A few weeks ago I was running around in my bathing suit at a pool party amongst modelesque type people at a hotel here in Ojai. To my surprise, I didn’t feel self-conscious. I felt loving and proud of my body. And it had nothing to do with what I looked like.
That was a first for me. What an incredible change, I thought, from years before when I suffered with an eating disorder as a pre-teen.
Unfortunately, this is so common.
I’ve decided to dedicate July to providing resources and working with this issue. (Check out my Love Your Body Resource Guide below.)
We get so many conflicting messages by the time we hit puberty, that we start to see our bodies as an object outside of ourselves, something that we can manipulate, deprive, and treat like a “thing”.
We forget that our bodies are an extension of our soul. A sacred vessel for our being.
The collective beliefs about body image are particularly destructive in Los Angeles, worse than any other place I’ve lived. In particular, I’ve noticed that women from Los Angeles often have a more exaggerated experience of negative body image and self-worth than other people I see. They are participating in a powerful collective consciousness that isn’t very enlightened around beauty, so it takes an extra layer of awareness to deflect that strong negative influence. Swimming in this kind of collective consciousness will exaggerate any old childhood wound you might still carry about your relationship to your body, and it can make you feel really aweful.
I used to find that when I drove into LA (I live about an hour away), by the time I got out of my car I would feel self-conscious. I would start picking at myself about what I chose to wear that day, I’d always feel fat, and generally lose my confidence. It was so strange to see how predictable it was. One day I finally realized that I when I entered LA I was dipping into a new energy field with different and more extreme ideas about image and beauty.
This is what I mean by collective energy. Have you ever experienced that?
I realized that I still had some unresolved body issues of my own, and that there was some part of me that bought into parts of that belief system about body image.
Thankfully, I have the tools to clear this up as soon as I recognized what was happening. I have an online workshop coming up where I’ll be getting into how to clear up these old emotional wounds so that we aren’t susceptible to letting negative collective patterns exert control over us. They can be powerful if we aren’t conscious about the way that we have been hurt in the past and how our old wounds affect our current view of ourselves.
Probably half of the people I work with suffer with a poor body image in some way.
It takes such a toll on our vitality to constantly scrutinize our looks, always watching out for potential flaws, checking ourselves in window reflections or stealing quick looks in the mirror.
For decades of my life I couldn’t look at a picture of myself without cringing. I had my very own mean girl walking around in my head with me all the time.
There is a plague of over-identifying with the image of bodies. As a society we make idols of bodies, our own bodies or other people’s bodies. People are made to feel that their validity as a human being depends on how their body measures up to this ever-changing standard.
Can we all agree that this is crazy?
“True beauty is a ray that springs from the sacred depths of the soul.”
True beauty is allowing the light of our soul to be seen. True beauty is an outward glimpse of your inward self.
We all deserve to feel good in our bodies.
Working to disentangle yourself from these kind of negative collective patterns is a passion of mine. Very few people are looking at emotional issues this way, but doing so has such potential to deeply transform our whole world. If we heal and re-pattern our own wounds, and stop participating in a collective consciousness that we know is tearing ourselves and others down, then we can bring about true change in ourselves and our planet.
So let’s lovingly release the inner mean girl, the critic, the perfectionist.
To do this we must get to the core of where that wound started, in childhood, or a generational pattern. Let’s find these old places of pain, look at them, forgive them, and let them go.
It is sometimes the case with social justice and social change movements that the people who are trying to heal an old pattern the collective are still coming from a place of pain & victimization. They are trying to correct the wrong outside of themselves before they address it inside.
It is difficult, and may even be impossible, to change a collective pattern when we are still holding the emotional suffering in our bodies from that same wound ourselves.
We have a much better chance of inspiring and bringing true reform and restoration when we have healed the old pattern and can come from a higher place of wisdom and recovery.
The messages that are pumped out of LA through the TV and movie industry effects the entire world’s perspective on beauty. So, if we can get clear about what true beauty is here, imagine the impact we could have on the world?
And this goes for the entire US, by the way.
I’ve put together a lot of resources to get you started on re-patterning old ways, here are a few of my top favorites for remembering your True Beauty this summer….
I’ve created this Resource Guide with recommended reading, online resources, a free meditation, and an upcoming online workshop on the subject. If you’ve struggled with body image for a while, if it is preventing you from enjoying your life, then check out these resources to help you enjoy your summer.
- The Emotional Resilience Audio Recording for Resolving Poor Body Image . A 15 min audio recording I created for working with your childhood wounds & negative voices that you may have taken on from the collective.
- Radical Beauty, a book by Deepak Chopra & Kimberly Snyder. A great primer on the basics of beauty from a holistic standpoint. It incorporates a balanced perspective and practical habits that lead to a soulful, natural, embodied sense of your own beauty.
- The True Beauty Movement with Jennifer Butler. Based in LA, Jennifer has an awesome perspective on how to choose colors and styles that let your natural coloring stand out. She wrote some of the affirmations that I used in the audio recording, and I’ve participated in her webinars. From her I was inspired not to shy away from clothes and colors, but incorporate them as a way of accentuating my body as part of my loving self-expression.
- Summer Cleanse with Tara Matthews, L.Ac. My friend and colleague, Tara offers seasonal cleanses, that include yoga and flexible food options to help you tap into the natural gifts of the summer energy. She’s starting her summer cleanse started yesterday, but you can still join. It is an awesome way to get a deep understanding of supportive foods and habits for the summer, with the gentle support of a community to keep you accountable.
- Love Your Body Beautiful Workshop, with Me, July 18th from 3:00-5:00pm PST