Today, I've got something special for you! Alicia from JayBird and Rachel from Tossing The Script have asked a series of beautiful, thought-provoking questions (and I've thrown in an extra one for good measure!) as part of the Love Your Body link-up, and they got me thinking...
What does 'loving your body' really mean?
Why is loving ourselves (and our bodies) a struggle?
How can we love ourselves, right now?
Questions that I hope to have unearthed (or, at least, shed some light on):
How do you define confidence?
Unapologetically accepting who you are - the light, the dark, and everything in between. Choosing love over fear. Deeply knowing who you are. Believing in your value + worth. Knowing what is true, listening to your intuition, and radiating that truth out into the world, without seeking external validation.
Describe an experience that made you feel strong + connected to your body. Why was it so powerful?
Movement ignites a strong connection to my body, always. It's more than having a workout routine, or slugging away at the gym looking for instantaneous physical results, movement has become a radical self-care practice. A way to lovingly practice compassion for myself and stir up stagnant energy within my body.
Without a doubt, nothing has made me feel more strong and connected than yoga has. It is literally changing my life. A powerful statement, but true. I made a pact with myself and declared 2014 as the year that I would dedicate myself to developing a regular practice. Something in me shifted. There were weeks when I'd fall 'behind', but I would always come back, roll out my mat, surrender, and show up.
Rather than looking at dedicated yogis and think, "Why can't I do that?" or "I'll never be that good/ flexible/ strong.", I became inspired and empowered. I can do that. I'm going to get there. I am strong and dedicated and I am showing up. Regardless of the fact that I was sitting at square one. I would get there.
Even if I couldn't move deeply into poses. Even if I struggled. Even if I fell right over. Even if tears dropped to the mat.
There's something completely and totally invigorating about hopping into inversions. Headstands, forearm stands, handstands. I began rocky at best. If I felt frustrated, I'd quickly took that as a sign that I needed to drop back into my body and accept where I was. For weeks all I could do was hop. The moment when my body launched itself into a supported handstand, my heart practically leapt for joy.
This weekend, I opted to give it a go without a wall to support me. I dropped into downward dog, slowed my breath, and visualized myself lifting my legs into a headstand. I got into position bringing complete awareness to my body. Hop, hop, hop, fall. (Epic falls, I might add.)
Until I did it. And I did it again.
I am strong and connected to my body. And bloody hell, that is one of the best feelings there is.
What is one thing about your body that you love unconditionally or have worked to love over time?
Moment-to-moment acceptance. That is what I practice. I spent hours (literally) working to love my body, logging in cardio hours, tallying steps taken, counting reps, increasing weight. My worth was tied up in how hard and how many hours I spent at the gym. Even at my fittest, I felt flawed.
Getting caught up in what's happening 'out there' leaves us forcing, pushing, striving, and scrambling for results. We're left, vulnerable and exposed, feeling less-than, in a constant state of comparison, and often, energetically drained. We're chasing a target that we'll never hit - the elusive pull of perfection.
It's not until we do the inner work that life begins to unfold beautifully. That's not to say that movement and vibrant health are no longer a priority or that they don't matter so, hey! Why not laze around on the couch all day stuffing our faces with potato chips? It's setting the intention to feel the best that you can, and doing it from a place of compassion and acceptance.
It's standing tall, declaring, "I love and accept myself unconditionally, right now." The good and the bad. (And while we're at it, why don't we just ditch those labels right now?! There really is no good or bad, there just is.)
Like you, I'm human. This doesn't mean that I don't get caught up in my own reflection, picking this or that apart... it's a practice that doesn't always come with ease and grace. Each moment that I get caught up in my own story is one that I can use to dive deeper into my own body connection, re-frame my perspective, and connect back to my truth.
In the words of Beyoncé, "It's the soul that needs the surgery."
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned about health, happiness and loving your body?
It's an inside job. The road to vibrant health, unbridled happiness, and total acceptance begins at with one thing: a choice. Your choice. A decision that you're committed to creating a life that is truly miraculous, and ultimately, a deep knowing that you are worthy of living the life of your dreams.
Accepting that life is messy, chaotic, and downright unbearable at times and in those moments, let's lean a little deeper because holy shit - this is what transformation is made of. Oh, fear and resistance? Merely a sign that you are on the brink of something pretty damn magnificent.
PASSING OVER THE MIC: Tell me about your own path - what's worked and what hasn't - with as much detail as you'd like. And thank you, for reading and commenting! (And if you liked this post, I'd love for you to share it on the web or simply hit 'subscribe' below! x)