Unchaining the Body

 Photo - statue of  Andromeda  at Glenn Green Galleries, Tesuque, NM http://www.glenngreengalleries.com

Photo - statue of Andromeda at Glenn Green Galleries, Tesuque, NM http://www.glenngreengalleries.com

To change, you must face the dragon of your appetites with another dragon: the life-energy of the soul - Rumi

This week I’m joined by four women in a home outside of Santa Fe, New Mexio -- #5inthecasa. We gathered from the East Coast, the West Coast, Canada and points in between. For me this was the first time meeting in person, although we’ve known each other from our online worlds and Facebook communities. We’ve come together for a soulful quest to see how big of an impact we can make. We’re all talented and successful in our own rights – as businesswomen, writers, coaches, teachers, way-showers. We have vowed that the work we do here will have ripple effects far beyond these four walls.

On the first night after cleaning away dinner we gathered and had a sometimes heated, sometimes emotional, sometimes reflective conversation on body image, weight, cultural influences and overcoming the family legacy of our bodies. I suppose with a group of women living together for a week, it was inevitable. Part of me kept wanting to leave the room. I’ve been in this conversation from childhood, listening to my mother and aunties share their latest diet successes and failures around the dining room table at family events once the dishes were cleared and the men had vacated. It was that and horror stories of childbirth and menopause. I had told myself this was the one subject I did not want to get into this week. I’m a smart, powerful, dynamic woman in a group of smart, powerful, dynamic women. I shouldn’t have to talk about this, think about this, worry about this.

I am tired of this conversation in my head, with myself and with others about my body, my weight and always coming from a place of not enough. I swing from “This is a conspiracy of the media, fueled by men to keep us small, focused on being Barbie versus simply owning and being the powerful women we are” ...to “I’m in my early 50s, if I haven’t achieved the perfect body yet, it will never happen, I might as well give up” ...to “Our society is F-d up. Many cultures embrace the body in all it’s shape and sizes.” We discussed the problems of toxic food, obesity, emotional eating, and the power derived from or disdain for counting calories and what it means to truly listen to our bodies. We did not solve problems (we aren’t doing that this week) but I did sense something shift in the room, and inside myself. A softening in our hearts and our bellies. 

As I readied for bed I thought of my dear friend Sue Ann Gleason who has told me many times that the goal is to be “well nourished.” I want to be well nourished - in body, in mind, in soul. I want to eat food that is nourishing and not toxic or created for me to be addicted to it so I buy more of it. I want to be nourished by time in silence, and walks in nature. I want to be nourished by the deep conversations that come forth from wise women seeking truth, a liberation from norms that no longer serve us and the desire to liberate others from self-imposed beliefs that entrap and enslave us to living a life much smaller than we are here to live.

I want to embrace the body I have, here and now, AND be open to possibilities for change as new versions of me morph and old versions drop away. And it is that path of freedom, of my own judgments and fear of others judgments of me that will nourish me, body and soul.

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If you are interested in a gathering of the women in deep soul exploration and conversation will check out my next Women’s Soul Gathering June 5-8 at Ratna Ling retreat center 3 hours north of San Francisco….you can find out more herehttp://laurafrancesgates.com/retreat/