Thursday, October 18, 2018

Body Love in a Dangerous Time

“What is your truth? Ask your heart, your back, your bones, and your dreams. Listen to that truth with your whole body. Understand that this truth will destroy no one and that you’re too old to be sent to your room.” ~John Lee, Writing from the Body

There is a war on Feminine Flesh. Do you know that song sung by the Bare Naked Ladies, Lovers in a dangerous time? These feel like dangerous times for women’s bodies. The worst part is that the assault comes from within us, not just from men in power, or from magazines, news, TV and video. Inside of ourselves there is a war going on against female cycles, female flesh. We either have too much or not enough. We look in the mirror and hate what we see. (I know as my pot belly gets bigger that this is an issue for me, that buying bigger pants will only partly solve!) In spite of the great consciousness awareness surrounding abuse and disrespect coming out of the #metoo movement, in 2018 it is still difficult for women to feel love and accept their own female bodies, just the way they are.

None of us seems to be happy with our shape, or our hair, (if it’s curly you want it straightened, if it’s straight you spend hours curling it); our body size, our legs or sagging arm flesh, or our boobs heading south as we hit menopause.  This gets harder as we get older, as our aging bodies go through even more changes (why can’t I get rid of that last 10 lbs as I enter my mid-sixties?) and all this self hatred and judgement has lead to a boom in cosmetic surgery and diet crazes.

But I think it’s not just about bodies' aging. An awful lot of young girls and women feel anxious about their bodies, and it starts at a young age. My daughter, at age 8 came home from school one day to tell me she had a big tummy. Her friends were starting to criticize their bodies already!  It starts with anxiety about being “perfect” – all the celebrity images prime us for self-criticism - looking through a big pile of magazines recently, I could not find any positive images of women over size 6. They were all super thin, slim, and gorgeous or a few of the opposite – extremely overweight and unhealthy – where is the middle ground? Where are the images of women who fit somewhere in the middle, who look like you or I?

These ridiculously strict standards cause serious restrictions on our self-image, our self love and our  freedom: we’re hit from all sides - from the fashion  and cosmetic industry, even at the local parents’ committee, there are  body police everywhere, measuring us up, judging us on our weight gain (or loss), our clothing size, hair colour, how much cellulite we have, and offering the best surgery or botox to correct our imperfections….the harsh criticism from self and others never ends.

Food is no longer about nourishment. We are constantly monitoring our hunger, our food intake, counting calories, working out to lose the bag of chips we just ate, punishing and rewarding ourselves for lack of effort or sticking to the diet and exercise plan, hating ourselves in the mirror. I’m not saying we shouldn’t try to look and feel our best – but we go to extremes - either obsessing about it or we numbing ourselves with cookies, ice cream or alcohol.  We have learned to disconnect from our bodies, from our intuitive knowing, and from our feelings.

Which ever way you look at it, there has been a long history of conflict surrounding women’s bodies, all the way back to Eve. Our bodies, our cycles and our sexuality have been banned and sent underground for so long, either seen as depravity and evil or simply banned and nonexistent, ignored by generations of women too traumatized to know differently. We have lost our collective memory, the knowledge that used to be passed down from mothers, aunts and sisters to their younger daughters, nieces and sisters. The once sacred women’s rites around the menstrual cycle and childbirth for example became suspect and connected to witchcraft, and thousands of women were burned, drowned or hung. There are many hundreds of years of history behind our relationship with our feminine nature, our bodies and our intuition.

I think it's time to declare a truce on the war with our body. What if we picked one small part of our body to reclaim and love back to a healthy relationship? We may not be able to transform our attitude overnight, but we can take little steps, one body part at a time. What if we actually began to feel worthy and deserving of self-love? 

What is Women’s Wisdom? We can only counter the negative baggage by beginning with ourselves, with loving our bodies, one part at a time. Embodied living means learning to live consciously, in touch with our inner guidance through our thoughts, emotions, dreams, and with acceptance of the feelings in our body. It means believing that our bodies are able to receive and transmit energy and information. We can begin to develop our intuition, our feminine wisdom.

Because I need to heal my relationship and begin listening to my body too, I am offering a women's one-day workshop called Body Love in a Dangerous Time. We will start by re-establishing some open communication with our bodies, by looking at one small part, acknowledging it, listening to it and dialoguing with it in our journals, in a judgement free zone of lovingkindness. 

That’s where we begin, and then in the afternoon we’ll make a SoulCollage(R) card for a body part we want to improve our relationship with, or send some love to. SoulCollage(R) is a nourishing, expressive art form that uses images, intuition and imagination to make small 5 x 8 collages that reflect inner parts, emotions, archetypes and energies. (

We’ll also spend some time breathing deeply and relaxing, finding and releasing areas of tension, and inviting in a sense of self-love, gratitude and wonderment at the beautiful beings we are.  We will take baby steps to feel good about our body parts, and infuse them with love and attention.

We will baby ourselves, ladies, we will love ourselves like we would love a precious child and make a start at healing the disconnect.

The Church says: the body is a sin.

Science says: the body is a machine.
Advertising says: The body is a business.
The Body says: I am a fiesta.”  ~Eduardo Galeano, Walking Words

much love to your on your journey
more information, times, date, cost at 

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Reclaiming Space for Solitude & Joy

Art Journal collage: Creative Play 

You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning...a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. ~ Joseph Campbell

Give yourself a day of doing nothing to balance the days of doing too much. Rest, with time alone or engage in joyful activity: your choice, what recharges your batteries?

Plan a home-spa day: give yourself a bubble bath, some foot care, breakfast in bed, curl up with cozy blankets and a novel

Get lost in flow....Learn a new musical instrument, or other form of self-expression. Play in the garden, swim laps in a pool, sketch in a notebook, do some collage, write in your journal.

If you and your inner self have been out of touch: make a date with yourself. Julia Cameron recommends a weekly artist date, a solo trip to a place that interests you – the art museum, fabric store, a lunch hour concert, the arboretum, taking photos of tiny things like snow crystals.  Cultivate your curiosity and your creativity.

Trade off with your partner or a friend: this Saturday afternoon I’ll be out from 1 – 4 pm, if you watch the kids - next Saturday it’s your turn.

Make a list of what you could do with stolen moments: tiny tidbits of time – walk to work, eat lunch outside on a bench, breathe deeply and check in with your body every hour or so, gaze out the window and daydream. The practice of doing nothing feeds your need to replenish, which is just as important as the to-do list.

Do one thing at a time. Don’t make the bed while brushing your teeth, check your voice mail while eating lunch or half listen to the kids while glancing at the news.

Take a half-hour walk with a friend and leave your cell phone at home. Focus on discovering something new in your surroundings you’ve never noticed. Read Hokusai Says poem. 

Be silly. Grab a girlfriend or sister and run through the backyard sprinkler, have a pillow fight or a splash up with water balloons.

Tell three people you love that you love them –right now. Now is the best time to express your care for others.

Do one fun, spontaneous thing that makes you laugh – dance alone in your room, blast a CD during morning commute, eat a peach in public.

Work is not always required. There is such a thing as sacred idleness. ~ Scottish author George MacDonald

 (inspired by an article in O magazine)