Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, a land that we can thank for Starbucks, a comparison meter for our weather when we want to feel better about NYC, and one of my FAVORITE movies of all time (I think that A, you have an act and B, not having an act is your act...), I had a boyfriend.
I'm talking about Seattle, folks. Starbucks. Rain. Singles. Nice people who lack the kind of knock-you-over-in-the-subway-I-have-someplace-to-be-NOW drive that makes New Yorkers at once fiercely amazing and incredibly irritating. Seattle. A place where I found a brief period of some really sweet love.
Although it was not the longest of relationships, it was meaningful and forgive the unromantic term, a game changer. The He in question was someone I (barely) knew in high school who found me on Facebook, back when Facebook wasn't so annoying (oh, I have such beef with FB these days and don't really go on it anymore except to share about my blog, classes and shows), and the relationship existed over the phone and Skype, with a few visits in person.
He was and is a serious Buddhist. Serious, not the right word. Disciplined. Practiced. Lived in Seattle's Zen Center when we were together. Goes on meditation retreats where you DON'T TALK. At all. :) Silence. He's also an acupuncturist and massage therapist. A martial artist. Likes dogs and even cats. He's a musician, too. And he's nice.
As is usually the case when people come together, there is teaching and exchanging going on if both parties are open, which we were. I was just starting to teach intenSati and soaking up a lot of the materials that inspired the practice -- Louise Hay's You Can Heal Your LIfe, Wayne Dyer's The Power of Intention, Don Miguel Ruiz' The Four Agreements -- and he was on-his- knees-meditating deep in all things Zen. It made for some VERY interesting conversations about the nature of desire, detachment, goals, achievement, emptiness, meaning, and true nature, all with a Seinfeldian undertone, since we were both born and raised Jewish.
Ok, this is not turning into the post I wanted to write. I wanted to write about body image and Buddhism and how I am learning to find a way to accept my weight, but it's never about the weight, is it?
No, it's not. Meaning, weight can be talked about, mulled over, diets debated ad nauseum and infinitum, we can ask and receive more information about What to Do, but, as I've learned from the beginning and will continue to trust, freedom (at least for me) comes with exploring and understanding what is buried underneath the focus on food and weight. What feelings? What disturbances? What insights? What desires?
I have a normal, healthy weight. I know this because I was at the doctor yesterday for my annual physical and she told me so, after she weighed me, which I don't do since owning a scale used to drive me crazy. I'd weigh myself multiple times a day. It didn't help to monitor myself like a wrestler, it helped to let go of the number. After hearing the doctor say that I'm 5'3" and 135 lbs, while affirming how muscular I am and confirming that nothing about my belly fat indicates a health problem, I had this moment of peace.
I am fine. I'm better than fine, actually. I am healthy. I am okay. I deserve to enjoy this beauty, this body, this life, as much as I want to and can, even though I'm not skinny.
Which made me think of the Buddha, all happy joyful with his big belly, jovial, peaceful. It made me think of that relationship and time in Seattle, where I felt the absence of fear and the welcoming of my spirit. Over the years, I found every which way to put myself through the ringer, even as a fitness instructor, where I've felt that accepting myself and weight AS IS somehow signifies Fat Acceptance, which it doesn't. I sometimes let the many mirrors and leanest bodies in the city who work out at the gym get upstairs in my head and trigger this belief rather than believe I am perfect as I am.
Everybody should date a Buddhist at least once or at least try to date like Buddha.:)
It's all about how you perceive yourself and what you do with information, isn't it? I AM HEALTHY. All my numbers look great, test results all negative, cholesterol, thyroid, blood pressure -- healthy, healthy, healthy. After years of eating disordered behavior, I have come to the other side and while I am far from perfect, I am living in recovery today and by the power of grace, I have no residual damage from the years of self harm and abuse.
Do I want to be lean, strong, flexible, healthy and sexy? Hot, even? Yes, absolutely. :) I want to feel great and own my beauty. I want everybody to do this. I hope you do this today.
I decided I am done torturing myself with the thin ideal and choosing to make myself feel bad for not achieving the result I thought I wanted but now realize I don't even need to achieve. Will I continue a healthy eating plan and workout regime, yes, but I am not seeking weight loss right now and honestly, that feels really freeing. Radical, even.
Instead, I am practicing the art of letting go of paying so much attention to my body's appearance and going with what it feels inside. Which, ultimately, is I think what that relationship and time in Seattle taught me. I felt so loved for who I was not how I looked. It shifted me into that place of knowing, which tells me it's about what's going on deep within ourselves.
Presently, I have a few body imbalances to heal. They are in my back, my hip, and my ankle. I have emotional cues to understand, ones which are leading me to think about next steps and directions I want to take in my life. Where to go. What to do. I have thought patterns that still trip me up and require me to shhhhhhh and listen to what I'm thinking, listen to how I am processing people, places and things, and I have impulses of every variety that need tending to, much as you would tend to a small garden of many plants, flowers, weeds, green grass, and the occasional slug.
My guess is we all do. AND, my guess is that when it comes to HAPPINESS, one of the biggest barriers is not that the job, the relationship, the bank account, the weight, etc., don't line up to match your dreams, although these can certainly cause some irritation. I think the real barrier is that we are not tuned INTO ourselves on a deep enough level to know how we really feel and ultimately, who we really are. So, it starts with an inward gaze, perhaps towards your belly, that place where intuition lives.
5'3" and 135" pounds. Okay.
Feelings. Life. Creativity. Love. Acceptance. Companionship. Beauty. Desire. Peace. Nature. Power. Joy.
Speaking of desires and knowing oneself, can someone remake this movie, please, so I can audition!?!?! Or, I'm going to spearhead the project myself!
Thanks for reading! Please comment here if you like to speak out on these topics. I value your voice and comments make me feel good. :) Have a great day.....