This weekend I went to a workshop in which the speaker, a well-known self-improvement author, walked us through a process of self-discovery. The speaker's general theory, adapted from the theories of Carl Jung, is that anything we can't embrace about ourselves creates difficulties in our lives, and keeps coming up (we keep attracting it) until we "learn the lesson" of acceptance.
So on Saturday we had to face our "shadows" ... those things that we didn't like or didn't want to be called. Of course, my list was a million miles long ... but we had to narrow it down to one sentence that we would never want someone to say about us under any circumstance, and then say it over and over again to a group of three people who were our "mirrors" until we could see that the negativity and "badness" in the words was of our own making. They are just words after all. So ... my focus sentence was "I am a disgusting, fat, ugly loser." These are words that have hurt me in the past tremendously.
Well, after 18 minutes of chanting "I am a disgusting, fat, ugly loser," I still hadn't accepted them as "just words." The other three members of my group made it through their "shadows," so I of course was feeling even more like a "loser."
But the next morning, I got up and went next to the ocean for prayer and meditation. I was still thinking of those words. The first thing I saw was a bird with feet that looked like fern leaves. The divine message that came to me from God was "I give every creature the body it needs to survive." A few minutes later, I saw a seal ... and watched with childish amazement as it went under the water and then came up a few minutes later for air. I thought of its big body and little short fins it was using to propel itself through the water and was again reminded of the fact that it has just the body it needs. A crane flew just barely above the water, looking for food or a landing spot below the water's surface, and a huge bird, maybe a pelican (I'm not familiar with ocean birds) also flew nearby ... its large body and widely expanded wings so close, but never touching the water. I needed the acceptance of my own body ... and I found it in all these animals. Their beauty and the amazement with how they used what they had to go about their day was a beautiful revelation to me.
I too have a body that has protected me over the years in many ways ... it is a body that deserves my love and respect, not my self-hatred. Accepting others judgements of my body is giving away my power and forgetting to appreciate every step of my yet unfinished journey.
4 months ago