Thoughts on loving our bodies

Oh goodness, it has been a while since I posted.  Many things happening - classes, sort-of-summer, clinic growing... It's all good!  But of course I have things to say and have been writing some things down.  

Has someone ever said this to you: “Just LOVE yourself!  LOVE your body!”  I don’t think this is that easy for most of us and frankly it frustrates me sometimes!!! (I probably still love you if you do this and I know you, just hear me out).

Some of us probably go through waves.  I feel content, then I don’t, I feel happy with myself, then I don’t.  I am a mid-30’s female-bodied person living in a fairly large city - I work full-time, own a business, teach classes, manage to cook for myself, bathe myself (believe it or not!) and still have a few friends left, ha!  It is not always easy to maintain this, and I do the best I can.

I taught a class last month on “Herbs for Women’s Health” and am doing it again this week.  I struggled with the naming because I don’t want to gender folks and say that there is a class for “women’s” or a class for “men’s” health, but more to focus on herbs, health and community for those that may be dealing with issues of female body parts/souls/identity.  For those of us with female parts, thinking about our period, hormones, pelvic and breast health isn’t always our top priority (I mean, I am more worried at 9:30 at night whether I remembered to get coffee for the next morning), and some of us were not shown or did not learn how to honor this in ourselves and share it in community.  I feel that this is something we need to REMEMBER in our bones that our ancestors honored these wonderful bodies and shared that with one another.  All bodies could benefit from this.  

With these body parts (regardless of your gender identity, you may be able to relate), we may feel like our periods are a nuisance and are happy when they are late or scanty or give praise when we have a birth control that makes it go away completely – we wish our lumps away, squeeze them into pressurized clothing to make them look and feel “better” than they are, we apologize for not shaving our legs and brush off our low libidos as just being “tired” and no big deal.  But WE ARE a big deal.  Your body parts can serve a function, particularly giving you cues to hormonal or other changes that we might want to pay attention.  If something is out of balance, our body is trying to tell us something.

Acupuncture & herbal medicine can be very helpful at addressing the health of our bodies: some things that can be re-balanced if you are dealing with female parts are things like PMS, cramping, early or late periods, flooding or scanty periods, breast tenderness, bloating, abortion/post-abortion care, and menopausal symptoms.  To me, addressing the discomfort through acupuncture and herbs is key, but then daily practices of nourishing ourselves through food, herbs, emotional & spiritual health is SO important.

I’ve begun some practices recently to keep reminding myself that I need to love myself.  It’s not much, but hey, I’m doing something!  I may do a little 20-minutes of stretching or yoga and to start off, I thank my body.  I sit down on my mat or floor, hands at my heart and say, “Thank you, body.”  Closing up, I put one hand on my heart and one hand on my belly and say, “Thank you, body.”  I’ve definitely cried doing this because it conjured up all the criticism I had given my body and I FORGOT that my body was holding me up through the day (ALL DAY EVERY DAY!), and that I should have gratitude that I was taking care of it as best I could through nourishing food and breathing practices and good sleep and hugging my friends.  AMEN, PREACH, LOVE ON THAT BOD!  It just takes practice, like everything else, to remind yourself that you’re worthy.  You may not accept it, but practice is practice and sometimes we just have to keep doing it until we get it and that’s enough. 

If you are curious about herbs for women’s health, I am teaching a class at Rainbow Natural Remedies this Thursday, July 19th from 5:30-7 PM, you can read more information here.