Re-Connecting w/ your body
I'm currently sitting in a lovely Belgian café having consumed a generous portion of hollandaise sauce, mashed potatoes and halibut - it's as yummy as it sounds. I've had a reflexive week. In large parts thanks to all the supportive messages and comments I received in response to my Why I'm No Longer Vegan post. Writing that piece was cathartic for me and posting it was almost excruciatingly vulnerable. Needless to say, I've been grappling with a vulnerability hangover ever since. Think regular hangover plus existential dread - a winning combo!
Then, on Monday I received some news I'd been expecting for a while, but still hit me like a ton of bricks. In a way I think the universe was trying to milk me for all the uncertainty and pain I could take this week. The result? I think I levelled up - let me explain. My vision of the purpose of life is something like my favourite childhood game Mario Kart. I'm sure I don't need to explain the rules, but just a quick recap.
Mario and Luigi are two plumbers who rescue their princesses by overcoming a series of obstacles. You might remember the levelling up sound as you move on to the next chapter. Each series of challenges gets them closer to the ultimate prize, which in this case is the rescuing of women who clearly have no agency or personal power (but that's a topic for another day).
In my case I hear those ding ding ding sounds every time I feel I've levelled up to another stage of understanding the world around me and my own mind. Notable examples include when I was rejected from Oxford and having to come to terms with the distinct possibility I'm not academically exceptional and my most recent breakup. The best part about levelling up is that before it happens you don't even realise you need to. Living as humans we have to assume that our current frame of mind is the best template to work off of. For example, when I was applying for university I was operating with the mentality that I would be happy and fulfilled when I was accepted by my dream institution. Or when I was in my past relationship I believed that I couldn't possibly survive emotionally without him. Can you think of the last time something major happened to you and the result was unexpected? Oprah calls it an a-hah moment where something clicks in your brain.
This week my levelling up moment was a decision I made on Monday evening. I was reeling from the unexpected news and my mind's first response was to embark on a binge. After all, that's been my default for more years than I can count. Instead, I called a friend who I knew had been through a similar situation and she was able to talk me down. So, instead of reaching for a big ol' tub of Ben & Jerry's and a large bag of Doritos. I decided to feel the feels. This particular turning point was very body centric for me. I carry a lot of pain around my past in my physical appearance, mainly because of the binge cycle. Rather than try to approach the 'problem' from a rationalisation of my mind that was whirring round and round in desperation.
I stopped. I sat up in my bed and I held my tummy. This simple act reconnected me to the relationship with my body I've been fostering over the last couple months. All about getting on the same team as my body, instead of constantly fighting it to do better. I was listening to a podcast last week called from Body Shame to Body Peace, which really struck a chord with me. The interviewee, Heather Waxman, referred to her levelling up moment when it came to self acceptance. It was a shift in her mentality away from frustration that her body wasn't burning calories fast enough, or exhausting herself on the treadmill. Towards all the good your body does for you. All-day and night your body's tirelessly working as a servant to you. Your body is trying it's best to keep you alive and healthy. Your body is not the enemy. Your body is your number one teammate. Don't wait until your body's given up and becomes ill before you start to appreciate your health.
This concept of getting back on the same team has been crucial to me. It's taken the power out of bingeing or drinking or starving. Because when you're on the same team as yourself you can do those things, but you know you're only hurting yourself. This doesn't come from a place of judgment and criticism. This comes from an innate understanding of your purpose in this life. Take your relationship with your body as the starting point to start loving life. Reconnect with yourself.
My favourite methods include (but are not limited to) hot bubble baths, moisturising, yoga and deep breathing. Pay attention to your body right now. Are you carrying tension in your shoulders, is your heart racing ready to get onto the next task? All of these are distraction away from connection. And, isn't deep meaningful connection the root of all happiness? Think of the last time you were truly happy. I suspect it involved a loved one or some well-deserved me time. Start prioritising love in your life and trust me you'll feel every part of you lift towards your greater purpose.
Thank you for reading through to the end. I appreciate this post was a little bit more esoteric than I normally write. But, I think the power of love is so important.
Ps. If you have a period, consider spending those days for extra self love. Think of them as a biological reminder to look after yourself. See if you can leave work/school a little earlier and really invest in self care. If you're constantly fighting this beautiful biological process, once again your fighting yourself. And that energy could be so much better spent on other parts of your life!
Pps. Let me know if you liked this piece and if there's any topics you'd like me to delve into in the future!
All my love, Sam💖