LISTEN AND KNOW THYSELF
Allow experiences to bring Wisdom about how you relate to your Body. We will embark in this article on a journey that allows us to figure out on our own the meaning of a lesson. Allow freedom to invent a learning process about how you relate to your own body and how that affects other aspects of your Life.
We are the stars of a Role, the Role we play in our Lives and sometimes this role we play and the tests that we go through it is not easy to watch. One of the First steps in knowing where you are in relationship to your own body is to Listen. We need to turn inward to be self-reflective and to get a sense of what we call bodymindful baseline.
These ideas are explored in Body Mindful Yoga Book by Robert Butera and Jennifer Kreatsoulas.
What’s Your Body Mindful Baseline?
Let’s establish a baseline, or starting point. Your baseline is your current relationship with your body. This starting point is influenced by multiple factors, and, if you are willing to listen to your inner wisdom, the exercises will enlighten you to the truth of where you are now and what you need in order to take the next step in improving your body image.
Your replies may lead to some of the most significant insights you gain from this entire book.
Be honest. Be blunt. Don’t hesitate. Listen to your gut and write down what it tells you.
This exercise will ask you to examine how your words affect your self-esteem, your love, your compassion, your sense of beauty, and your identity.
Grab a journal and take a listen within by answering a few questions. There’s no right format for your answers. There’s nothing to hide. Let the words flow. This is just for you.
• How do people in your life talk about their bodies?
• How do you describe your body?
• What is your definition of a healthy body?
• Who or what influences your definition of a healthy body?
• What is your definition of a beautiful body?
• Who or what influences your definition of a beautiful body?
• What do you like about your body?
• What do you not like about your body?
• What is your relationship to your body?
• How do you treat it?
For example, are you caring, kind, neutral, self-deprecating, dismissive, disdainful, etc.?
• In your heart of hearts, how do you wish to feel about your body?
Write a body narrative that honestly and truthfully applies to you.
Step 3: Read through your body narrative. Underline or circle words and phrases that strike you. Take some time for self-study and write in your journal about your reactions to your body narrative. Consider these questions:
How do you feel reading your words? What emotions come up? Where do you feel these emotions in your body?
Step 4: Write out or list the ripple effects of your body narrative. In other words, how does the way you feel about your body affect all facets of your life, such as your relationships, career, social interactions, spiritual life, mental health, physical health, and self-confidence? Be honest and also gentle with yourself. We understand how listening to our truth can be uncomfortable. We also know that such self-study can lead to breakthroughs that put us on a life-changing path that’s been waiting for us all along.
“Michelle’s Body Narrative: I am twenty-six and don’t really have anything positive to say about my body. I am trying to find a new job. I was fortunate to be able to go to a good college, and I do have a job now, but it’s not very fulfilling. I feel self-conscious when I go on interviews because I feel really fat. I know I am average-size, but I feel like average isn’t good enough. I am curvy and probably bigger than average. I think if I could lose some weight, I would feel more confident at interviews. I’d also feel more deserving of a relationship. My parents were always critical of my body, so sometimes I feel ashamed of how I look when I go out. I find it’s much more comfortable to stay home than to be social. I’m just always haunted by this feeling of not being good enough.”
The exercises you completed in the Listen step have prepared you for the next step:
Personal growth requires the most profound sort of learning, learning that directly impacts your deepest held beliefs and your most ingrained habits. This personal work is usually uncharted territory, making it an uncomfortable and difficult process at times.
After all, it’s much easier to observe someone else making a change than to be the one in the middle of it. One of the first feelings you might experience during this process is that of being out of control. This is a common reaction to have when we don’t know what will be unlocked in the recesses of our minds. That is why we asked you to name all the influences on your thinking in this first step.
Understanding who you are and why you are gives you a sense of control. From this place of stability, stability, you are more prepared to learn.