I know these sensations will pass eventually, I just have to wait, and for now, ride my bike. That is how I handle these attacks of heightened longing; about twenty minutes of hard exercise and sweat. It seems to get me over the hump, give me energy, and perk me up. It also distracts me from my need. Actually, I think need is too tame a word, but I am going to go with it, because today, I have gone five days without sugar.
Why did I decide to quit sugar?
It is a mixture of many things, really. One, I was starting to see that I was feeling a physical anxiety after I ate it, two, I was starting to eat bad sugar, like cake and cookies made with things other than food, and finally, I have known for over twenty years that sugar is toxic. You can read more about that HERE, HERE, and also HERE. Those links will lead you to how sugar effects your body, mind and spirit. Take a look if you are interested.
Don't get me wrong. This is not a plea to get you or anyone else to stop eating sugar. This is directly related to the topic at hand: HOW TO LOVE YOUR BODY.
Ya see, it is all connected. My emotions inform my physical health, and my physical health informs my emotions. When I have anxiety, it usually comes on as a physical sensation before a thought even enters my brain. If I am in touch with my body, I come to realize that my body is fabricating things to worry about in order to justify the physical sensation of anxiety. And sometimes my brain chooses RIDICULOUS things.
I know all this because I have been studying it, the adult version anyway, since I was about 21, and I have to say, it is truly a fascinating machine, with a mind all its own and a communication system that puts the internet to shame. I have been fascinated, fearful, proud, and angry at my body, on and off for years, depending on what it was doing. I used to freak out when things changed, (puberty was in no way anything I handled well), but now that I have taken on more of a role of witness, my relationship with my body has improved greatly. That is part of how I have come to love my body. I know it, I understand it and, after all of these years, I am still fascinated by it.
My body is a dynamic, fluid entity. Over the course of several decades, my skin has changed constantly, my moods, my fitness level, and so on. If I think of all the things my body has done, all the ways it has served me, I become overwhelmed at the enormity of it. I feel so lucky to have this body. And it is not because of my pants size, nor my waist measurements. It is not because of the curve of my neck.
I love my body because of the relationship I have cultivated with it. I love my body because over the course of my life, I have come to know it intimately, and have learned non-judgement.
I have learned it because everything in this world has set me up to be at war with my body. I have been taught, from the time I was little, that I am an ornament. That my body, all of it, is only as good as it looks, and if someone around me looks better, I hold less value as a person. In short, the world has trained me to judge my body, the bodies of others, and when I am in a lucky position to be around lots of other people, compare myself endlessly to them. It is in spite of all this that I have created a relationship with my body that I am most proud of, and that relationship sprang from the trauma of the horrible acne I had as a young adult.
My acne, as painful and horrifying as it was, taught me about the relationship between food, my body, and my emotions. And while I never in a million years thought I would EVER be thankful for my acne, I truly am, because I chose, instead of taking drugs to get rid of the acne, to try and find out why I had it. This, unfortunately, took decades because my body was in a state of flux until I was about 34. But over that time I developed a relationship of respect, trust and compassion that I can say is one of my most valued.
I have a lot of people ask me HOW to love their bodies. My answer is always the same. Develop a relationship with your body. Love it. Care for it. Try and figure it out. The more you know, the more you can discover in a way that is compassionate and caring, the more your body will respond in kind. The great thing about this is that you don't need a template. You already know how to build a strong relationship. All you have to do is focus on building something that is loving. In your way.
It is not always easy, I know. When you are in pain, or you are having strange symptoms of one form or another, remember that your body does what it does FOR you. It wants to be known. Your body wants a relationship with you. It waits for you to start. All you have to do, at first, is listen. Learn about how your body works. Read different philosophies about how to read the body. Not treat the body, not fix the body, but how to understand it. There is so much written about how to read your body, it is too bad we are not taught this language in school. The only thing I learned about my body in school is that it should be fed when it is hungry. Otherwise, mostly, I learned that people were freaked out by my body. Especially when it changed.
And that is a trauma most people go through. So go forward knowing that your body is made of blood and bones and sinew, but remember, it is also kind of magical. Remember that it is a vehicle through which you might reach your full potential. Remember that your body is precious, no matter what it looks like, and you should always focus on getting to a place where you like how it feels.
There is magic in your blood, glory in your bones, rebellion in your heart, and you, sweet soul, have the wisdom to use all of it.
So start now, wherever you are at. Develop a relationship with your body in your way, and watch your entire life blossom.