Healing my Body, Healing my Soul

The present moment is the only place that I can truly feel Love

I used to look at my body from the outside in. How I appeared to others was more important than how I felt inside. I would starve myself, work out incessantly, and ignore my bodies cries for help as long as my reflection in the mirror met my expectations. But the truth is, when I was doing that I was rarely satisfied with what I saw. There was always something else that needed fixing or adjusting, something I needed to do in order to accept myself and be ok.

After all these year of living in my body, I can honestly say that I have never been happier with it. And it isn’t because I have withheld food or punished it into being the way I want it to be, it is because I am finally listening to it. I am listening when my heart feels sad and my jaw is tight from all the tension that I am holding on to.

The acceptance of my body didn’t come easy to me. At the end of last year I was feeling worn down and unmotivated. Some of it came from being once again in lockdown after Thanksgiving, another part of it was unprocessed emotions from the past that were living in me and bringing my energy level down. I usually write in my journal in order to process my emotions, but the feelings I was having I could not put into words. This energy could not be processed through my brain, my body needed to feel it and let it go. My brain had built up so many defenses to protect me from hurt, but it didn’t realize that the hurt was over. My brain was on guard, but it was keeping that energy trapped in my body. Every time my body would try and process it and bad feelings would come up, my brain would shut it down.

I needed to see my thoughts for what they were, rationalizations for being hurt by the people who I thought loved me. I couldn’t accept the fact that my loved ones would purposely hurt me, and care so little about my feelings. So, I internalized a lot of my sadness, and started to get annoyed by my body’s warning signals. By shutting myself down and not listening to my body, I wasn’t present in my own life. This stopped me from being as hurt but also stopped me from feeling all the love and kindness that was also in my life.

In January of this year I decided to consciously explore my body, and just observe my thoughts instead of reacting to them. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done, as my body did not want to cooperate. It protested every morning as I rolled out my yoga mat. It was stiff, hungry and tired. As I turned on my yoga video and began my planks and downward dogs, my mind would criticize my movements and tell me I was wasting my time. I realize now that my mind was scared. It wasn’t sure if I could handle the feelings that would come up, so it was once again protecting me. But, I did it anyway. Somehow I knew that observing my thoughts and moving my body was exactly what I needed. I had known it for a while, but never acted on it before.

I started taking yoga classes in the evenings, in addition to my morning yoga practice. I would be angry when I couldn’t follow the instructor, I would feel stupid as I could barely balance in the poses, and sometimes at the end of class when we were resting on our mats tears would trickle down the sides of my face. But I didn’t give up. I knew it was where I needed to be.

Slowly my body started flowing into the movements. It would do poses even at the exact moment that my brain was telling me that I couldn’t do them. I started to feel lighter as my body sweated out all my past energy. And I don’t mean a few beads of sweat, I mean sweat like that felt like I had just come out of a swimming pool. Sweat where I had to ring my clothes out at the end of class, and sweat that I felt run down my face and back during class. All the toxins of being in situations where my body was not respected, heard or loved were flowing out of me. As the sweat poured out, I started to feel a happiness in my stomach. I started to feel more love for myself and an appreciation for my body that I had never felt before.

My skin became smoother and my belly became flatter, not because I was buying expensive creams or starving myself but because I was releasing the negative energy that had been trapped in my body for so many years. I felt a lightness in my body, and became more aware of how food affected it. So, in March I decided to cut meat, poultry and pork out of my diet, and I ordered meals from a vegan food delivery service. When I first started eating the vegan meals, my body protested by bloating and having gas. I once again hung in there though and drank more water, and ate my biggest meal in the afternoon rather than the evenings. After a few weeks, my body adjusted and my stomach flattened.

My body is healing my heart and mending my soul through yoga. My body protected me for so long by burying my feelings of sadness and hurt. I thank it for that, because at the time those feelings were too overwhelming for me. But now it is time for it to release all the pain from the past, and to release it without intellectualizing or judging. I am learning to love my body, and myself. I feel vibrant, I have more energy, and my thoughts are not as intrusive as my being is realizing that I am safe now. As my soul heals I naturally gravitate towards those people and situations that will feed and nourish me, and where I can express my needs without anxiety. I am unlearning being in survival mode, and letting go of trying to control in order to avoid hurt. The present moment is the only place that I can truly feel love, and as I let go of the past I feel my body bringing me to the present and feeling the love inside that was always there.