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Making Friends with My Body, not just Any Body

By Christina Gerdes

MON MAY 10, 2021

My Newfound Body Buddy

by Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas
by Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas

“No one is going to advise you to overrate yourself, but do rate yourself highly – then others will do the same.” ~Yasmin Boland

I am a child of the 90’s and growing up the song I’m Too Sexy by Right Said Fred came out. For those of you who are not familiar, the opening lines are:

I'm too sexy for my love
Too sexy for my love
Love's going to leave me

I'm too sexy for my shirt
Too sexy for my shirt
So sexy it hurts

And I'm too sexy for Milan
Too sexy for Milan,
New York and Japan

I would guess this song was a bit tongue and cheek for the super model phenomena of the 90’s, but my mom, sister and I loved it. We thought it was the funniest song and I am surprised I don’t throw it in to casual conversation more often. So what the hell does this have to do with today’s thoughts?

Well, let’s see if this makes sense. I love to compliment my Real Life Yoga Practice with other healing modalities, particularly body work. I am in the process of working through the Rolfing Massage series and last Monday I had session 4. She worked on the inner line of the legs, from the inner groin down to the ankles. I was aware beforehand that this is a tight area for me and so wasn’t surprised with all the “shit” trapped there. And by shit, apparently, tension and tightness, but also energy, memories, and emotions. While on her table, a high school memory popped into my head that I completely forgot or blocked out and it has me spiraling a bit. In that moment I thought about my body, separate from my identity as it’s own living thing that has been “walking” this earth for 46 years. I thought about how much we have been through together and how I have used and abused it, in physical and mental ways. I, like many, if not all people, have had the same difficult relationship with my body that we see, hear and read everywhere. I am not sure anyone is immune to this challenging relationship throughout their lifetime, but that is not what this post is about.

I want to share how I plan to practice reframing my relationship with my body & I wonder if this might help you too.

I thought what if I could look at my body like I would a trusted pet that was always by my side. You know, the dog that greets you at the door, tail wagging, super excited that you returned from taking the trash out 3 minutes ago. Or the aloof cat that knows the exact moment that you needed a pile of fluff in your lap to help console your lonely heart. The kind of pet that is attuned to your very emotions and ebbs and flows and is there every step of the way when you need them. Ok, so that is how I saw my body in that very moment on the Rolfing table. Like the best friend I have always been searching for and has been there all along, but I forgot about. We have had disagreements and we have had unforgettable joys and I have mistreated my body and loved my body, but the connection for me was always a bit detached.

Just stop for a moment while you’re reading this and think about your own relationship with your body. Not in the judgmental way of how it looks and doesn’t look or how it feels, but in a relationship kind of way. If you were to personify your body what would you two talk about? And what have you been talking about for all these years you have been alive? How have you treated each other? What words have been shared? What secrets? This body is a vessel that we don’t often stop and think about other than with shame, blame, critique and momentary times of pleasantness.

SO, that’s what was happening last Monday on the table. Yes, Yoga helps allow me to feel my body in different poses and it has helped show me where I trap emotions and hold different feelings, but I had never stopped to look at my body as my buddy. I have, for most my life, treated it well and tried to live “healthy”. But I think I was envisioning it more as a bicycle or automobile that has gotten me from point A to Point B and so needed monthly oil changes and a new set of tires and regular tune ups to run properly and live a good quality life. Ironically, I don’t believe I ever looked at it like a Friend.

In that moment during my Rolfing Massage, it was like my relationship with my body changed from a tool I used, to a partnership. This was an amazing emotional revelation to me. It reminded me of the scene in What the Bleep Do We Know? When the actress, Marlee Matlin, embodies the understanding of self love in the bath tub after she sees the work by Masaru Emoto from the Hidden Messages in Water. She catches herself thinking negatively about her body and then decides to start writing positive words on her body instead. For those of you who have never seen this movie, I highly recommend it, but to help you understand the work by Masaru Emoto, here is a scene from the movie.

I saw this movie years ago with my mom and I remember crying at the scene in the bath tub because it really hit home. But, I have learned over the years, there is a difference between mentally understanding something and emotionally embodying it in my heart. And Yoga helps with that. Yoga is an experiential practice. I am just sitting here typing and you are reading and understanding (hopefully) my words, but until you feel it inside, it is just a thought, and you don’t yet “own” it. You haven’t yet made the idea yours internally. This is one of my all-time favorite parts of Yoga and I call them Yoga Epiphanies. I am using Epiphany as a moment of sudden revelation or insight and we can have these at any time throughout our lives. This, to me, is the moment my heart and mind have communicated in a way of Deep Understanding and these are the Truths that I cannot forget once they are felt.

"My heart and mind have communicated in a way of Deep Understanding"

So, that’s it. Plain and Simple. Right? Well, it has only been a week and so far, so good. I have definitely noticed a softness inside of myself towards myself. A gentleness that I have, apparently, only been reserving for other Beings in my life. But I can feel that something has changed inside of me. It is subtle, but it is there. I now know, from practicing Yoga for 30 years, to recognize this feeling and I also know, with continual practice and awareness, it can only grow until it is no longer a conscious thought, but a way of life. This is Yoga. This is a Real Life Yoga Practice. It is everywhere if you want to look. And can happen anywhere if you are open to it.

Granted, the relationship with our bodies, like all things, is layered and individual and in my teacher’s words, can contain land mines, but he also reminds me, that it contains treasures too. I can glimpse that My Body Buddy and I have a lot of healing to do to discharge all those landmines. I suspect I have a lot of apologizing to do to my newfound friend. Not with shame or guilt, but that open hearted tenderness that works like a salve to heal old festering wounds. And, anyone who knows me, knows, this is one of my favorite parts of Yoga. It is one of the hardest parts, but I am up for the challenge because I have seen, time and time again, discovering these treasures is unlike any real tangible treasure I could ever be given.

I would love to share with you how to form a relationship with Your Body, and Embody Yoga Everyday, Throughout Your Whole Life. 💜

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