Go to the ocean
- Get a room with a view
- Eat fish and chips, mac and cheese, or whatever your favourite comfort food is for breakfast.
- Drink vodka, whiskey, red wine.
- Wear “too much” or “too little” make-up.
- Read Big Magic; choose to abide by it (or at least try really hard).
- Start a bucket list.
- Write a letter.
- Take a long bath in the afternoon with a coffee-grind mask that stains the white bathmat and will make the housekeepers wonder.
- When you are tired, pass out to the dulcet tones of British TV shows about antiques.
- Remember your Old Life—then let it go.
- But check in with the people you love back there, in your Old Life. Don’t let them go.
- Know you absolutely can do it in a new way. Then cry, because half the time you don’t believe this, really.
- Do yoga despite the heartburn, with a focus on the hips.
- Watch TV—but not for more than an hour at a time.
- Smile at the old people playing bridge in the lobby of the antiquated hotel, and at the mob of red-faced, navy-blazered Old Boys’ club that gathered around the bar one evening, all bald-headed and jovial.
- Smile at the kids playing in the sand, chasing the seagulls…until the mother pulls out bread bits to feed to the seagulls (please don’t feed the birds).
- Smile at the arthritic and slightly wet black lab trying to nose into your medoicre-at-best breakfast fish and chips.
- Re-do your website.
- Share a story in the secret women’s-only Facebook group.
- Decide to pug sit in Hollywood over Christmas.
- Wonder how one person could possibly be so content.
- Wonder how one person could possibly feel so distant from those that she loves.
- Go to the aquarium and simultaneously marvel while dipping into a concrete sort of sadness; you want to be with these creatures, but (mostly) not like this.
- Take the French lessons you’ve been meaning to take for 2 years.
- Practice finishing what you started.
- Take a social media/job-search break for 12 hours to read Beautiful Losers and write.
- Tell stories about the time you saw a giant tortoise eat it’s own…well, maybe not. It was more the reaction of the other observers that was priceless.
- Forget about how the much-younger-but-still-cold-and-overly-formal bartender kept calling you “Ma’am.”
- Enjoy the shit out of the complementary tea, custard creams, gingerbread and shortbread that sits waiting in every hotel room there, ’cause they just don’t do that at home.
- Don’t worry that you were 2 hours away from Stonehenge with a completely open schedule but still didn’t go and see it. You will be back soon enough.
- Turn everything off and just read.
- Colour with the window open, sitting on the floor, watching the sunset, with the sea breeze cooling your wine-warmed face.
- Wonder (stop wondering) why you can’t seem to be in love with the right person, ever.
- Find a new rhythm.
- Eat fruit slowly.
- Devote yourself to living by the sea in a more permanent way.
- Don’t let the cheapness of the combed sand or the too-small aquarium tanks or pier toll sway you from just visiting places like kitchy, old-timey beach towns. Those are really the best, anyhow.
I want to let go now—to finally, completely stop.
I am tired of looking at my reflection and almost breaking into tears when I see how, at certain angles (most angles) my body puckers and hangs and bulges the wrong way.
This is mostly the life I want, but my body tells me a different story. It tells me the story of my careless behaviour, of how I don’t mind for it as well as I could. I don’t feel that this body is me—which suggests that my actions are not in alignment with my values, my health. I can try to appreciated what this does for me, objectively, as a “unit,” but mostly I don’t feel that I belong in it.
So it’s not just about fat, it’s about the way I’m being with myself.
Eating and drinking for pleasure is one of my favourite things, but it can’t be my main every day pleasure. Not now. Not as a reaction to loneliness or stress or general malaise.
I do not wish to feel that whiskey-induced darkness, confusion and fatigue the morning after.
I am tired of asking questions, of wondering how they could possibly come and go with such ease, be entirely present and then forget about me. (You forgot once, and I’m sure you will again.)
I’m tired of falling into that belief that noone cares, when really it’s me that holes myself up, mostly out of healing, and mostly by choice.
I’m tired of wondering when that consistency will come, that feeling of being wholly loved, every day, of trying to reconcile that one memory from a few months or years ago, that feeling of completeness with the loneliness now. I’m tired of wondering how then and now can even be the same life.
I am sick of wondering what you are doing, thinking, feeling, of being scared to reach out and ask, because it means I want something. And that’s so obvious.
I am tired of wanting, of trying to reconcile this screened-shut world with some semblance of reality that consists of actual caring. When many of the people on the other end are basing their thoughts of me on a digital image or two, I just want to scream at them: That’s not me! Will you please step out from behind the screen and just come and just see ME, the real me, warts and all?
Will you just love me, in real life, once and for all?
I’m tired of thinking about this—exhausted, really. (And besides that, I promised that I would never ask for you to love me.)
I am tired of the way people seem to not want to make eye contact or small talk, day to day, maybe because I’m not French or maybe because I seem closed-off.
But I’m tired.
I will no longer fall back on nostalgia. I will not let sentimentality or some unfounded hope guide my words or my actions.
I remember how I felt beside you on that beach, you at that movie and you at that concert: I remember how complete and whole and real and present I felt during some of those times; then in other moments, I remember how my own stomach-knot screamed your feelings at me—feelings ranging from general apathy to just wanting to not be there, with me, then.
I could sense clearly what you were(n’t) feeling, but you couldn’t—or if you did know, you didn’t have the balls to say. So I would try to silence the knot in my stomach, to smooth everything out, to flirt and be nice and say sorry and “fix us,” but eventually that knot won out. So I had to walk away because you weren’t brave enough or strong enough, even though you were the one who didn’t want me.
Sometimes being “nice” is the worst thing we can do.
I am sick of remembering all of these things, even the good stuff.
I am sick of the cycle of believing that this or that particular high will fix things—sometimes a high can shift things, certainly—even in positive ways—but a fix is never really a fix.
This may seem melancholy but in fact it’s not, because I am saying that I am actually done. I am coming to terms that this, me, right now, crampy and bleary-eyed in this too-expensive hotel room, writing for a reason that I don’t quite know. I am choosing to do this, now: write, hike in the sun, be somewhere new, smile at the dog, chat with a friend, swim in the pool, stretch.
I will love growing into my career and my body and will keep fighting for some semblance of active community and forget about (romantic) love for a while because clearly it’s just not showing it’s face and I have to let it go.
I am choosing to sink into the good, solid things about today, because I am done with the rest.
Imagine what it would be like if we all grew up with a sound understanding of how to be mindful and loving towards and within our bodies—to schedule the right amount and type of movement every day, to make time fore restorative and relaxing self-care, to let go of body judgement, and to connect with others on this in a supportive, non-judgemental way.
For many of us, pain, illness, food intolerance, depression and fatigue are signals that our bodies are out of balance.
Perhaps this is our bodies screaming:
Have you forgotten about me?
When did we stop listening—I mean really paying attention—to what our bodies were telling us? Why do we think it’s okay to simply ignore such things, to not love, or even like, ourselves entirely?
How did we forget how precious these bodies of ours really are?
The problem, I think, is that most of us never learned to love ourselves this deeply at all—there’s just no room. Life gets in the way. We work 9-5, rush to work, come home bagged, cook dinner or eat out, maybe squeeze in a workout, some social time or a hobby, party or relax on the weekends. Add kids to that mix and our schedules are filled with—well, many things that don’t include real opportunities for us to just sit and listen.
If such activities were incorporated into our lives from the getgo, I’m guessing that we would be so much better off spiritually, energetically and psychologically.
Well, it’s never too late to re-write your story.
Rewrite Your Body is an innovative, affordable, self-paced digital workshop geared towards learning into tune into our body and reframe our relationship to it. Through a variety of exercises and via some fabulous guest teachers, participants have the opportunity to really dig into some core issues body issues facing far too many of us today.
I took the course because I battle with fatigue, depression and minor ailments on a regular basis. I’d been feeling isolated and unmotivated in a new city. I was (am) lonely, and it shows in the way that I’m treating myself: when I’m disconnected from my body, I’m disconnected with most other elements of my life.
For me, the course offered fun, real ways to step into a new type of relationship with our bodies. Clearly we need something more than the “cut calories and hit the gym” method to help us feel healthier and better about ourselves. At least, that doesn’t work for me, partly because I don’t love the gym, but mostly because there is a lot more going on with me and my body.
There is a lifetime of negativity inside to unlearn.
So just choosing to take this course—that intention—was me accepting the fact that I needed to do something new and different in my quest for a lifetime of core self-love, focus and empowerment.
Learning our body stories is complex, and each of our stories is unique. So, this is fun, but it’s also work. Don’t take the course unless you are ready to ask and answer some pretty tough questions about your body. This is not so much about how our bodies “look,” but how we can learn to work with ourselves from the inside out to find greater joy and acceptance in life.
I loved how the course made a point of questioning and examining assumptions that we have about our bodies and even the activities we choose. For instance, we had the privilege of working with Dianne Bondy who encourages us to examine our perception of a “yoga body.” Her beginner yoga session was a perfect opportunity for me to take a step back and be gentle, rather than forcing my body into uncomfortable distortions in a room crammed full of heavily sweating bodies and hating what I saw in the mirror.
Her gentle video session made me feel much more at ease with myself than those hot yoga classes have lately.
No matter how “advanced” we are, some days we just need to come back to a peaceful space and start simply, at the beginning.
“In order to understand the mind-body connection, we must first begin to view our body (and our lives) holistically.” ~ Zachary H. Avery
Zachary reminded us that this re-building of relationship will take time and patience, since we have to understand our bodies stories first before starting the process of re-writing.
The course showed me that this type of healing and care issn’t about the future; it’s about what we are doing, in action, right now, and how we can incorporate these things on a regular basis to re-build the broken connections between mind, spirit and body.
I was reminded of how important it is to learn to just be with myself, in this body in a way that feels right for me. This means touching in regularly to hold ourselves in a positive space, both literally and figuratively.
This is probably the best gift that we can give ourselves—even if it’s just five minutes a day.
Imagine how different life would be if we just created more space to tune in and understand the ways in which our body relationships frame every element of our lives—there is so much depth here that all too often goes ignored.
There is clearly a desperate need for us to get back in touch with ourselves, and Kate’s course is a perfect place to begin and continue. Thank you Kate and crew for offering such a sweet array of accessible and empowering tools to help us understand ourselves in a new light.
Here’s to us all finding new ways to love ourselves on this journey.