What is my relationship with my own body? Honest answer: it's complicated. Sometimes I'm gentle with and nurturing of my body. Other times I punish my body with workouts. Sometimes I truly listen to my body and take a break. Other times I send loathsome messages to my belly. It's back and forth and day to day. But there are many more days when I'm gentle and kind. And every night, without fail, I massage my feet (with deep gratitude) before bed. I'm exceptionally thankful for everything my body does for me. And yet (sigh).
During this week's Inner-Excavation read-along, Liz encourages us to take self-portraits, and to be especially present with our bodies; see our bodies, write about our bodies, BE in our bodies. I've done much self-portraiture in the last 6 months. After some initial discomfort, I now find it a freeing, creative process. So I mindlessly dove into this week's activity: "I can do self portraits; this doesn't scare me; I've confronted all my demons; let's take some backyard snaps right now!"
I charged into the backyard, and was immediately self-conscious; my neighbor was outside doing yard work. But an answer quickly formed in my head: "You're beyond that, Joy. You're free. Just do your thing." (At this point I did not recognize the voice was ego, not authentic Joy. In fact, Joy was in a very tender space.) I took many self-timer photos and thought I enjoyed myself. Yet there was a nagging feeling of doubt. When I came inside to view the pictures, I saw myself as flabby, awkward, not attractive, and silly. I felt shame. I sobbed. Such is the complicated nature of my relationship with my body. I feel strong one day, and the next I feel like a bulging fake.
So what a wonderful reminder that we never wrap up all our issues; we never face all our demons. Actually, life is a spiral of inner-work, where we often revisit the same issues, but from a different perspective. And it's all okay.