glow notes

Sunday, April 17, 2005

You are already perfect

The curious paradox is that when I accept myself as I am, then I can change.
Carl Rogers


I am sort of obsessed with goal setting and attainment, growth, busting through comfort zones, empowerment. And, obviously, I am interested in fitness, weight loss, nutrition, and health. But I want to take a step back for a minute.

When I weighed 175, I was no less a wonderful woman than I am at 130. The fact that I can bench press 35 pound dumbells makes me proud in a "yeah, I'm a badass and I worked hard for it" kind of way, but I'm not a better human being for it. I am proud that I have set tough goals - in all sorts of arenas, not just the physical - and met them. But that doesn't change that I am just a human being, with strengths, weaknesses, things to learn, and a lot to give.

I believe that taking care of your body is like taking care of a Ferrari that your parents were nice enough to loan you. It's an expensive, complex piece of machinery, and a gift that should be treated with care. I think that growing as a human is what we're on this planet for, and I am driven to share that with people.

But.

Anything you do has to be for you. And out of love for yourself.

My husband, innocently, said the other day that he wished I wanted to learn to surf. He wanted to share his love of surfing with me.

But.

Truth is, I love ocean swimming, body surfing, even boogie boarding, but surfing doesn't do anything for me. I have this boney rib that sticks out and bruises on the board, I get in everybody's way, and by the time I paddle through the chop, I'm freaking tired and want a carne asada burrito and a warm bath. Plus I've never successfully stood up. Surfing is HARD, people. You have to be DRIVEN to keep at it. It has to come from inside.

I will put that kind of effort into learning to be a good mountain biker, even though I keep falling down and cutting myself up and generally being slow, because something about that sport drives me. I will go to three hours a week of physical therapy and endure hip pain so that I can run, because running makes me feel like a kid again, free and breathless and light. I will put huge amounts of effort and force of will into any number of things, some of them quite difficult, but I have to really want to.

Same with other kinds of goals, except it can be a bit less clear, even to ourselves.

When I was binge eating regularly, alternated with taking good care of myself, the problem was that part of me wanted to take care of my body and part of me was pissed as hell that other people were telling me what to do and what size to be. Who? Oh, you know, the usual suspects: parents, society, magazine images, etc. But the funny thing is, my parents haven't told me what to do in over 16 years, and I'm way past wanting to look like a magazine model, for goodness sake.

But some of that past stuff had stuck in my psyche - and in my body - and was sabotaging my goals. I had to find it all, let it go, and figure out how to do it for me.

AND, I had to come to a place where taking care of my own body was an act of love, not an act of anger at myself (for being bad, eating too much, being fat, lazy, whatever). Because when I was beating myself up, my poor wounded self wanted the comfort of food, of course!

Now when I move, it's out of joy and love of life. When I choose to eat or not eat, it's because I know it'll make me feel good.

It's not always easy to know that you are already perfect. You ferret out one place where you don't believe it, fix it, think you're all set, then some other issue pops up, darnit.

Hmm. This week I am going to give myself a gift for being such a glorious expression of life. I am going to do restorative yoga each night for a few minutes to release the tension in my hips and back. I'll do this even if there are dirty dishes or laundry or groceries that need attending to.

How can you express your love for yourself this week?

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