Today was one of those days that I reflected on and saw how far things have come for me in the last 5-6 years. There has been a monumental shift in so many pieces of my life. It may look the same on the outside to some people, but on the inside so much has changed. That’s part of it getting unstuck, is the reflection for what has happened and what you want to happen.
As I was reflecting this week, a theme kept coming about with a few of my clients. We were talking about being in awe and wonder of the body.
Now this may seem like a trivial piece of our health, but let me tell you it is crucial.
When I was a young girl- maybe 10-11, I remember looking down at my legs with such disdain and hearing that critical voice in my head berating me about the way my legs looked. I remember being so horrified at what I saw. I said out loud to my father “My legs are so fat” — I had so many messages of what my body was supposed to look like even at that age (and without the internet and we didn’t even have cable in our home!) I knew that legs were supposed to look like they did in the magazines and my legs did NOT look like that. I was disgusted with myself. And it wasn’t just my legs. I remember very specifically hating the way my feet looked. I just could not stand them!
These are just two examples of the critical voice inside my head that was telling me how I was not good enough, wrong, and not up to the standards of beauty, smarts, humor, etc that I was supposed to be.
That voice was always telling me there was something wrong with me.
For years I believed that voice. I believed that there was really something wrong with my body, my brain, and my heart. Slowly, I began learning that that voice was just a voice in my head that wasn’t very kind to me. Slowly I learned that I could have a different conversation in my head. I learned to reassure myself when I was feeling bad. I could give compassion to the part of me that was trying so hard. I began to see things differently.
I started practicing mindfulness, gratitude and shifting my perspective. Slowly, I began to see how to shift from living my life in conversation with the critical voice in my head to one of kindness and compassion. I started seeing things differently. When I was on retreat learning to teach mindfulness, I remember going through the body scan and bringing gratitude for my legs and feet walking me wherever I wanted to go. I FELT the feeling of gratitude. I could begin to have the perspective of awe and wonder. I felt the awe and wonder of how amazing the human body is. Shortly after that, I remember going to yoga class and being in a shoulder stand and seeing my toes and thinking “Hello toes. You are so cute!” And it hit me like a bolt of lightning. I no longer had hate for my feet. I could now have compassion for myself and be in awe of my body.
And look this didn’t happen over night for me, but it did happen. I practiced having a different relationship with my body and myself. But it didn’t stop there. I was able to practice awe and wonder with everything in my environment. Am I blissed out all the time and in awe of everything? Ha! No! I’m forget, go unconscious and complain just like the rest of us.
And, I have my moments of being aware of the share amazement that I’m BREATHING. That I’m alive and that this human body is a miracle. The fact that we have the internet and computers is a miracle! That someone had the brilliance to take ginger root and put it in hot water for ginger tea. That salsa exists! How lucky am I that I get to live in a world where there are dogs and cats that live in our homes. And that Flowers bloom each spring! It’s amazing. Life is really amazing!
That’s living in awe and wonder. It can change the way you think and your experience of LIFE. If it feels like too much to be in awe and wonder of your body, that’s ok. Start with one thing you can be grateful for and see if you can be in awe of that thing. How do you do it? Pick one thing that you are grateful for right now or something that is just amazing to you. It could be your morning beverage, or the feeling of the sun on your face. It could be that your hands can type! Or that your ears can hear. Or it could be in awe of something like that plants know to bloom every year. That Penguins know where to return to have babies. That birds know how to build nests. I’m amazed that these things exist in the world. They are here right now for me to learn about! And I get to experience them!
My 8th grade science teacher would stand up in front of the room and say “Isn’t nature wonderful?!” At the time, I didn’t get it- how was he so happy about how frogs were made on the inside? Now I get it, and I share it with my students at the University and I share it with my clients. You too can be in awe of everything that surrounds you. Try it, and I bet it will bring about so many positive emotions in your life you’ll be in awe and wonder of those too.
Are you willing to be uncomfortable? Society tries to shy away from being uncomfortable and it creates stagnation. While trying something new or shifting to a healthier lifestyle may be uncomfortable at first, it won’t stay that way. It will become easier. In this episode I talk about how important it is to be uncomfortable in order to create good change in our lives and how best to handle that discomfort.
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