Own. Occupy. Accept.

OWN. OCCUPY. ACCEPT.

OWN

Own the body you have right now, just as it is. Without relaxing into the body you currently occupy, life is filled with dissatisfaction and unhappiness. Why? Because if we can’t truly love and accept ourselves for who we are, then attempting to find external happiness, or chasing a happiness that will occur once we have a “goal body”, is futile.

OCCUPY

Occupying your body means living embodied. Living in your body. So often we find that we’ve just existed, that we’ve filled our life with distractions of diets or exercise regimens. When is the last time you just sat with your body? When is the last time you looked in the mirror and spoke words of kindness to yourself? Making the choice to occupy your body tells your body that you are here, you are present. Choosing to occupy the body is a massive step in healing your relationship with food and your body.

ACCEPT

Acceptance is a celebration of living life in this very moment, with the body that has gotten you this far! Acceptance is honoring your past bodily incarnations, loving your current body, and sending gratitude to your future self for all of the adventures you will take with that body.

Accept that you were put on this Earth to be more than a body. Accept life free from diets and restriction and shame. Accept it because you deserve it.

The light in me honors the light in you.

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Love Letter To My Body

Now that we’re deep into the months of summer, I’ve been reflecting on my relationship with my body over my lifetime, particularly in relation to the seasons. The summer season was traditionally a season of manic ups and downs, depending upon the reflection I saw in the mirror, the number on the scale, or the food I had consumed. The past few summers, however, have been seasons that I simply allow to come and go. I honor my body as it is in that season of my life and continue to treat it with love.

I suppose as I develop to nurture my relationship with food and my body, this is a natural result, and can also be easily overlooked. I am taking a moment to pause and celebrate how far I have come because there were times when I truly never thought I could have the relationship I have with my body. For that I am eternally thankful and grateful!
In honor of these reflections, I have written a love letter to my body.

 

To My Uniquely Perfect Body,

Wow, what a journey it’s been so far!

First, I come to you to humbly ask for your forgiveness. Although I don’t have clear memories of loving and appreciating you prior to when I started hating you and then harming you, I do remember days of childhood where I felt completely comfortable within you. Memories of wearing colorful swimsuits as an 8 year-old without feeling the need to cover up; of coordinating daily outfits that included shorts and tank tops throughout the summer without picking apart each piece of flesh that was exposed.

Remember when I sunburned you so badly at cheer camp in eighth grade…? Me too. Sorry about that. I was only trying to toast you slightly. Unfortunately for you, it would take me years to realize we are both much happier sitting under the umbrella, with a big floppy hat and sunglasses.

Throughout the years we’ve definitely been through our ups and downs. There are too many years when I told you how disgusting you are, while abusing you day in and day out. But all the while, you were there. You’ve always been there for me, talking to me, supporting me, healing yourself to show me how strong and amazing you truly are. I only needed to listen.

Years went by and then slowly, very slowly, I started to see you differently. I began to eat  foods based upon what you needed. I started to drink more water and less alcohol. And I felt you responding to me with love and comfort, which only made me want to continue to provide you with more abundant goodness.

When we finished our first 10k… how amazing was that?! I could feel my heart pumping with enthusiastic euphoria- asking when we could do that again! And in the dim lights of a yoga studio, when I started to feel you again. When tears of gratitude, shame, and support overflowed down my face. And I could hear you whisper to me “Stay here with me, and we can find each other again. I want our healthy relationship back. I’m here.”

I can’t wait to continue to discover more of you, and all of the amazing things that we can do together.  May I continue to come as I am to my mat, and to live each day to fully embrace this body I’ve been blessed to inhabit.

With gratitude,
Jessica

 

The light in me honors to the light in you. 

Manifesting Part 2: Setting Intentions

In Part 1 of the manifesting series, we examined the power of thought. Now we’ll be looking at how to channel the power of thought to manifest the life we desire.

As we discussed in the previous post, the Universe directly reflects the energy that is put into it. In Part 2 we’ll examine how channeling the power of our thoughts can manifest our intentions.

Our thoughts and our entire existence are made up of vibrations of energy. Everything we see, hear, touch, taste- they’re all made of vibrations. Our thoughts are also included in this vibrational energy, and as such we are constantly putting out vibrations into the Universe.   When negative vibrations/energy are sent into the Universe, these energies are directly reflected back to us and are perceived as our reality. Likewise, when we vibrate positive energies, that will become our reality as well.

Perhaps you’ve used a phrase referencing a person’s “good vibes”, or you’ve walked into a room and instantly gotten a negative “gut feeling” towards someone… those are based on the literal vibrations of yourself and the other party. When we sense these things we are sensing another person’s energies. Cool, right?!

It’s important to understand the power of our thoughts, intentions, and vibrations because this will greatly impact our ability to manifest an intention. It is common to be sending out negative vibrations without realizing it, and then become frustrated when intentions do not manifest. In fact, our brain naturally focuses on negative experiences and thoughts as a protective mechanism. Because of this, changing our thought patterns requires practicing and changing the way in which our brain naturally focuses. A great way to implement a change in vibration is to incorporate a gratitude practice into a daily routine. This is an excellent way to set the tone for the day,  by beginning each day reminding yourself or one thing in which you are grateful, then continuing to build on this practice. Soon you will be able to recognize when you have found yourself in a negative thought pattern and will be able to change that internal dialogue.

Since it’s in our nature to focus on the negative as opposed to the positive, when we’re setting intentions it’s easy for us to focus on what we want to discontinue or remove from our lives, instead of focusing on what we want to bring into our lives. These differences, however, are massive and can make all of the difference in having a manifestation come to fruition.

When choosing an intention to manifest, begin by acknowledging what the manifestation goal is- for example “complete self-acceptance”. If this is the manifestation we’re striving for, instead of vibrating an intention of “I don’t want to judge myself anymore”, or “I want to stop self-loathing behaviors”, an intention to manifest would sound something like “I love myself completely. I am worthy of love and I attract unconditional love. I know that I am enough.”

Can you see the difference between these two intentions? One is vibrating negatively, and that intention will manifest as continuing to receive the same self-defeating vibrations, whereas sending out positive vibrations provides space for this intention to manifest!

Intentions can be set daily, hourly, yearly, etc. There are no limitations to our ability to manifest once we learn how to set them in accordance with the Universe!

 

The light in me honors the light in you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Recovery Journey Continues

My concept of recovery is fluid. What I considered a successful day 9 years ago looks completely different than it does today.

Multiple times a week, I chose to walk the aisles of the grocery store in the middle of the night, avoiding other shoppers and preferring the company of other creatures of the early morning hours, feeling a comfort knowing that the stock boy with baggy jeans and Queens of the Stone Age blasting from his earbuds wouldn’t judge me as I carefully reviewed the labels of the scarce foods I trusted to put in my body.

In that time of my recovery I preferred to slip under the radar, to be invisible. That’s where my disease wanted me to stay because that’s where it held the most power over me. As long as I continued to isolate myself from the rest of the world, the eating disorder was in control.

Yoga showed me that I have a greater purpose in this world and allowed me to discover an identity beyond the eating disorder. It gave me self-confidence to re-connect with loved ones with whom I had become detached, and gave me permission to reveal to them the various vulnerabilities that arise throughout the recovery process.

By inviting me to connect my true self with my physical body, yoga was there to catch me before I could fall deeper into isolation, acting as a net below the emotional tightrope I had found myself balancing upon. What began as another exercise regimen became a recovery tool that transformed from treating my current circumstance, to healing years of emotional scars.

By allowing me to view my body as a conduit of strength, yoga taught me that I am worthy.

By simply stepping on my mat and honoring my mind and body where I am in that moment, I am serving myself.

Yoga taught me to love my body not for how my hips look in my yoga pants, but for its strength and general amazing-ness.

Most importantly, after years of fighting for control of my life, yoga taught me that I was never in control and I never will be. I found peace within myself once I released control.

My journey with an eating disorder is embedded into my life, like an olfactory memory that can be lifted up into my senses at a moment’s notice, only to float away with the breeze just as quickly.

Today a successful day is one that includes honoring my mind, body, and soul. It includes catching up with an authentic friend, finishing a project I’ve worked on tirelessly, journaling, exercising because I love the rush of endorphins that I feel afterward, and nourishing my body with foods that it craves.

I now see my recovery as an instrument in my arsenal of empathetic tools; it has provided me with the ability to embrace, cry, and laugh with strangers who instantly become yet another recovery warrior from whom I gain strength, hoping that I become the same to them as well.

Living an isolated life prevents one from giving themselves to another, and what a tragedy that is! The more we give, the more love our hearts are able to receive. By giving of myself and my story, I find so much strength within me, and in return, receive abundant love from those around me. My recovery continues, and it is my hope that it never ends.

This post was originally published as part of  YBIC’s monthly column that highlights how the practice of yoga can be an integral component in the effective treatment of and on-going recovery from eating disorders and disordered eating. You can find it on the YBIC website here.