at either end of a particular spectrum. And, unfortunately, these extremes are the most cited as, Du-Du-Dum! Evidence by the media monster.

But, most of us are in the middle somewhere and we know that “the middle” does not sell newspapers, television shows, or magazines. Yes, some people who are fat suffer from the results of that bodily state, but fat does not automatically equal unhealthy and sad, nor does thin automatically equal healthy and happy.

It takes all kinds of shapes, sizes, and experiences to be human and we all have a relevance to the human collective. Bodies are merely vehicles for the exploration of spirit. Your body is the way it is for a reason. If your body didn’t need to be fat or thin, it wouldn’t be. So. There. You’re free. Go forth in your new-found freedom, forget the size of your body, move into soul, find ways to be healthier every day, and be the bad-ass human you came here to be. We’re counting on you.

twoI’ve talked about this before in other posts, but being plus size is an invisibility cloak.  You can get away with alot of shi*t as a fat person. I test this all of the time and it always makes me laugh. As big as I am, I can get in and out of places without ever being seen. It’s the coolest phenomena. I literally walk right past people who, because of what I can only guess are their own prejudices and general insecurity about their body size, do not see me. And, this, my friends, comes in really, really handy. For example, when wanting to merely run into a store and grab something quick without a long, protracted discussion or “connection” with someone, being fat is awesome. It’s freedom. People don’t look at me. And, you know what, that’s okay. I actually like stealth mode.

No fighting to be seen. No more getting other people to validate me or even acknowledge my existence. I get to practice being enough for myself, break the dependency between myself and others, and push deeper into my own psyche, my own healing. It’s liberating.

So. If you’re fat, try to have some fun with it. Know that you are broadcasting an energy beam around the issue and if you look for disapproval in the world, you will find it. If you instead look for ways to validate yourself every day, eventually you will have self-esteem and you will manifest approval from the world in lots of ways. If you can, try to laugh as much as possible and know that other people do not matter one little eensy bit. It’s YOUR opinion that counts. Be stealth. And, giggle. Alot.

threeIf we are totally, totally honest with ourselves and we dig past the societal biases that we’ve maybe absorbed about fat, I bet more than a few of us would be very surprised to realize that we actually like a little cushioning versus bones or rock-hard muscle. Fat is very, very comforting. It’s silly; it jiggles and wiggles. It’s fun to grab and poke and handle. Fat is pleasing to us psychologically because it’s about nurturing; it’s about the mama, being held, being warm, and gently soothed. Fat is comfortable, encircling, engulfing, and just a delightful, never-ending softness. Fat definitely broadcasts a message of fertility, abundance, and pleasure.

This fat phobia of ours is a very recent cultural phenom. Up until the 1920s when the country was becoming enthralled with industry, being a bit fat was okay. Farm people were fatter. They needed to be to work the fields. Women were expected to be fat because they made babies. But, with the choke-hold of the industrial revolution, came the idolization of the “machine”, the “hard”, the “thin”, and along with it swept in the idolization of a thinner body type.

The thing is, world-wide, until modern times, fat has always been viewed as wealth, abundance, comfort, and something to celebrate. This fat phobia of ours is a modern construct. It’s time to be honest. If you don’t like fat, ask yourself why. Do a little digging around in your psyche. But, ask yourself if your ideas about body structure are truly your own or if you have absorbed the ideas from other people. Touch your fat and see what comes up for you. Journal about it. Ask and ask and ask. I bet you’ll be surprised by the journey. Oh, and READ THIS BOOK that I blogged about early on in the life of BBB. You gotta read this book; it will change your ideas about Fat. Guaranteed.

There are many more very real, life-affirming benefits of being fat, but ultimately, this blog is not advocating that people become fat. I’m advocating for the journey toward self-esteem, regardless of how you look or what your bodily conditions are. I’m advocating for self-acceptance because I want us, as a species, to accept others, expand our consciousness, and become healthy. I want us all to be well-fed, happy, and taking responsibility. I want us to own our power, be a force of good on this earth, and love. I want us to love. Even our fat.

 

Creepy Crawlies in the Skin

Warning: If super tiny, ugly-ass microbial creatures in the eyelashes and/or skin of the face give you the willies, do not read any further, because this post is, embarrassingly, rife with them. I venture that you are probably about to ask: “Does BigLizzy have no shame?” For the record, I don’t. And, this post will prove it. So, buckle up, my peeps. It’s about to get kinda gross.

Flash-back to six months ago:

I wake up and notice a small red blotch on my left cheek near my eye. I’m thinking…hmmm…adult acne? (even though I have never had a zit on my face in my life). I possibly scratched myself in my sleep? My glasses are resting on my cheek and causing some irritation? My Rosacea is back? An allergy to soap or my sunscreen? Strange.

So, as any dutiful body owner, I watch the spot over the course of a week. It worsens and then seems to get better; it seems to get a bit less “verbose” and violently colored. All the same, I have an appointment with my doctor for my annual physical the next week, so I ask her about it when I’m there. She says it looks like a staph infection and wants me to go on an antibiotic. I demure. I hate antibiotics. She agrees to give me a topical instead, which I try. It gets better, but never really goes away completely. So vexing!

I simply watch the spot. It cycles through getting better and then worse, better then worse. I mention it to my doctor again after several months. She utters the dreaded, “Possible basal cell (gasp!) carcinoma” and refers me to a dermatologist. It’s a four-week wait to see the dude, this being Arizona, after all, and one of the top skin cancer spots in the world, so you don’t just walk into a derm and get seen on the spot.

I wait the four weeks to see the derm, convinced that it’s skin cancer and why not? I NEVER used sunscreen until five years ago. In fact, as a kid, it was standard practice to slather oneself with a bevvy of skin-sizzling products (Hawaiian Tropics, anyone?) and sit on a beach for 8-10 hours per day, for at least two days per week. I never protected my skin until I moved to AZ and started noticing the age spots. (Oh, for shame! How I loathe the decisions I made in the past when it came to my skin. Sigh.)

Well, I went to the derm a few days ago. I bet you can guess the punch line. It’s not skin cancer. It’s a condition that often affects people with rosacea and experts don’t know why there is such a link between rosacea sufferers and this condition. But, there is and naturally, I have it.

Apparently, all mammals have these eensy tiny mites called demodex that live on their hair follicles. In humans, they are most often found among our eyelashes. These mites do their thing and we never, ever notice them. Welllll, in rosacea patients, these mites go NUTS and take up residence in the skin’s sebaceous glands, which are connected to the hair follicles. Lovely. That’s where the mighty mites have mass-orgies of procreation (unlike in non-rosacea people) and cause severe skin irritation. Enter my face and with it, all kinds of odd feelings as a result.

Um...hello, little creepers.

Um…hello, little creepers.

By the way: I’ll refrain from telling you the gory details of the microscopic terrain of the human body. You can well imagine the *shudder-worthy* information I have drummed up over the past few days. It’s pretty revolting. I’m trying hard to accept it. But, suffice it to say, there is some really, really gross stuff going on below our level of awareness. I’m now even more germ-phobic than before. HA!

The bottom line is that even though this happens to lots of people and there is nothing I could have done to prevent it, obviously, and no matter how “clean” someone is, it happens. The thing is: it’s seriously messing with my head (and, well, my skin, too!).

I’m so super creeped out by this. I actually feel embarrassed about it and am wondering where this “pile o’ shame” is coming from. Childhood, obviously. Gawd, even more work to do on myself. But, dang-it. It’s very uncomfortable to be here. So, naturally, I decided to blog about it. Hahahahahahha!

Hey, I’m a pathologically clean girl. I use only pure-grade essential oils on my skin. I take SUPER GOOD CARE of myself. I bathe daily. I floss and brush daily. I work out daily. I’m a fanatic about caring for my body, mind, and soul. Hell, I’m germ-phobic, for poop’s sake. (ha, ha!) So, what the shiz, demodex? Um, more like: DEMONdex. You SUCK and, no, I will not be Buddhist in dealing with you. Nope, I ain’t that evolved. You will die. I will see to it.

By the way, this condition is not something one spreads to others, so if you worry that I’m going to leave a microscopic pile of bugs on your collar when I hug you, it’s not gonna happen. LOL! These babies are having a blast in my ecosystem and will not emigrate to other people. Besides, you all have your own demodex anyway.

So, cut to the present. I’m at war with these tiny creepers and dousing their villages with tea tree oil. Apparently, I’ll have to use lots of patience, too, because once they go nuts like this (and let’s face it, much like the human race), there is little controlling them. Okay, well. I’m off to nuke some mites, my friends.

Bodies are sometimes really weird. Can I get an amen?

Guest Post: Yoga Saved Me from Body Hatred

This is a guest post by the darling Jen at Yoga-Moods.com. Jen and I have connected deeply on our mutual love of yoga and the body. On her highly informative, wonderful, and serene blog, she writes about the precious gift that is yoga and how it is helping her and others live richer, fuller lives. So, my BBB friends, let’s show Jen some love for so bravely exploring her transformation from body-hater to body-lover.

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Hello! I’m so honored that Liz invited me to write a post for Big Body Beautiful! I hope that my words resonate with you and perhaps help someone who is searching for a way to deep self-love.

For many years, I struggled with self-hate. I didn’t realize that’s what it was at the time. It was more a feeling of the world being against me. I see it clearly now, though. I didn’t love myself enough. I was painfully shy as a kid and I felt inferior to my peers. I remember the first day of kindergarten feeling so overwhelmed by everyone around me. I felt different from the rest of them.  While they laughed and chatted freely with each other, I shrank into the background, feeling as if I didn’t fit in. My red hair and freckles set me apart. I felt ugly and cursed my uniqueness. I was uncomfortable when called on in class. I surely couldn’t have anything valuable to contribute. Anxiety exuded from me and others felt it, too. This exacerbated the problem. Kids teased me, bullied me, and sometimes simply ignored me. I felt left out and diminished. I truly believed there was something wrong with me – and it started with my looks. Thankfully, I was blessed with real friends who accepted me and celebrated my individuality. But, that wasn’t enough to change my opinion of myself. I cringe to think how much easier things could have been had I discovered then what I know now: self-love is necessary for happiness!  Cultivating self-love is crucial in order to serve your purpose and live your dreams.

I remember as a second-grader sizing myself up in a full-length mirror.  My body is OK, I thought, but my face and hair? Terrible!  When I was 12, a family member asked me why my belly wasn’t flat like my friend’s after a day at the beach. I often heard this person bemoaning her own “thunder thighs,” saying I was lucky that I took after Dad. She often talked about how many of the women in her own family thought of themselves as ugly, though most of them were quite beautiful in reality. Still, the message was that my stomach was “too flabby” at age 12. I wish I could have ignored this comment, but it cut me to the core. For years, I focused so much on that belly wishing it would shrink. I starved myself. I berated myself. I did sit-ups and crunches like there was no tomorrow! My family then worried that I was getting “too thin.”

Despite having boyfriends who were clearly attracted to me, I still compared myself to models. I was unhappy with my face, my hair, my breasts, my butt…. One time, a boyfriend remarked how sexy my “potbelly” was, and instead of taking it as a compliment, I fell further into self-destruction. Strict diets, outrageous exercise routines, and constant self-criticism ruled my life.  It didn’t get me anywhere except unhealthy. Not to mention, I was thin – talk about body dysmorphic disorder. And, I was so focused on myself I couldn’t possibly serve others, which was always my life’s goal.

And then, something miraculous happened. I discovered yoga! It was, quite literally, as if a light shone down from the heavens! I felt as if I had found the key to life. Yoga has healed me in so many ways; I’d need to write an entire book to scratch the surface. But, the most important way yoga healed me was in allowing me to cultivate true self-love and acceptance. I got physically healthy in a gentle way, pushing myself to my limits but being kind to myself when I needed rest. I gained strength, which led to confidence. I had found a refuge – my yoga mat or my meditation cushion – where I could put everything else aside for a while and just be. All of this led to a profound self-love, which continues to grow and enhance my life today.

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Years of asana practice helped me tune in to my body’s capabilities, strengths, and needs. I discovered I could do things I never would’ve believed. When I mastered a new pose, it was an instant confidence boost. Yoga helped me finally come to peace with my body, and to actually develop that more toned stomach I always yearned for. It helped me begin to make healthier choices in my diet, my lifestyle, and with whom I surrounded myself. It helped me to accept that, as a woman, my body is constantly changing. My weight will fluctuate, I will experience break-outs, I may not always feel energized, and that’s all OK. Under it all, I am a beautiful soul, perfect and complete. When I focus on this, and my “connectedness” with others (which yoga also encourages), I am much more happy and productive. Every day I practice asana. Whether it’s a 90-minute class, a few sun salutations, or a quick break at work, it is a part of my life. If, for some reason, I can’t do my asana practice, though, I don’t worry about it. It’s not a chore; it’s a joy. I do it because I love it, and I do it for the continual benefits it brings.

Asana practice alone, however, I’m not sure would’ve done the trick. Dedicated meditation practice (also a major part of yoga, though we often think of yoga as physical) was also essential. Meditation took me to the depths of my soul and back. It was difficult, and I encountered things I’d have preferred to keep hidden. I emerged from meditation in tears on more than one occasion, but it was worth the effort. Over time, a deep, profound love developed inside of me. Love filled my entire being and overflowed into the world. Love sustains me every day and has enhanced my relationships. I confronted my deepest fears and allowed things to arise in my consciousness that I wasn’t fully aware were affecting my daily life. My self-limiting beliefs became very clear and I started working on changing them.

yoga_buddhaRegular meditation practice and checking in with myself, with love, keeps me steady, confident, and calm.  As much as possible, I wake up every day and meditate for 20 minutes.  I try to do the same when I come home from work. If I miss a day, I don’t fret, I just continue the following day. I take the meditation off the cushion, as well, engaging in mindful walks, eating, listening to music, creating art, making love….The list goes on. Just being present wherever I am. Meditation gives the gift of mindfulness that seeps into all areas of life. It trains us to bring ourselves into the present moment, the only moment during which we can act. This precludes worry and anxiety and allows us to truly enjoy living! Namaste, my friends!

Life without a Uterus

Many of us have lost various parts due to disease, injury, or less-than-healthy conditions. It’s a sad fact that we humans spend years ruining our bodies. No matter how healthy our behaviors or how much we run each week (not me, mind you), stuff still breaks or dies or changes. We accept this gradual (and sometimes immediate) decay as a condition of life and regardless of where you fall in the spectrum of beliefs, your body will eventually fail. It really sucks, but this is the gig of being human.

In the last year or so, I’ve conversed with several women who lost their girl parts and in fall 2012, I, myself had life-threatening challenges with menopausal bleeding, a huge blood clot in my right leg, and multiple lung embolisms in both lungs. While I didn’t lose my darling uterus (her name is Uti, by the way), because I fought hard to keep her, I did end up having emergency gall bladder surgery. My gall bladder was named Gill, as in “Gill Bladder”. And, I miss him so much. Honestly, I’m still processing everything that happened during that time. But, that’s a story for another post. 🙂

This post is in response to a recent conversation I had with a sister-blogger, Joanne from Food Gurly. (Side note: Be sure to check her out; she’s got a mad-awesome blog that makes my stummy growl every time I go over there). Anyway, Joanne was telling me about some of her health challenges from 2007. I mentioned to her that I know of a great way to help with the loss of a body part (or any bodily condition that’s not to one’s liking) and I promised to share it.atom

So, how can we better cope with the loss of an organ or body part (or deal with sickness)? Two words: energy medicine. What is energy medicine? Chiefly, it is a variety of methods that work with the body’s energy anatomy or the etheric body to release blockages, create greater flow of Chi through the body’s meridians, and improve conditions or in lots of cases, outright heal diseases.

Evidence suggests that when we get to the point where we have lost an organ, it is due to chronic blockage in energy flow in one or more areas of the body. Blockages often result from habitual low-frequency or damaging thoughts and beliefs, less-than-ideal diet, lack of exercise, dehydration, stress, and so on. All bad stuff. And, it happens to the best of us.

Energy medicine encompasses a wide variety of ancient modalities from different cultures; most of it greatly predates Christianity and Western medicine and has been used successfully for countless numbers of people over thousands of years. Energy medicine, also known as “Eastern medicine”, is the umbrella term for working with: chakras, energy meridians, acupuncture, reflexology, Ayurveda, Shiatsu, distant and hands-on healing, Reiki, sacred geometry, color and sound healing, magnetism, homeopathy, intentional healing, and more.

Our bodies are electromagnetic or energy. Everything in the universe is made up of energy or vibrating particles. Every bit of matter, including our bodies, is an active soup of swirling energy that expresses itself as patterns, information, sound, thought, etc., but none of it is actually solid. Everything is comprised of subatomic particles that move and interact and change constantly and which make up the seemingly solid planet and all of its “stuff”.

Energy medicine works on the level of the subtle body, or the energy body to clear blockages. It is a holistic approach, in that it treats the entire physical organism, not just parts of a physical system and it really works to clear the pathways that are vital to greater health and well-being.

I’m in no way qualified to advise you on actual exercises for activating or working with the subtle bodies, but I can give you pointers to some awesome resources and a first-hand account of how it’s worked for me. I’ve been taking a class for a few weeks now on the meridians and WOW! What an incredible experience this has been. Seriously, with some very easy and fast exercises, many of which don’t even involve touching the skin, I’ve had huge shifts in my energy stream. I can feel the changes. I can feel my energy flowing through my body in an even greater capacity and I feel so much more vibrant and alive. While doing the exercises, I get radiating chills up and down my body. I can feel heat building in certain spots and a truly succulent flush of energy through me the entire time; it’s wonderful. And, all with just the use of my two hands, help from some cool chicks in class, and a loving, wonderful body-worker/instructor/healer, Teri Starr.

I encourage you all to explore this further and see how it works for you. Following are excellent resources on energy medicine. FYI- I actually own all of the books and resources listed here and have read them/used them, so I can vouch for their “goodness”. 🙂

How to be Obnoxiously In Love with Your Body

The following was a guest post that I did last July for Outlier Collective, which is now gone (Booo! I miss my friends over there very much), so I decided to re-post it because it’s a perfect representation of the BBB philosophy and is hopefully, helpful. 🙂

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Picture this: A woman, say, in her late 40s, standing in front of a full-length mirror. This woman is grey-haired, heavy-built. She’s looking at her body, up and down and smiling, widely. She giggles, reaches down with both hands and grabs her full, chunky belly, squeezing it as she says to herself: “You are so friggen’ adorable!” This woman clearly loves her body and relishes its size, shape, and bearing. She’s clearly happy with how she looks and loves her girth, despite the fact that her body is “socially stigmatized” as undesirable, unattractive, and unhealthy by large segments of the population. She doesn’t care; at bottom, it doesn’t matter. She is fat. And, she’s completely fine with it. In fact, she’s madly, obnoxiously in love with her body.

Does this scenario seem improbable, maybe even impossible? It’s not. This demonstration of body-love is real and anyone can attain this state of being, regardless of circumstance, body state, fitness, appearance, or health. How do I know this? I’ve done it. The woman that I described above is me. And, if I can do it, anyone can do it.

How did I get to a place where I’m obnoxiously in love with my body? It wasn’t easy, I tell you. It took me years and years to get here. I write about it often on my blog. Ultimately, I think that I got sick of fighting. I got tired of dominating my body and criticizing her and measuring every mouthful of food and obsessing over how I looked. I got sick of caring what other people thought of me. I just got worn down by the struggle and the negative emotions, but beyond all of that, I wanted peace. I deeply wanted happiness. I didn’t want to feel so bad all of the time. I wanted to like my body and relax. I finally, finally let go, dropped my arms, and decided that if I had to be big (like my body so clearly wanted to be), I had to stay healthy. That was my only goal, my only concern, my only rule. And, I’m perfectly healthy, vibrant, active, and thrillingly alive at 5′ 5″ and 245 pounds. My blood pressure is always 110 over 60. I feel and look great.

So, why would any of us want to fall obnoxiously in love with our bodies? Lots of reasons. Primarily, acceptance. Acceptance of the self and others. Acceptance that the body is an integral part of our experience here as human beings and a vital tool, an important element in how we expand as spiritual beings. Without the body, we cannot do the work that we, as souls, crave doing and have come here to do.

At the periphery of our minds, we know that our lives mean something far bigger than our day-to-day concerns and struggles. We know there is a reason we are here. We know that we really should love our bodies, and yet so, so many of us hate our bodies or dislike key aspects of our physiques. So many of us, particularly women, struggle with the body and suffer, truly suffer over how our bodies look, measure up, or perform. Men have this affliction, too, but women. Oh, women. We are largely miserable creatures when it comes to the body. Women are so hard on themselves and by proxy, other women. It does not help that we have these plastic, air-brushed, and computer-manipulated images of “perfect bodies” barraging us from every flat surface.

We, as a species, so dislike the body that we have thousands, maybe millions, of industries devoted to altering, reducing, beautifying, and fixing it. Everything from drastic, brutal methods, such as compulsive exercise, plastic surgery, liposuction, and chemical peels to the less-severe skin and hair treatments, adornment, and concealing clothing. We so dislike our bodies that we mostly will not show what “real bodies” actually look like in advertising, films, art, and other media. This is, thankfully shifting in recent years, but we, for the most part, honor bodies that are not real or representative of the vast majority. We honor the seamless, the young, the endlessly underfed and photo-shopped aliens who peer placidly from the pages of fashion magazines and reality TV shows. So, when your body does not follow the socially agreed-upon convention of beauty, what then? You begin to despise it and this happens at a very early age in this culture.

I really believe that most people want to feel better, happier, more centered, balanced, and loving. Falling in love with your body is an excellent way to increase positive thoughts and emotions. Falling in love with your body is a perfect way to live a richer, happier, and more loving existence. It’s not easy to get there, but loving your body and honoring its needs, rhythms, messages, and life apart from you, the consciousness inhabiting it, is a delicious way to get deeper into why you are here as a human being. I argue that mankind cannot advance to his greatest potential without a healthy love or respect for the body.

So, how does one do this? Start small. Following are three ways to start falling obnoxiously in love with your body.

  • Start with your thoughts and beliefs. Think about the beliefs, thoughts, and ideas that you have about your body. Where did these opinions come from and who influenced your ideas about the body? Think about your shape, fitness, and health. Are you happy when you think of your body or less than joyous? What are you wanting from your body that you do not have now? Think about it. Then, you can try sitting down and writing it all out. Write down how you feel about your body and how you want to feel. Do this so you can create a dialog with yourself and get comfortable thinking about your beliefs. Our beliefs hugely influence the way that we look. Yes, genetics plays a role and also environmental factors, but nothing affects the body greater than thought. If you can get to a place where you can more quickly pin-point an idea that does not serve you, you can change it.
  • Understand that our cultural ideas about beauty have nothing to do with reality. I’m sorry, but women have cellulite. Women make babies. It’s a fact of life. We need some pudge. We need curves. Whoever came along and decided that cellulite was ugly and had to be air-brushed out probably had body issues, but that doesn’t mean that we have to accept this opinion. Nor do we have to shame our bodies because they don’t measure up to some false ideal of beauty. That is a choice that many of us make, but we can change it. Bodies are varied and multi-faceted and miraculous. Bodies serve us in the exact dimensions that we need in order to expand as spiritual beings. Sometimes those bodies need to be big and dense and sometimes small and light. It takes all kinds of bodies to make all of this living work. So, realize that the opinions we are being fed by way of the media are simply opinions of others, are to be heavily questioned, and do not have to be accepted.
  • Realize that you are an electromagnetic being and a powerful creator here in this body. Your body is vital to the process of your expansion. The body is doing exactly what you have commanded of it by way of your thoughts and behaviors. If you continually crab about the shape of your body guess what you are concentrating on through your attention—the current shape of your body. This focus on the negative disallows any number of other realities of which your body is capable, because you are focused, with your thinking, on the problem, not the solution. Try instead to sit quietly for five to ten minutes per day and think of all the things that you appreciate about your current body. Send your body loving thoughts. Maybe you like your toned arms. Well, tell your body that. Maybe you love your skin. Tell that to your body. Have a discussion with your body. Ask it what it wants and needs. Even if you do not “hear” anything in response, know that you are creating bridges of understanding between your consciousness and your body and its particular consciousness. Be willing to listen and this will create huge openings inside of you. You will start to feel better, slowly, but surely.

This is what I know: all of us can change our minds and learn to love our bodies. We have ultimate power and control over what we think, feel, and how we react to life’s circumstances. All of us can decide to change our thinking and thus, our beliefs about our bodies (or any topic). We do not have to hate or be critical of our bodies. We can choose love and appreciation. If we choose to facilitate a deeper love and respect for our bodies, lots of positive things will result. The most important of them: you feel better and you have more happiness. Consider falling madly in love with your body just as it is and see how your life unfolds. Just watch the universe mirror that love and appreciation back to you.