Walking in the woods, hiking small trails only served one purpose for me- a reminder of all the ways my body was wrong. All of the ways that it was disgusting, unhealthy, wheezy. Red. To face such deep shame, to give it a voice outside of myself felt too hard, and so I slowly constructed lies around my aversion for the outdoors and I told these stories for so long that I started to believe them.
“I don’t like hiking. I mean, you walk around a bunch and then what… nothing.”
“I like nature. From the inside. Through the window. With a coffee. Otherwise, I don’t get it.”
But the truth was that anytime I moved my body, I felt disgust. I felt like my body was oozing from everywhere. I would be so sweaty and sticky and breathless and red. My nose would run down my face, my body would itch from the inside out like it was trying to claw its way out of me. In my mind, these were sure signs that I was ugly. fat. unhealthy. undesirable. undeserving.
Overtime, that shame and neglect of my body developed into a significant digestive issue that dictated my life for over 10 years. I couldn’t trust her to not let me down and leave me embarrassed. I couldn’t stray far from spaces with public access bathrooms. Nights out with friends became painful. I was anxious and exhausted all the time.
All of that pain and anger became too much, and it was over five years ago when I decided to devote myself to healing my relationship with my body.
It’s taken serious self-love to heal my body and feel comfortable in her and the journey continues into today. As an added bonus, the Universe delivered unto me a group of women who are my soul sisters AND passionate about the outdoors and moving their bodies. It’s taken many years of me trudging behind them in shameful fury for me to finally see the beauty that lives outside our walls.
Flash forward to this July. I’m hiking through the woods in silence alone, marveling at all the messages my body is sending me that would have me embarrassed or disgusted in the past.
This summer has required a lot of me, emotionally and spiritually. I am calling forward immense amounts of emotional resiliency and for the first time, I truly recognized my body as my fiercest ally. She is the embodiment of all my wisdom, and we can only get through this time if we support one another.
I’m fully feeling the runny nose, and the itchy body, and the sweat. And I’m just in awe of her.
Sometimes eating the right thing feels too hard. And sometimes sitting around and watching Netflix feels too easy. And being mad and being a victim used to be just right. But to show up as the biggest, boldest version of myself requires more. My body requires it. We require it.
When we’re in highly emotional and stress-filled times, that energy needs to move out of our bodies so it doesn’t stay trapped in our physiology. It’s my body’s way of taking care of herself throughout this challenging time, and I can meet her there.
The emotions, the trauma, the exhaustion, the overwhelm. It all needs to come out. And while I huff and puff my way up and down these wooded trails, I become lighter. Clearer. Ready for what comes next.
To fully lean into the disconnect that I had created between myself and my body has opened me up to a new capacity for love without conditions. Some days are easier than others, and that is the dance of being a soul having a human experience.
Our bodies are a fucking miracle. If we can heed their wisdom, they will take care of us. What is she telling you today? To move more? Breathe more? Eat more? Sleep more?
Breathe. Listen. Act.
As a program, the Desire Map asks us to look at all areas of our life: body and wellness, creativity and learning, essence and spirituality, livelihood and lifestyle and relationship and society. But often, we can’t really see how it is that we can use this powerful tool to actually create the change we desire in our own lives.
Today, I want to talk to you about my relationship with my body and wellness. As an individual, I can say that this part of my journey has been very painful for me. As a woman, I can say that I know I do not stand alone in this. Women the world over are journeying with their bodies everyday and there are days that are really really ugly, and days of immense joy.
I know that throughout my life, I’ve related to my body in a detached way. I’ve long felt that my body was my biggest source of betrayal, the part of me that wouldn’t submit, that I couldn’t conquer. The shadow place within me that lead me down paths that veered far away from where I wanted to be, and instead drove me to the darkest places within myself. Fear. Anger. Shame. Guilt. Disgust.
These feelings permeated my body story. They dictated my relationship to my body, to food and to my own wellness. They distracted me from enjoying my life. They limited me, not just physically but mentally and emotionally in my relationship to others, my relationship to myself and my relationship to my higher work. And, after decades, when they were done ripping me apart, they seated themselves in my heart. My body and wellness became the untouchable story. My greatest failure and shame. And I truly believed that the story ended there. I decided that I was no longer going to be at war with my body, and I accepted defeat. I became apathetic. Decades of being overweight, years of exhausting and debilitating digestive issues. The final blow had been delivered in the form of a diabetes diagnosis, the disease that had taken my father.
I was done. I wasn’t surrendering to any higher power. I laid down, I suffocated my emotions in my own stories of victimhood. I packaged up all my guilt and shame about my body and stuffed it into a giant box in a bid to just forget about the whole thing. I took my medications and just went on with my life. I continued down my soul path, doing my own work but ignoring my embodied manifestation on this earth.
But it turns out that my path cannot be followed without addressing my body and wellness. She simply wouldn’t let me go. My stories taunted me daily.
My body screamed at me for attention but all I heard was war songs.
It was shortly after this time that I dove fully into the Desire Map process. And through that process had been forced to take a really hard look at how I was feeling in my body again. At the same time, a new path was making waves in my soul. New layers of understanding my own healing path were opening up before me to witness. And so a new way emerged, a new desire to be with my physical body and to understand her so that we could heal together. The foundation for this new way of being were my core desired feelings (CDFs). For the first time, I started seeing my body as my ally, then as my friend, then as fully me. I stopped hearing her war drums and started feeling into her fears.
The night that my CDFs came to me I was filled with awe. I was overwhelmed by their beauty and resonance. And they still get me… every time. And I’ve used them to steer me down my own path.
I wanted to feel still— like I could stop searching externally. I wanted to feel full— of grace, of peace, of knowing that I was enough. And I wanted to feel radiant— I wanted my body and soul to sing. And concentrating on these feelings led to great shifts. For the first time, I started seeing my body as my ally, then as my friend, then as fully me. I stopped hearing her war drums and heard her cries for the first time. And it has changed me.
Tomorrow I want to share with you all just how I’ve used these three words on my own healing path.
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