I have another guest post for you this week! This time it’s my friend Bailey Opsal! She works with women to make peace with food, live from a place of love instead of fear, and live a life they adore in a body they love. Through her 1-on-1 coaching, live events, and online presence she supports women worldwide to love themselves more and live a life of freedom and confidence in their bodies. You can find her online at baileyopsal.com.
Working with women who are insecure about their bodies has taught me many things but the biggest lesson? We tend to abandon our bodies instead of inhabiting them. Especially when things get hard.
When we are working on changing ourselves (whether it be with more positive or more negative intentions), we tend to start living outside our bodies. We don’t want to inhabit our bodies right now because they don’t feel good enough yet. So we choose to live more through our minds than inhabiting our physical body.
For many women, the ultimate question becomes: Why would I want to live in my current body if I am striving day in and day out for a new one?
For many of us, that can be a road block. We want to love ourselves and our bodies, but we don’t feel like we deserve to until we reach the final destination. When our thighs are thinner. When the number on the scale is low enough. When our bodies appear more toned and fit.
But the truth is, that doesn’t serve you. Your body is the one piece of physical universe you have been given. Choosing to abandon it until you *perfect* it (which by the way, will never happen) is keeping you from experiencing everything going on in this world. If you didn’t have a body, you wouldn’t be able to give someone you love a hug, smell the spring flowers blooming, kiss your partner, see the sunset in the evening, or even feel the grass between your toes. You would be lacking a vessel to take you through everything you want to do in this life. Every experience in life requires a body and choosing to abandon the one you have been given is shrinking your life. And that’s no way to live.
When I work with women around inhabiting their body, I love to share a story with them.
I used to the master of living a short distance from my body. I thought that if I completely inhabited it, the emotions I kept bottled up and the emotional realization of the weight I was carrying around would destroy me. So instead of trusting my body could take care of me, I abandoned it. I remember being on holiday in the West, looking at the most beautiful royal gorge in the world, and not really being ‘in the moment’ to really enjoy it. I was so focused on the next workout, the next meal, and how my body looked in my hiking clothes. As you can imagine, I was not even remotely enjoying one of the prettiest views I have even seen.
PIN FOR LATER!
Why? Because I wasn’t allowing myself to be where I was. I was choosing to live outside my body which, to be truthful, can keep you miserable. The only way to stop this, to start living more fully in the body you have now, is to learn how to inhabit it.
Where do we even begin to inhabit our bodies, you ask?
By coming back to your breath and reminding yourself that you have body, each and every day. The only way to inhabit it is by residing in it and being aware of the sensations that come up for you throughout each day.
As Geneen Roth says, “there is no way back to the body; the body is the way.”
We start to inhabit our body simply by choosing to be aware of it. You bring yourself back to your breath, back to your body, thousands of times a day just by noticing and feeling what is happening in and around you. Suddenly you realize that you have arms, you notice the sound of your fingers striking the keyboard, and everything feels new. For example, as I write this, I am noticing the chair pressing against my legs, my toes as they extend across the hardwood floor, the fullness of my belly after eating breakfast, and the sound of the whirling wind outside the window. It is as simple as that.
The body is the way. The way to bring yourself back. Time and time again, over and over.
It is the way to come home to yourself and start living a life of more complete freedom. A mindfulness practice that can extend into any area of your life. And over time, you start to realize that it is not unbearable to reside inside your body; it is unbearable to live outside it.
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