We all have a body story.
When I write these powerful words, ‘uncovering our body stories,’ I imagine they elicit some sort of inhibition or fear. I know that to be true for myself. It is an action statement.
It is foreign for some to even consider, though they are the ones to whom it is so telling. Any sentiment that generates strong passion or emotion inevitably mirrors something within that needs to be addressed.
Does that sound familiar?
Understanding our body is hard enough, but to accept that it holds us in a way that can decide how to live our lives fully in the present moment, can be quite intimidating. Arguably any concentrated focus on oneself is often a challenge.
It is an action statement that can incite emotional pain and honest clarity that we often avoid in our lives. It is not to say our body can only breathe negative memories; indeed, it is equally common to take hold of the joyous stories as well.
We savor a first kiss, the soft touch when we engage to hold hands with someone we are getting to know. Some have the honor to cry tears of joy at the kick of a baby as it grows inside. And some days a hug from anyone can bring a person from crisis mode to safety and comfort in a matter of seconds.
I often write and speak of owning our stories; I learned years ago that they are the map of the road we travel yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Our stories are always resting at the core of who we are and who we can be when we walk in vulnerability and exploration. Our stories live within us; sometimes hidden away not by choice, rather in survival mode.
It is easy to assume that we do not have control over our body’s stories; though in the end it truly is a coming home to ourselves when we embrace courage to give these stories voice and honor them as we should; they are the core of who we are becoming.
It takes patience, there are no time limits. It is possible.
If we were to look within society at how people engage in behaviors such as drinking, sexual encounters, self-harm to exercise and food addiction; we come to realize that it all comes back to the body and the story we hold within. We exchange substance and negative behaviors for honest presumed clarity out of fear for the unknown.
I didn’t even understand this concept until I, myself, entered recovery for disordered body image over two decades ago. Up to that point, I unknowingly tried to disconnect from my body in every way possible. I knew intuitively I didn’t want to be aware of this shell that was attempting to carry me through life. I knew that for me my body was a source of pain for the darkness was ever present when I paused to acknowledge an emotion, a feeling, or the overall presence it embodied.
I silenced its cues. We all do this.
Once I began to understand what my body was asking of me, I could no longer deny the truth in the body’s emotions which it held. If I used behaviors, I did so knowingly. I was accountable. I believe many can relate to this. I was challenged to continually ask what kind of life I wanted to live. I had to find the courage to live this life that formed in my answer, rather than the one I was hiding behind.
As much as we try to run away from life and have others believe that was the only answer, deep down we need to face ourselves and core story. If the answer were honest, I knew it meant I would need to uncover the otherwise unattractive stories that lingered through my pain. But the alternative was not living fully.
Do you find yourself hiding from life behind behaviors or your hidden stories?
Our bodies hold so much more than we realize or want to admit. When we have the courage to pause and to listen with compassion, our world begins again.
We all have experiences in life which clearly lead us to our distorted and negative feelings around our bodies. In our apprehensive eyes it was nothing we felt needed to be processed. It was in the past.
Well, that is clearly the effortless way out and the absolute most harmful route in thinking anyone could take on this path to awareness. Honestly, those stories within our bodies are dictating every move taken each day whether we want to admit it or not.
Are you living by the stories you are running from?
The hardest realization is accepting there is never an end point. But if we could sit in gratitude realizing that we are going to be always growing, learning, searching, and healing; the road doesn’t look so dark.
We must uncover, identify, talk about, and release these stories to fully love ourselves and our bodies into the present moment. As we do this, we begin to live a fulfilled life.
Can you imagine living a life this freely?
The key piece of awareness is recognizing that it won’t happen all at once. It is a lifetime process. It took me as long to walk through the stories, while life is always creating more stories; so, it will be a process to unpack the stories that need more awareness and healing.
We all have body stories. Some stories are so much worse than others. But without minimizing each other’s stories, we understand the importance of walking together. We are constantly living and re-writing the stories of our life.
Do you know what your body stories are today?
Trust the body.
Trust the feelings.
Trust the impulses.
Trust the knowing.
Trust the resistance.
Trust the story.
Trust that you deserve to be free.
Explore this topic more on our upcoming Fall Women's Retreat: Finding Your Voice & Embracing Body Wisdom!
Andrea creates, builds, and offers her teachings and hands on life tools based on her journey healing her body image after a 14yr battle and life of trauma. Her vision always is to help others live a full life with the journey they are given.