What Helps You Remember that Your Body is Sacred? favorite_border

Conversations from the Heart - May 29th 2020

Author: Rachel Brathen

Topics: Self-Love, Lifestyle, Growth

Links: Apple Podcasts / Spotify

About the Episode

In this episode, Rachel finds herself in a place of shame after realizing she has gained weight during quarantine. But here’s the thing - she felt no shame at all, in fact she felt great in her body, until she stepped on a scale. What was it inside of her that caused that shift?

This pandemic has brought with it a lot of change, and many of us are seeing changes in our physical bodies. The minute we feel shame, we have a tendency to try changing ourselves. But no matter how we try to change, whether it is through hardcore dieting or through yoga and green juice, it will all be rooted from the same place - a place where it is not okay for us to gain weight or be anything other than what society expects of us.

We can also approach “changing ourselves” in a completely different way. Maybe it is not our bodies that need to change, but our mindsets instead, and the years of conditioning that society has fed us.

Instead of dieting, or judging, or feeling shame - come back to that practice that reminds you that your body is sacred. Do things that serve you. Keep growing. Society has told women to shrink themselves for too long.

This episode will remind you of the tremendous gift your body is and the wisdom it contains. Your body is divine, your body is sacred, and your body is an asset to your enlightenment - not a hindrance.

Tune in to shed the layers and come back to a deep rooted self-love that has been inside you all along.

Key Takeaways

  • We spend too much time judging our bodies from the mind (which has been conditioned for years by society!) instead of feeling into them with our heart and soul, which leaves us constantly trying to change.
  • Whether we are changing ourselves through hardcore dieting or through yoga and green juice, if it comes from a judgmental place, it is all the same. It means we believe that our worth lies in a number on the scale.
  • We need to approach changing ourselves in a completely different way. We need to change our mindsets, we need to shed the layers of conditioning, and we need to work toward changing society.
  • What we keep in the dark grows and becomes worse, but when we talk about the things that feel heavy we are able to feel lighter and learn that we are not alone.
  • Your body is a tremendous gift with infinite wisdom. After you shed the layers of conditioning, you will find the deep rooted self-love that has always been within.

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Transcript

[1:18] Hi, and welcome to a brand new episode of the Yoga Girl podcast, Conversations from the Heart. I am speaking to you today from the most vulnerable place. If I sound a little stuffy or sniffly, it’s because I spent the entire morning crying [laughs]. Raise your hand if you’re having emotional days these days [laughs]. Raise your hand if you’re having an emotional life. Good, means you’re a human being.

[1:49] Yeah, I’m, I’m feeling very vulnerable, very soft, my heart is totally open…yeah, I have, I have no, no big plan for this podcast, literally I just spent the morning crying, and decided that maybe now is a good time to [laughs] maybe now is a good time to speak. I took a deep breath, turned on the mic, you know, and realized right away that I have this deck of oracle cards, of angel cards, oracle cards, if you’ve ever worked with those, brand new that I just received. And it was sitting on the little table next, next to my podcast area, and I thought, “you know what, why, why not pick a card right now?” I’ve never done that on the podcast before. I think…no, I haven’t. So I’m gonna take a couple moments right now to shuffle these cards; if you hear this sound in the back, it’s me shuffling this deck for the first time.

[2:40] For me, working with oracle cards — I do that a lot, and I have, I have decks that I’ve had for like 13, 14 years. I use them for retreats and trainings, I use them in my regular practice, I like to use them for big, new chapters of life. Sometimes I’ll pull a card for a yoga class that I’m going to teach, you know. And just through law of attraction, you know, knowing that we get what we need, so even though I’m pulling this card today — it’s Thursday, this podcast is out tomorrow, on Friday — when you listen to this, this card that we’re about to collectively channel together, it’s the card that we all need. And I really, really believe in that. I’ve seen that so true, I’ve been pulling cards every time I do a live yoga class on yogagirl.com: we have twice a week live sessions on the platform. And every time I pull a card, and every time it’s like a smack to the heart, you know? It’s just so, so always, always somehow exactly how we need…do you ever feel when you listen to this podcast, whether you’ve just found your way here, or if you’ve been listening for years, if you’ve heard me blabble, blabber on and rant and share and cry [laughing] on this show for so long; sometimes people ask me, “so what’s your podcast about?” [Laughs] And I’m like, “mmm, yeah…good, good question. Let me get back to you on, on that one.” This podcast, it really is, it is what it sounds like, it’s just, it’s just me sharing from the heart, right?

[4:07] But do you ever have — and I know a lot of you feel this way — those moments where I touch on something in this show, and I’m sharing an experience that’s personal to me, and something inside of you goes “man, me too. I feel that.” Or have you ever had a moment of like, almost shock, like, “I can’t believe she’s sharing this thing that’s exactly what I’ve been pondering, that’s where I am at, that’s this feeling I’ve had, the realization I’ve had,” you know, it’s like we are all so absolutely connected. And it’s this great, great spiritual teaching, the wisdom of knowing that we are actually all one, that separation is an illusion, thinking that we’re all separate from each other, it’s like we are all one big organism, and when one of us is hurting, we all feel it, right? When one of us is uplifted, we all feel it; we are all so connected. And our journey on this, in this life is making our way back to that place of remembering, knowing, that we are all one, right? When we are living from a place of oneness, it’s impossible to not practice loving kindness all the time, because we’ll know, you know, when I’m hurting the other person, I’m hurting myself. When I’m hurting Mother Earth, by not taking care of this planet, I’m hurting myself. Not just indirectly, directly, like that’s how it works.

[5:23] So, let’s take a couple of breaths. This card, this deck that I have here is a Divine Feminine deck, so it’s Goddess cards, all different kinds of goddesses that bring their own energies and teachings and lessons. So, maybe you are right now also feeling very vulnerable, how beautiful would that be? If you’re sensing this softness to your heart, you know, it’s [exhales] it’s a good thing. Sometimes it’s a scary place to be, to feel really vulnerable, right? We’re not kind of used to walking through life that way, life oftentimes makes us hard, makes us firm, makes us guard ourselves, always trying to protect our hearts. When we get to have these prolonged moments of vulnerability, they can feel too sensitive sometimes, right? Almost scary, like “ugh, feeling so much, my heart is on my sleeve, here’s my heart.” That’s how I feel today, it’s like I pulled my heart out of my chest a little bit, and I’m holding it up to the world, like, “here’s my heart. Don’t hurt it.” [Laughs] “Please don’t hurt it.”

[6:33] So, whatever space you’re in, right? Whether you’re feeling vulnerable, or emotional, or not, it’s all okay. Just close your eyes, tap into the breath, listen to the sound of me shuffling this deck. Start to tap into your inhale, your exhale. Just noticing, if you really bring your attention and awareness to your heart center right now, how are you doing? How’s your heart today? Did anybody ask you that today? This week? This month, this year, this life, “hey, how’s your heart?” How’s your heart today? What do you have going on, what are you feeling? What’s moving today, right?

[7:21] Every day is a different day, so just giving yourself a moment right here, to allow what’s present. And whatever wants to come through — sometimes when we really close our eyes and we tap in and we listen, it’s like something has been longing to be brought to surface, right? It’s like your heart has been asking you to get present with something, but sometimes it’s scary to go there, so we don’t, right? Or sometimes it requires us to feel really stable, really safe, slowed down, maybe we feel like we don’t have the time, we don’t feel supported enough to go there, so we look the other way; we shut down instead of open up. And maybe right now, as you’re really present with your heart, giving yourself a chance to really go there, to feel. Can even place your hands to your heart right now, just to increase that connection to your own heart space. Just breathe there for a moment, see what wants to come through. See what’s been longing to be brought to surface. Just spend a moment here, holding your own heart.

[8:37] Just now, as I was shuffling the deck, usually that happens: I’ll be shuffling and then my hands just stop moving. Sometimes I can hear almost like a, like a very loud “stop” from within, and then I stop shuffling; now I just, my hands just kind of dropped, so I think the card that’s at the top of the deck is our card of the day, our card of the week, our card for this new chapter in our lives, right? So let’s take a…whoo…let’s bring some energy into our bodies, let’s take a huge breath in [inhales], open the mouth, let it out [exhales]. You can blink your eyes open if you like.

[9:29] Here’s our card, wow [laughs]. K, I’ve pulled a goddess that I have never heard of, that I’ve never seen. Okay, this is a brand new deck, I’ve never worked with this deck before so obviously a lot of this is going to be new. How do I even find…[laughs]. Like going through this little book, how do I…how do I find the people, where are they? Oh, there’s a little content section here, [sniffs] they’re not in alphabetical order. “Page 121.” Okay, the goddess that we channelled just now — and if I’m not pronouncing this right, don’t let me know later because I’ll learn on my own [laughs] — Yeshe Tsogyal. Tsogyal, Tso…Tsogyal, or Tsogyal. Yeshe Tsogyal. It’s the Lady of the Lotus-Born, Lady of the Lotus-Born.

[10:28] “Embodiment is the deepest bliss. My body was made for enlightenment. Yeshe represents a deep wisdom that has been much misunderstood. She is the ultimate spiritual wisdom that the human body is all that is needed for enlightenment. Yeshe was born a princess in Tibet, seven hundred and seven…777 CE. According to legends, she was born in the same way as the Buddha: a mantra resounded, and her mother gave birth to her painlessly. Her name means ‘Wisdom Lake Queen,’ because at the moment of her birth, a nearby lake doubled in size, symbolizing tremendous wisdom, her waters of enlightenment.”

[11:15] “From a young age, Yeshe only wanted to practice the dharma instead of getting married.” [Laughs] Okay, I love, I love her. [Laughing] Who resonates with that? “From a young age, Yeshe only wanted to practice the dharma instead of getting married, but the Emperor of Tibet gave her to Padmasambhava, who had travelled to Tibet from India to spread the Buddha’s teachings. He became her main consort and husband, and together they eac…and together, they each founded their own lineages of Buddhist teachings.” Sorry that I’m, like, butchering this whole reading, I, I could be doing a better job. [Laughs]

[11:55]“She spent many years isolated in meditation, and accomplished several cycles of tantric spiritual practices. She received esoteric initiations, and became known as a fully enlightened buddha in the form of an ordinary woman.” There’s no such thing as an ordinary woman, come on. “She’s also considered to be an incarnation of Vajrayogini, and her husband predicted that she would reincarnate as the legendary Tibetan Buddhist Tantric teacher and yogini Machig Labdron. When your soul selects her card…” okay, here’s where it, here is where this relates to where we are: “when your soul selects her card, it can be so easy to forget that everything we touch, everything we say and everything we do is not separate from the Divine. Yeshe embodied one of the most potent spiritual truths: the female body is an asset to enlightenment, not a hindrance.”

[12:54] Aw, I’m going to read that sentence again: “the female body is an asset to enlightenment, not a hindrance. the body is a vehicle to free us from the idea that there are any limitations to reality. Tantra, which weaves together the sacred and the mundane to reveal the spiritual nature of all things, allowed Yeshe to realize that she was both an ordinary woman and an incarnation of the Buddha. We are both human and Divine. We are both a mortal body, and an eternal essence that continues on. The body too often can be the scapegoat for so much hate, distrust and violence. The body holds infinite wisdom, pleasure, and possibilities.” How beautiful is this? “This is the moment to see your gorgeous body as the tremendous gift it is. It’s the moment realize there is not greater intoxication than just being fully in your body, from head to soul. Yeshe is the call to remember the holiness of your flesh, the deep wisdom your body contains, and the temple you walk around in every day. Soul voice meditation: what helps me remember that my body is sacred?” Let’s just ask ourselves that question right now: “what helps me remember that my body is sacred? Intention. Embodiment is the deepest bliss, my body was made for enlightenment.”

[14:30 — Commercial Break]

[16:11] Wow, you guys. “What helps me remember that my body is sacred?” Let’s take a moment right there, just before we move on [sniffs], right now, “what helps you remember that your body is sacred?” I feel this so deeply. What are those practices that you have in your daily life, those moments, those big pieces of, of your day where you just remember that “actually, my body is the most sacred thing.” Those moments you have where you’re not looking at your body from the outside, where you’re not judging your body, disapproving of your body, or hating on your body, where you actually get to be embodied, right? Where you get to live from this body and just experience life from the body. You get to actually remember that your body is so, so sacred.

[17:04] Immediately my, my big moment of how I resonate, for me, first of all, what remem…helps me remember that my body is sacred: any kind of movement that allows me to be right here, right? So there’s different kinds of movement, and usually for me, it’s not so much what I’m doing or how I’m moving my body, but it’s the intention of how I got there, right? And I have actually…I’ve had a couple of weeks, like the past two weeks, a really challenging two weeks around my body and my body awareness. I have been super judgmental toward my body. I’ve really been in a different way, actually, the past couple of weeks, looking at my body from the outside, judging it.

[17:48] I’ve gained some weight, I have some quarantine pounds. I never normally step on a scale, like never; I did for some reason a couple of months ago, maybe end of the year, last year…I dunno. Dennis has a scale so when he, when he trains for Ironman like, he gets really into like, where he’s at you know, in terms of…I dunno. I dunno why it’s important, but for him it is. And for me, I kind of make it a point of like “I don’t need to know how much I weigh, that is not helpful for me, right? It actually, it’s not.” And I’ve had moments where I felt super good in my body, and then stepped on a scale and then have the number reflect something back at me, and then immediately gone into like, “oh, my God, actually my body’s horrible. Oh, my God, actually, I’m super overweight. Actually, I’m fat. Actually, I’m not good enough,” right? But I felt good, before that.

[18:36] So, it’s kind of how we’re so indoctrinated to believe that we have to be slim, we have to be thin, we have to be toned, we have to be shapely, we have to look a certain way, right? And then it’s so strong, that conditioning, that I’ll have moments where I feel so good, and then something reflects back at me and I lose it, completely. Like the number on a scale, like “oh, that number does not coincide with what I have been taught a beautiful body should way, thus my body must be ugly. Thus I am not good enough, thus…” you know. It’s like starts that whole loop of, of self-hate, of everything that’s the opposite of self-love and loving our bodies the way they are, or the way it is.

[19:17] And, the past couple of weeks, I’ve had those moment, right? So I, I stepped on a scale, I dunno, sometime last, sometime last, last year. So I had kind of a framework of like, muscle [inaudible] where I was, and then the two weeks ago, like I, for some reason like, I found the scale, or I don’t know how I came across it or where the idea even came from, like interesting. And I stepped on the scale to check, and I’ve gained eight kilos since the last time I was on that scale.

[19:44] Now, I don’t know if that happened in the last, like only in quarantine, or if it’s since, you know, December, whenever that was, if it’s over half a year, or if it’s been really short, but eight kilos — I dunno if you know, in pounds, let me, let me find out. Okay, thank you Google. So eight kilos is 17 pounds, and, so even sharing this with you right now, and I’ve shared everything on this podcast: I have cried, I have shared grief, insecurities, anxieties, everything. Even sharing this right now, I can sense myself going into a place of shame. And, it’s interesting to, to do that consciously and to just allow myself to, to talk about this, and to be open, and to recognize that “oh, I feel, I feel ashamed sharing this,” [laughs]. And, and it’s, it’s, it’s, and I can sense it really heavy, actually, like it’s heavy inside my body, that feeling of “gaining weight as a woman is shameful.”

[20:42] And, we’ve been told that our entire lives, right? Everything that we’ve been through our entire lives, since we were little girls, we’ve been told that our bodies are meant to look a certain way, and weight gain is one of the most shameful things that can ever happen to a woman, right? We see it especially, you know, and I, I grew up, like when I was a teenager, I read a lot of celebrity magazines, that was like one of the things I loved when I was like 13, 14, 15, I loved getting those really gossipy, like the worst of the worst, the worst magazines, the ones that are plastered with photos on the front page with pictures of like, celebrities who have got caught not looking great. You know, celebrities that had been caught with cellulite, or that had been caught with stomach rolls, or gaining weight, and really being mocked, right, for, for being human, for having those bodies.

[21:27] And I remember reading those magazines at a really young age. I don’t know how that habit started, or like where it just…I dunno. I think I would go grocery shopping with my dad and he would always get the newspaper and I would, like, grab some, grab whatever magazines were in the stands, and it became like, like this thing, it was like watching a movie or something, like very entertaining. And I remember that feeling of like, “oh, my God, I cannot believe that this woman, like this actress,” whoever that was, “who’s normally so beautiful has let herself go.” And you know, and there’d be a picture of her like looking, yeah, looking whatever, looking like a human being, right? Not like an actress.

[22:06] And reading those messages, you know, that we were bombarded with our entire life, like it did something us. And it’s really important to honor and acknowledge that that is present in me, still today. Right? And I can have months at a time, long stretches of time, where I feel really good in my body, where I don’t hate on my body, where, you know, where my body is a place where I reside, where I live, where I experience life from. And then I’ll drop into these places where all of a sudden, I feel like my body is not okay, right? And it’s hard for me to share right now that, “okay, I’ve gained 17 pounds during this quarantine,” and not drop into a cycle of shame, like “oh, my God, I am horrible, like how unlovable must I be, how ugly must I be right now? How terrible must my body actually look? Ugh, like who let’s themselves go that way,” you know?

[22:58] So, I wanna allow myself to take a breath [laughs] and, you know, practice what I preach right now, which is obviously, you know, this mega important space of “it’s okay to be a human being.” You know, what we’ve been through…and it’s also like, I don’t wanna, I don’t even wanna go down the road of having the conversation with myself, let alone on a podcast, talking about weight gain, as if it, as if, as if it needs to be justified, right? And I’ve seen a lot of that on social media, like, “it’s quarantine, of course!” You know, “it’s been a, it’s been a disaster, it’s been the apocalypse, everyone has been grieving, it’s been crisis mode,” you know, it’s like “if you end up at the end of this quarantine and you weigh a little more, like you’re the lucky one,” like of course, like that whole narrative, like it’s an important one. But for me to even feel like I need to justify the fact, or even touch on or talk about that my body has changed when it changes, it’s like I don’t want to go down that road. I don’t want to live a life where my body is so important, what my body looks like is so important that it justifies a whole podcast [laughs] you know what I mean? Like I, I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna live life that way, where weight gain matters, even the slightest.

[24:17] And getting this card right now just really kind of brought to surface for me how yeah, I have spent the past couple of weeks, I’ve been super hard on myself. I have had moments where I walk past myself, I walk past a mirror and I look at myself and I’m like “ugh, okay.” And I’ve starting thinking to myself “okay, well, we’re going to reintegrate back into society now, I need to do something about this. Like I, man, I need to move a little more. Probably need to drink a little less, less end of day quarantine wine, less end of day quarantine bag of chips,” like all those kind of habits where I’ve been for the past months, like absolutely been there.

[24:55] And listening to this, what helps me remember that my body is sacred…[sighs] I just want to take a deep breath with that for a moment [breathes deeply] because it brings me right to a place where even as adults, you know, even as mature women, you know, listening to this podcast right now, how we go around and around in our heads with the idea of self-love, right? And it’s the kind of this thing that it can stay on a mind-level almost, it can stay on the level of the mind, of when I have those thoughts and I look at myself in the mirror like “ugh, man, okay, I need to, I need to stop, I need to stop eating chips at the end of the day, like that’s my big thing, I need to stop doing that. And then maybe I’ll drink some more green juice, and then maybe I’ll do some more yoga classes, and then, and then I’ll feel better,” right?

[25:45] But any time we approach it from that point, which even in itself is much more positive than the traditional “oh, I gotta diet right now,” or “ooh oh ooh oh,” you know, it’s like, it’s very similar, that feeling, and I can feel myself going there. It’s like wrapped in a veil of self-love, body love, like “I’ll just do more yoga, I’ll drink more green juice, do do do.” This whole idea, it’s the same. It’s very, very, very, very closely related to “I need to diet and get on the treadmill, and lose weight,” right? That idea versus “I’m going to do more yoga and drink more green juice,” because it’s rooted in the idea that “my body should change,” right? And whether I take the softer, more — quote, unquote — “loving” approach of green juice and yoga, or if I take the approach of dieting and, you know, treadmill or whatever…for me, for me the idea of the treadmill, I think because that’s what I did when I was teenager; I would like, be on the treadmill, looking at the calorie button on the treadmill, like “how many calories did I burn?” Looking at myself in the mirror with my jaw clenched, like that was like my thing when I went into this body hating type kind of place. It’s not for everyone, some people, you know…and I have moments now where I really enjoy running on the treadmill, and I have no idea how long or how many calories I burned or whatever….

[27:02] But those two things, right: dieting versus “I’m gonna do more yoga and drink more green juice,” they are rooted in the same place. And that place is “it’s not okay for me to gain weight,” right? That place is, “when my body gets softer, when I become a little larger, when my reflection in the mirror isn’t what I’ve been told, or it’s supposed to be, or where it doesn’t resonate or reflect with my idea and society’s idea of what a body should be, right? Then it must immediately change.”

[27:32] Like, it’s, do you see how [laughs] how closely linked that is? One of them is just, has this kind of quasi-spiritual approach of “but if I do it through yoga,” right? “If I do it through green juice, if I do it through meditating a little more, if I do it through eating more organic foods, if I do it through so and so,” you know? It’s still rooted in the idea that the body should change. It still is. And I can sense myself going down that road of, like, “oh, it’s okay, okay,” and I start like, juicing a little bit more….and yes, juicing is good, obviously juicing is good. Yoga, obviously, is good, right? All of these things are good. Being on the treadmill can be super good too, like all of these things in itself is not bad, but it’s how we approach it, right?

[28:18] The moment I switch from “I want to do yoga because it makes me feel at home,” right? “It makes me come back home to myself, it makes me feel good.” The moment I go from that approach to “I’m gonna do some more yoga this week because I gained 17 pounds,” [laughs] can you sense the difference in approach, like the difference in motivation, and how the same practice can go from being this very nurturing, loving place to be to something actually quite hate…quite harmful? Actually, when I decide to do more yoga, to practice more asana because I stepped on a scale and because that scale told me I gained some weight, like that in itself is a really dangerous road to go down, and I don’t wanna do it.

[29:02] But at the same time, not acknowledging it, which is kind of what I’ve been doing for the past two weeks, it’s like I’ve had these judgmental thoughts about my body…I even had a thought the other day like, “ooh, it would be nice to put on some jeans,” but then I like, chose to not [laughs] I chose to not put on jeans, because I know they’re not going to fit well, and I was like “I don’t really want to have that experience, you know, so let’s just, let’s just not do the jeans right now, okay? It’s, it’s, it’s okay.” And even just going down that road of like, “okay, I’m not going to think about this,” if it’s there inside of me, right, if that kind of judgment toward me, self-hate, thinking that there’s something about me that’s innately wrong, right, if it’s present inside of me, it’s going to be there no matter what. It’s going to come up no matter what.

[29:48] So, maybe that’s why this moment where I was feeling vulnerable and raw, and somehow, you know, we channeled this card, that I get to share with you, “hey! My name is Rachel, I just gained 17 pounds. And that brings me shame.” Hmm. Just tasting that for a moment, like “okay.” And obviously, you know, for each of us, we have different things relating to our body that bring us different levels of shame, right? But the fact that that shame and the body, it’s so innately connected. It absolutely is.

[30:23] And for me, you know, when I look at these past months, like yeah, how much more time have been spent on the couch, obviously, you know, it being isolation and quarantine, not being able to leave the house, we have naturally moved less because we don’t have that regular rhythm of moving, there’s all of these reasons why. And to me, that matters less, like it’s actually less interesting, why. It’s not like, you know, to justify, like, “it’s okay, it’s okay, you gained some weight now, but it makes sense: you’ve been worried, you’ve been on the couch, you haven’t been able to be out and about, it’s okay.” You know, it’s like, it’s like “the global pandemic validates your, your weight gain, so you don’t have to beat yourself up so much.”

[31:01] Well, why do I have to beat myself up in the first place? Why am I even going down that road of validating my weight gain? Why? Why can it not be just okay [laughs] to look however you look? Why does it automatically have to be related to something shameful and something bad, you know? Like that’s, that’s, that’s the conversation that’s more interesting for me. And what, what makes me remember that my body is sacred, you know, not any of those practices that stem from the place “yeah, my body isn’t good enough.” And I think right now I am experiencing more anxiety because, you know, it’s one thing to like, be unhealthy, or quote, unquote, “unhealthy,” or “unhealthier,” or gain weight, you know, when you’re alone, when you’re in isolation and no one can see you. And now it’s like, we are reintegrating back into the world, and now I can sense that self-hate, that judgement come back up, because all of s sudden, it’s like “other people are going to see that I gained weight, oh, my God, is there anything, is there anything more awful that that,” you know, being seen in our shame?

[32:08] And, the practices that help me feel, remind myself, or remind me that my body is sacred, I have so many of them. So, it’s funny how these things can all coexist because at the time of this quarantine, it’s also the time where I have felt better in myself, I have felt better in my body than I think I have in my entire life. You know, not counting these last two weeks of, of suddenly, suddenly stepping on that scale and suddenly realizing just how much weight I gained, then all of sudden I stopped feeling good, right? So for me to get totally clear with my personal situation now…like these months, I have moved at a slower pace than I have in my entire life in every way, right? Mot just in terms of exercise, but in every way: my relationships, and my working life, with my child, with my husband. Everything in my life has slowed down, and it has been the most beautiful experience of my life.

[33:02] It absolutely has. You know, put all the fear and all the anxiety of the pandemic, and all the loss and the global, everything, put that aside; but the experience of being home, moving slowly with my family, has been one of the most beautiful experiences of my life. And in my body, I have felt really good. All this time, I’ve felt really good. And it’s not like I have been, you know, unbelievably unhealthy, like absolutely not, like I’m gardening, harvesting, and enjoying my own organic vegetables. I’ve been cooking three meals a day from scratch, plant-based meals, you know. I’ve also been baking a lot, it’s been delicious and amazing. Also been on the couch, drinking wine with my husband a lot, it’s been delicious and amazing [laughs]. Right? It’s like, I’ve had a lot of enjoyment these past couple of months.

[33:52] And it’s so funny to me how, like literally, I’ve had moments where, you know, I, I kind of look at myself in the mirror and suddenly like, my butt is a little rounder, my boobs are bigger, like I have like, areas where I’ve kind of noticed, but I’ve felt celebrate…like I’ve been able to feel like I can celebrate that, like “oh,” like “I really enjoy my body right now.” And I have a husband who [laughs] like if you know Dennis, you know this about him, but who showers me, showers me with compliments every moment of the day. This is just who he is, like I’ll walk, I’ll walk past him and he’ll just look at me and go “mm-mmm.” [Laughs] Like that is just who he is, sometimes to the point of like, annoying me, like he’s very affectionate, you know.

[34:36] And I’ve really felt really sexy, like I’ve felt really good in my body. And then all of sudden, right, I step on that scale, I realize, “oh, my God, it’s not like I gained a kilo or two, like I gained eight. Alright. Alrighty-o, this is probably the heaviest I’ve even been, you know, aside from when I was pregnant. Oh, my God. Okay.” Cue judgement. Cue self-hate. Cue shame. Cue suddenly not feeling good. And also cue thinking about my body all day long, which I haven’t done, right? And I’ve had a lot of movement over these past couple of months, I’ve been practicing so much yoga, especially since I, I moved this big bed out of our, out of our guest room which has now become my, I’m calling it my “Goddess Tower,” [laughs].

[35:25] I have this whole room filled with space, I’m on my mat every single day, I’ve been doing some really cool, like high intensity workouts, I’m taking the class a lot, which I love. I’ve been running, I’ve been doing a lot of fun stuff. Gardening like crazy; like I have been moving my body a lot, in different ways, and felt really good. And when I read that sentence, “what reminds me that my body is sacred,” all those moments of movement remind me that my body is sacred. And I’ve had so many experiences of like having dance parties with Lea Luna in the kitchen, or shaking, like my shaking meditations that I also do in this room, or any of those kinds of movement opportunities that I’ve had where I am just so present in my body. Where I can just let go and be in my body. And there’s no judgement, there’s no looking at my body from the outside, there’s not a single thought about my body not being perfect right now and every moment of the day. And it’s been fucking amazing, those, like this whole time.

[36:23] So, what if, and this is like, an interesting approach I think, for all of us, because I know, trust me, I know, there is not — and this does not just go for women, like I know this applies for men too — this is like, you know, like body dysmorphia, having this skewed, messed up view of the body, hating our bodies, trying to constantly change, and alter, and improve our bodies, like it’s an epidemic, and it’s everywhere, and it goes for men too. But of course, speaking from the viewpoint of a woman and knowing that this is particularly pushed towards women, like it’s worse and harder for women, more accepted for men to gain weight. And, and, and, I think we have much higher, this, this, this idea of, of being thin and perfection and all of this, it’s really, really hard for women.

[37:11] But, you know, just for all of us, acknowledging number one: there’s not a woman out there that doesn’t think these thoughts. That’s a big one for me, actually, because I, sometimes I get lost in the idea that everyone else feels good in their bodies all the time, no one else worries about weight gain, no one else feels fat, or feels ugly, and actually everybody goes through those moments, some people all the time, like some people have that voice of “I’m not good enough," all day, every day, right? And, you know, that’s a really important thing to remember. And talking about this with our friends, even though it's shameful, and not in that sense of like, you know, like talking about our bodies all the time, obsessing over our bodies all the time. I did that growing up, all my friends did that growing up, of like, “ugh, I’m so ugly,” or “ugh, I can’t believe this doesn’t fit me,” or “ugh, does my butt look big in this?” Like that constant talk about the body is not helpful for anybody.

[38:07] But the genuine real moments of being able to open up and like, “hey, I feel shame,” that's a different conversation, right? Not looking at the body from the outside, talking about it constantly, but going into the heart space of it, like “hey, I feel shame. I feel shame around my body. Actually, I feel, I feel lesser than, I feel like, I feel unworthy, I feel less lovable, I feel like something's wrong with me,” you know, those kinds of really heart-felt conversations where we get to share from that place of feeling, are super helpful. Because it breaks down the barrier, right? It's like we're trying to keep shame at bay all the time, but then shame just grows. It's like everything we keep in the dark grows worse and feels worse.

[38:53] The moment we expose, you know, "actually, I feel really insecure here. Actually, I feel really ashamed. Actually, does, this for me is so hard,” it's like we bring some light to the part of ourselves that feels so heavy and so hard to carry, and it's like the body can take a breath, you know. And also when we share with people that we trust and feel safe with, it’s also really validating knowing that we are not alone in this. I had two of my best friends here on the island over yesterday, and we had a moment to just, like, talk about that from that place, not from that place of like, “ugh, oh, my God, I gotta, I gotta get back, I gotta start working out,” but just like, “yeah, you know, this has been hard for me. And here’s how I feel right now.” It felt so good. It felt so good knowing that actually, them, in their isolation, they’re having the same thoughts as me. They’re having the same worries, the same concerns, the same moments of judging themselves in that way, you know?

[39:46] And then that collective vibration of like, “hey! Look how fucking beautiful and amazing we are right now, and every day.” And this whole idea that our worth is defined by what that number on that scale says, it’s so messed up. And that’s where our work should be, is changing the brain versus changing the body. Changing the conditioning, the mind stuff, right? That’s what I wanna change. I wanna change, not, “okay, hey, let me lose 17 pounds right now,” like, “okay,” [laughs]. I could go down that route, sure. Like I could kill myself and go into that super, super, super negative, heavy, self-hating road of “I gotta lose 17 pounds.” I don’t want to do that. I really don’t want to do that.

[40:34] I, I [laughs] I, I know if I, if I went down that road, it would overcloud my entire life, it would lessen my quality of life, my sense of wellbeing, my ability to feel joy and gratitude, and, and beauty, like it would make all of my life so much worse. And we all know, you know, diets don’t work, and even if, you know, I would go ahead and lose those 17 pounds, I’m still going to have that same voice in the back of my head because I didn’t do anything to address the voice, I just addressed the body, right? Which is kind of what we’ve been taught to is, like, “oh, I feel like something’s wrong so I gotta fix it from the outside, so let me, let me get on that treadmill with my jaw clenched, you know, staring at the calorie number on the screen.” Doesn’t work, right? Doesn’t, doesn’t heal me. Doesn’t, doesn’t bring me any healing in any way, in any way.

[41:21] And I can look at my, if I look back at my past and I think about myself at my absolute thinnest, has also been some of my most miserable moments in life. If I look at my life as like a, like a scientific study, you know, do my thinner points in my life correlate to my most fulfilled and happy moments? No, they do not. Like I, I have seen no proof, so far in my life, that being thin makes me happy [laughs]. Like that alone should, should, should tell me a lot. Like that alone could teach me a lot, really. That actually, whatever shape my body has, or whatever number that scale says isn’t the direct highway to eternal happiness and enlightenment, at all, in any way. Maybe, it doesn’t even relate, at all, like that’s an interesting question, you know. Like, does it, does it relate at all?

[42:12] Now there’s one thing, of course, feeling healthy, right? Feeling whole, feeling like I’m taking care of myself, right? Like that’s one thing. Which doesn’t mean that we ned to go into that place of like, you know [laughs] there’s, there’s, there’s, wait, how do I pronounce it? Orthorexia, I think is the word, where we get so obsessed with health to the point of it actually becoming an eating disorder, right? Where it becomes something that, that really doesn’t help us in life, where it becomes an actual, actual issue. It’s super, super, super common. So for me, taking care of myself just means feeling good, you know. And it’s that, like, I can drink the wine [laughs] and I can eat the chips, and I can also move my body a lot, and drink green juice and feel really good doing things that make me feel good, right? Nourishing my body in different ways.

[42:58] And for me, if I look back at these past months, have I been unhealthy in terms of how I’ve taken care of my body? No! This is like really important for me to, I need to hammer this into my brain: have I been unhealthy? I have not. I have not been unhealthy. I have not treated myself in a bad way, actually I haven’t. What’s bad, I think, the one thing I did that probably didn’t serve me was stepping on that scale [laughs]. Like if I can go back over these, these months of quarantine, would I choose to like, not eat the chips, not bake the bread, not eat the chocolate cake, whatever, no, I would go back and choose to not step on that scale in the first place, because then I would probably be sitting here today still feeling good about my body, blissfully unaware that I had gained 17 pounds, just feeling fine [laughs].

[43:47] And I think this is an interesting, it’s an interesting question to pose to ourselves, like really, and not just once in awhile but all the time: what are the practices I have in my life that reminds me that my body is sacred? And when I get into that place of self-judgement and self-hate, how can I take a breath, come back to one of those practices immediately? Like it needs to be the immediate gut response where, “oh, here I am again, going down that cycle of ‘my body isn’t good enough, I won’t be accepted, I am fat, everyone will know, oh, my God, shame is here,’ how can I move towards one of those practices,” right? Whether it’s movement, whether it’s meditation, whether it’s being outside, whether it’s time spent with the family, maybe journalling, maybe therapy, music, like any of the resources that bring you back to your body.

[44:36] And for me, it really is free forms of movement, movement that allows me to express myself, here, now, like that really, really works. The shaking mediations work so well for me — we have a live one every Friday on yogagirl.com if you ever want to join — but dance parties, like a five minute dance party, like those kinds of things, just moving a little bit, reminds me immediately. The moment I’m in the body, I can no longer judge the body. The moment I am living in my body and experiencing life from my body, I can no longer hate my body, it’s impossible. You cannot hate what you reside in, you cannot hate what is your life, right? It’s impossible for the ego and the mind to step in there and cloud your experience and skew your experience when you’re totally present, here, now, you know.

[45:21] So how can I, when I get down that spiral, when I go down that dangerous place — because it is a dangerous place, we need to acknowledge that. It is a really dangerous place to be, to go down that road of not approving of ourselves, right? Of judging ourselves, of going down the road of “oh, my God, I’m gonna diet now.” It’s not a harmless little thing that, that, that we do, right? It’s going down the road of, of self-hate, and maybe even self-harm, maybe even self-sabotage. Maybe it becomes the thing that keeps your from experiencing the beauty and the bliss that is this life, right? How many hours a day do you spend thinking about your body, or thinking about what you eat, or thinking about how you’re not good enough, you know? Ideally, there should be no time wasted in a day, spent in that futile place. But for many of us, for me the past two weeks, there’s been a lot of time. Like a lot of time [laughs] and I can just sense how it, it’s a really hard…once you climb down that pit, it’s really hard to get out.

[46:18] So instead of going down the road of, “okay, I gotta change the body, let’s, let’s do that diet,” right? Let’s start going down the road of, “hey, let me do that practice again that reminds me that my body is sacred. Let me live in the body, come back to the body, here, now, and then from that place, let’s change those thoughts, right? Let’s go into that conditioned place and look for healing. Instead of “let me change my body, let me fix my body so it’ll be more accepted, so it’ll be better. Okay, let me address this, like this is what I want to address. Hey, here is that trigger again, okay, I stepped on the scale. [Whistles] Wow, 17 pounds, man, that’s a lot, ooo, that’s not okay, that’s not okay, I’m not okay any more, okay, okay, okay. Okay, let’s address those thoughts, where do they come from,” right? How closely related is my sense of worthiness in this life with what my body looks like from the outside? And how can I get back to a place where I can just live in my body? Where my body is just this beautiful home that I return to again and again, where I actually reside, where I experience everything that life has to offer. That’s it. That’s really it.

[47:27] And it doesn’t fucking matter if my jeans fit me today. It doesn’t fucking matter what the scale says today, it doesn’t even fucking matter if other people comment, right? And that’s like, we all live in different, varying degrees of, of challenge here, you know, I have a husband who tells me every day…I honestly think, you know, if when I gained weight, like for Dennis he’s like “there’s more!” and he genuinely believes that, like he genuinely loves me regardless of what’s there, and he will always truthfully share that. So of course that’s helpful, but imagine if you have someone at home who negatively comments on your body, a lot of people have that.

[48:01] I had that growing up too, you know. I had that cautioning from, from parents, from people, from teachers, if my body changed, it’s like “uh-oh,” you know, “be careful there, you don’t want to become unloveable. Careful there, shrink a little bit, make yourself smaller.” I’ve been reading Untamed by Glennon Doyle, and she talks about it so heartbreakingly beautiful in her book, how, how as women, it’s like we’ve been, we’ve been told to shrink ourselves and shrink ourselves and shrink ourselves until the point of almost disappearing, and then what then? Then, then am I worthy? When you can barely see me? When I’m almost, when I’m not even here any more? I shrunk myself to the point of not being visible.

[48:41] It’s like, it’s been so hard for us to actually claim space and take up space, and [exhales] that I feel like now, if I look back at these couple of months in terms of growth, you know? If losing weight and dieting and trying to be smaller, and thinner and, you know, have a narrower frame, and we’re shrinking ourselves, if that means that we’re also shrinking ourselves in every way of life, right? Making ourselves small, all the time. Well, I look at the past couple of months at how much I grew. Like how much did I grow? [Laughs] How much did I grow in, in, in this quarter of a year, it’s unbelievable the amount of growth that I’ve seen in my life, like the amount of healing that I’ve found; I’ve grown so much.

[49:24] So, isn’t it kind of cool that my physical body reflects that? Isn’t it kind of amazing that I’ve been able to relax to the point of finding growth in every area of my life, and feel really fine and good about that, up until the point I stepped on that scale. [Laughs] So for me, I, I need to make a commitment to myself right now to, to get, to…I don’t know if I can make Dennis get rid of the scale because he actually uses it, but maybe it can live somewhere else, like does the scale have to be under our bed [laughs] you know? Which is like, where he normally keeps it. Maybe it could be in his gym, like where he bikes, because that’s what this relates to. Maybe I don’t have to have it there, because I know once you step on the scale, it’s like harder to not continue doing that. And then for me, my commitment to not go back to that, and then to continue doing the practices that remind me that my body is sacred.

[50:20] I want to go back to this card for a moment, “this is the moment to see your gorgeous body as the tremendous gift it is. This is the moment to see your gorgeous body as the tremendous gift it is. It is the moment to realize that there is no greater intoxication than just being fully in your body, from head to soul. This is the call to remember the holiness of your flesh, the deep wisdom your body contains, and the temple you walk around in every day.” [Exhales] Man, oh man. How…can I just take a moment right now, so how amazing is it that I started this podcast sharing that I was very vulnerable and feeling very raw and open, and I was going to share about that, something specific came my way today, and then I decided to pull a card, and I pulled the card that brought forward everything I needed to talk about right now. Everything I needed to talk about.

[51:22] And I’m guessing that I’m not alone, just like, like tiny little guess that, that you guys listening to this right now, that you’re also feeling some kind of shame, maybe, around your body? Maybe your body changed right now, and you’re sensing some shame, some judgement, some insecurity there. Perhaps you’ve also started thinking, going down that road of like, “oh, I need to change, I need to diet, I need to lose weight, I need to get back to what was,” haven’t we all decided that we’re not going back, right? Didn’t we all make that kind of collective decision, “we are not going back to what was?” That has to also includes not going back to how you treated your body before. Not going back to dieting, not going back to thinking there’s something wrong with you, that you aren’t enough the way you are.

[52:06] This is like the ultimate piece of this puzzle, is allowing ourselves to embody the lesson, and to embody the growth that we have seen in ourselves over the past couple of months. And if that growth is reflected in your physical body, how fucking amazing is that? How beautiful that we can grow inside and out. What abundance is coming your way right now, that we’re able to actually have visible growth in so many ares of our lives, visible softness, right?

[52:37] I can really, like, if I look back to my, my fittest, you know, the harsh and sharp angles of my body when I was mega, mega, mega, mega, mega-fit and I spent so much time, like, fine-tuning my body with this kind of rigid sense; I also saw those harsh, sharp, rigid angles in my mind, right? In my life, like I was very tight, like knit, like held everything together, very controlling. And now it’s like I can sense a softening in my heart, I can sense a softening of, of, of areas of my life, how I’ve put down control, right? How I’m taking deeper breaths. And it’s pretty much a miracle that my body [laughs] is reflecting that for me right now.

[53:21] Now, of course, and the little, like, details of, like, “will I sit on the couch eating chips every day for the rest of my life?” Probably not, no. [Laughs] Probably not, you know. Will there be moments, you know, where I move more and eat less, and maybe I’ll lose some weight, and maybe I’ll gain some weight, whatever. Those things are details that actually don’t matter in the big scheme of things. It’s like we’ve taken those tiny details that are just byproducts of how we feel, and we’ve made them the whole thing. So we think in our brains, “if I stop eating the chips, I’ll lose weight and everything will be perfect.” But it’s like “hey, the chips aren’t the problem, the weight aren’t the problem. Your body is not a problem, your body was never the problem.”

[54:07] The problem is society, the problem is our conditioning, the problem is in our fucking brains, right? So let’s, let’s heal that. Let’s really get into that space where we can heal that and soften into that, and come back to the love that we already have for who we are. It’s not learning to love ourselves again, it’s like we’ve always loved ourselves, we’ve always been able to be in the body the same way children exist and reside in their bodies. Like we still have that, it’s just we have layers and layers and layers of conditioning telling us that we’re not good enough. We gotta get rid of that, and return to that love that was always there, it’s been there all along. It’s there’s now. You can sense it in these moments, in these practices that you have that remind you that your body is sacred, you can sense it and feel it. When you create, when you paint, when you make love, when you’re on the yoga mat, when you’re dancing, when you feel free, when you’re in nature, when you’re gardening, when you’re doing that thing that’s your thing, right, you’re reminded that actually, “I love myself the way I am, and I have had that love all along. I’m just getting rid of all the things that were in the way.”

[55:17] So it’s my, it’s my deepest wish right now that the next time you go down that spiral of thinking that you have to change something about your body, that it’s not good enough the way it is, that you immediately turn to one of your resources, and that you take moments in your day to undo some of that conditioning, right? To really go down the path of healing instead of going down the path of destroying, or of harming, which is for me, everything that dieting and this idea of changing who we are really is. Let’s do things that serve us, let’s do things that nourish us, that fill us up, let’s keep growing, right? Let’s not go back. Let’s not go back. Let’s collectively celebrate our bodies for what they are now, for what they are tomorrow, for what they were yesterday, like let’s just celebrate and be in this place.

[56:10] I love my body! [Laughs] And then I feel shame, immediate, immediate shame again. We’re not allowed to say that, right? We’re not allowed to say that we love our bodies, we’re not allowed to say that we think we’re sexy, it’s like, we’re not allowed to say that, especially when we’ve gained 17 pounds. And I’m like, looking down at my body right now, my boobs, my belly, my thighs — it’s fucking amazing, this body, holy shit. Holy shit. I love my body. I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you. Do it now, as you’re listening to this, just look at your body for a moment, place your hands to whatever body part feels like it needs a little bit of love, and just give that love to yourself. I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you. I will not try to change you. Thank you for growing with me, for holding space for all of this growth and learning, all these realizations and lessons, all the grief, all the gratitude, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.

[57:16] And that’s the end of this podcast. [Laughs] I love you guys. Maybe I’ll start pulling a card at the beginning of every show, this, this was, this was good. Take care of yourself, take care of your hearts, cherish yourself, and remember, your body is sacred. Wishing you a beautiful rest of the day, and I’ll be back, next week.

[57:40 — End of Episode]