Feeling lost and alone is inevitable if we are not centered in our skin. All change begins within. All solutions are found inside. The body is the vessel for creation and exploration, fully being. Visualizing the range of gifts this flesh provides can open your heart and mind to the adventurous possibilities all around. Unfortunately, many times this truth is not discovered until an epic loss appears in our lives. For some, it is a door never opened. Others see it and see it again, but choose an easier, seemingly better path.
Before my brother, Josue, became ill and passed away, I took so much for granted. I berated myself in thought and action about being overweight, lamenting my real and imagined physical flaws. I made lovely lists of comparisons. My life belonged to the future. I would live it when. Sometimes the un-loving led to unhealthy decisions or habits. I did not accept myself. I was right there and I still could not see.
I saw suffering and I felt it deep within, beyond where skin meets tissue and bone and soul, where words are just inarticulate sounds, pain can be tasted and love is the only thing tying you to hope. Sometimes I had to survive it in 20 minute increments, one day was asking too much.
Through it all, I discovered a gratitude for the pieces of me: My legs, my transport. Any location is open to me. I can jump and play. I can kick and run. Oh, I can dance. I can dance to whatever rhythm moves me. I dance for myself, for my peace, for my joy, for my own pleasure, for the feel of it, the surge in my veins.
My arms, my hands, the support and designers. I can hug and hold. I can throw and paint and make and touch. And touch. And touch. Skin and texture and soft and life. If I can dream it, I can form it into existence. I can create and change the world, one dream at a time.
Every curve, all my pillowy softness, every stretch mark, every scar, every piece of me is living and a witness to my journey, to the formation of the she who is present in this moment, this particular and human experience. All of the before became the now. I embrace all that has been so that I may be who I am.
I am. I am whatever it is in my heart to be and only I can know my path. We all are something that no one else is. Each of us has a distinct offering to make for ourselves and to each other. This body is the hearth, the beautiful shelter of the soul, the movement maker. Love it and care for it. Be open to the majesty. The more loving you are to yourself, the more you will find it reflected to you in the world, the deeper connections you will find with others. This is not about selfishness or narcissism. Love is always the answer. When situations arise and difficulties occur, shower yourself with loving thoughts and actions. Give to yourself from the purest place and bit by bit, clarity will come. Believe it and allow it to flow to you.
The other day, I dipped my luscious form into the Pacific Ocean in Ventura, California near the harbor. It was bitingly cold at first, but I wet my entire body in that salty water and became accustomed to it in a way I never thought I could. I loved it and I jumped up and down, floated on my back and made flying motions with my arms. Exposing only my face to the air, I could hear the movement of the water and my own blood rush. The salt made a home in my nostrils and I felt that I was in the perfect place. I laughed and I felt such joy, I could feel the tears, the peace, calmness and at the same time, the exhilaration. Another version of me would have been too self-conscious to be there alone or to play, but I don’t need anyone’s permission to express myself. I do not need approval from the outside.
We have more power than we think we do over ourselves and our lives. It begins with love, especially of the self. With practice, persistence, and a desire to believe a new story and to live it, anything is possible. I am an awesome expression of the infinite and so are you. Cheers to love. Cheers to every piece that makes the whole.