THE LIFE COACH SCHOOL – Episode 276
I chose to write about this episode today because I had some thoughts about body-love that I wanted to validate, first, and then share.
I was talking to a friend this week about Matthew’s death. I haven’t talked about his death for a while. It felt grounding to me to revisit that difficult time in my life.
Matthew died on a Sunday morning. Days later, we were on a flight back to America, to bury his body. That was so difficult. It was surreal, standing in that airport, waiting for the overseas flight that would take me to my son’s funeral. We choose his headstone soon after we landed. We went to the mall to find a black dress for me to wear. I didn’t sleep. I didn’t eat. My body was incredibly stiff, my neck hurt to turn, my face broke out in enormous cold sores, and I lost feeling in my fingers.
Two weeks later, we were back in England, the children were back in school, and Bryant was back in the London office, working regular business hours. And I was at the flat in Greenwich, left wondering what just happened. And where to go from there. I stayed in bed most of the time. My spirit was low.
Bry hired a private tennis coach for me. Random, right? He said it was to help me get out of the flat each day. And I did. Every day. There was never a day that I wanted to leave the flat to play tennis, but there was never a day that I got home from tennis that I wasn’t riding an adrenaline high.
Later, when I was journaling about those long difficult months, I realized the importance of the companionship of the spirit and the body. I’d always believed that my spirit needed to “rule” my base body. But, for the first time ever, I saw my spirit and my body as a companionship. And when my spirit couldn’t be lifted, it was my body that pulled it through. It was exercising and caring for my body that lifted my spirit, and I would come home from tennis feeling hope, feeling excited. And when the children would come home from school, I would run and play with them. I was happy.
I have an overwhelming amount of gratitude for my body. It has taken me everywhere I have wanted to go. It has done everything I have asked it to do. It was my body that kept Matthew alive those 9 months, when no one and no thing could keep him alive even three days after he’d left my body. It was my body that carried my spirit, when my spirit would not go on after his death. My body has served me – and my family – purely and wholly and selflessly.
And the decisions I make, concerning that incredible body that has served so wholly, should only be made in love.
“I have seen students come to my weight loss program and approach it with an attitude of resistance and resentment and frustration and self-loathing. And I have seen people approach weight loss from a place of love and care and allowing and compassion. And I want to tell you, one of those ways is the RIGHT way, one of those ways is the WRONG way…
The RIGHT way is filled with love. And the WRONG way isn’t… The underlying emotion, that underlying feeling will be compassion, unconditional love, self-acceptance, determination, discipline. But mostly, it will be love.”
If you can’t do this – lose weight or get healthy – with love, then don’t do it. If I can’t do this with love, it’s not worth it to me to do it.
In fact, it’s hurtful to me. Let’s look at the example of exercising. My approach to weight lifting can hurt me, if I come from a place of disgust or embarrassment or urgency. If I come from a place of love, my weight lifting will look different.
If I diet from a place of self-disdain or self-loathing, I can hurt my body. I will not make choices that will not serve me and serve my body well, today or in the long-run. But if I come from a space of love, what does that look like?
Do you remember when Bryant and I discussed this? What does healthy living look like, from a place of love?
- My body needs monthly massages. This is not indulgent. This is most seriously for my health.
- Weight lifting. I am likely to have osteoporosis in another 20-30 years. Weight lifting can strengthen my bones today to prevent and minimize problems later.
- 30 minutes of outdoor exercise each day.
- 10 cups water each day.
- Fruits and vegetables each meal.
- Organic meats and produce.
- My body would benefit from a regular fast, as a detox.
- 8 hours of sleep. I would never ask anyone to do what I ask my own body to do, on as little sleep as I give it.
- And how about the “no”s? Weight aside, my body can care for itself better if it doesn’t have sugar, dairy, or gluten in its system to break down.
Of course, healthy-living will look different for different people. And it will change for me, as well, as I learn more about my body’s needs.
Now get this. This life described above isn’t a lot different than the lives Bry and I have already been living, the habits we’ve already been fostering. What’s the difference? I want to approach my healthy-living from a place of love – love for my body, love for my mind, love for the person I am becoming, love for those who need me, every day.
That changes everything on that list, without changing the items on the list at all.
“You will recognize that when you love your body now, not just the outside, but the inside, the organs, the digestion, all of it, when you love it now, you want to put healthy energizing food into it… You will stay committed with love, not with fear.”
We shouldn’t expect ourselves to change overnight. It isn’t urgent. Allow urges. Allow emotions. Be present with a desire or craving. Be present with an urge from the primitive brain.
“You will stay committed and disciplined with love, not with punishment. You know that you are doing it right by the messages that are going through your brain. ‘This is hard, but this is good and healing. You can absolutely do this.'”