Italo Calvino said: The more enlightened our houses are, the more their walls ooze ghosts.
I have so many ghosts in my home: my body. I carry with me ghosts of shame, body-hatred, inadequacy. You know, the usual.
And it wasn’t until recently when I realized that I walk around and live in my body as if only parts of it exist. There are the parts that I love and sometimes even admire. And there are the parts that I disapprove of so strongly, that I pretend they don’t exist. As far as I’m concerned, on most days, I’m just a head with hands! Eve Ensler talks about this in one of her TedTalks:
So the question is, how to get into your body? To connect with your limbs, your muscles, your beating heart? Normally, we think of exercise.
I’ve talked about perfection a lot in my blog and a girlfriend and I were discussing how we sometimes don’t exercise because we get caught up in the ‘right kind’ of exercise. Like, we won’t go for a run, because we think it’s a waste of time if we don’t balance it out with squats and weightlifting. (This is all mental mind games of course.) And the prospect of doing ALL that is far too overwhelming and instead we numb ourselves out in front of the TV. After a day of working and then coming home to eat and sitting some more, our bodies are miserable and our minds are looping.
With all this pressure to exercise and do it right, we suck all the fun right out of it!
So I started doing an experiment when my mind was heavy and my body was pleading with me for attention. I started taking mid-day walks. Just walks. In nature is even better. And put everything away and focused on my body as I moved. It’s been beautiful. Such simple practice, with mindfulness on my body has opened up so many avenues to feel GOOD in my skin. And I think that’s where we begin to love and connect with our ghosts. Through pleasure, not endless mind toil about what went wrong to create that cellulite.
Here’s the thing. When we think of being in our body, we think of exercise. Exercise has the connotation of being painful, sweaty, unbearable, hard-core, exhausting. Sometimes I want that! But most of the time I want something that fills me up, not depletes me.
What would feel really good to do in your body today?
There’s anything and everything. Here are some of my favorites: bachata, horseback riding, qoya, yoga, prancercise! ( hee hee ), burlesque dancing, pole, zumba, playing in the playground (monkey bars and all), hula hooping, jump roping, trampolining, rock climbing, or DANCING IN YOUR ROOM (my fave.)
When you think of being with your body in that way, it’s almost spiritual. And with a little practice, you will find yourself enjoying so much the skin you’re in. Today I went to a yoga class (for the first time in my months because it was in my pleasure, not pressure.) And then I sat in a hot wooden sauna for 20 minutes to soak up all the heat. It was wonderful, magical, spiritual. And I looked at my body and felt happy for all that she does for me, ghosts and all. Now that’s a start.