Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT
I’m here at a Core Walking Yoga Retreat learning how to walk in a way that can heal this increasingly worse hip challenge I’ve had for the past two years. Some of the program has been damn hard and quite uncomfortable. Some of it has been truly life-changing. What I have come to realize is I can make peace with this body as it is right now – regardless of whatever challenge du jour I am experiencing.
The media, and messaging we grow up with, especially as women (but even men these days) wants to make something “wrong” with our bodies. Every day we are told this habit or that habit is bad for us. One day eating breakfast is mandatory to live a healthy life. The next day you’re advised to fast for 14 hours between the last meal of the previous day and your next meal. I even have well-meaning friends or family shaming me at times for my habits and preferences.
I have noticed that whenever I have gone to the doctor, even when I was pretty darn close to my ideal weight, I was told to lose weight. I’ve heard, if you’re overweight, some doctors refuse to even treat you. Yet there are studies that show overweight people get more prompt care in the emergency rooms and actually have better outcomes when they arrive at the emergency room with heart attack symptoms. So it seems like no matter what state your body is in, it’s highly likely someone somewhere isn’t going to be there for you the way you most need it at the time.
Looking for external validation on my body, no matter what condition my body is in, though is just not required to achieving a peaceful body. I learned long ago, I’m not likely going to get validation from “experts.” I don’t find fault with them as they exist to find things wrong with you. Nor is it anyone else’s job to bolster my self-esteem and how I feel about my body – this is an inside job.
I have realized at this retreat, I can make peace with my body, just the way it is.
Based on what I’ve learned on inhabiting this body for almost six decades now, here are my five reminder tips on how to get and sustain a peaceful body:
- Find an exercise practice (or several) that I actually enjoy doing, that brings me peace. For me, my heart is at peace, when I’m loving and enjoying who I am in the moment. Sometimes that is doing yoga with friends, other times it’s a walk in the woods with my dogs. I prefer to set my own goals and reach for those things that are meaningful to me.
- Accept, enjoy, respect, and love myself exactly the way I am, have been and will be. If was supposed to have been anything other than who I am, I would have. Achieving vibrant good health is a mindset and is possible no matter what is going on with my body in the moment.
- Recognize that whatever my body is experiencing has an uplifting and empowering message for me. This is different than a “story.” How do I know the difference? My story on this hip was filled with either blame or justification allowing myself to get further behind the eight ball on healing. I did the blame shame game for “letting myself go.” And I justified this by making excuses about how I was just too busy with life to really do anything about it. The “message” on the other hand makes me feel empowered and inspired. Hearing the message and allowing it to be my guide shows me various inspiring and uplifting solutions to resolve whatever issue I’m experiencing. Even when I can find advisors who can help me better tune into my experiences, I am the final decision maker on anything that goes on for my body. The message on the other hand, when I tuned into it. said – “go do something you’ll have fun at to get on the other side of this hip issue.” That is how I found the life-changing Core Walking Program at the incredible Casa Wallace holistic retreat facility in Northern Italy.
- Be mindful of how I care and nurture my body – I only get one body. How I take care of me, is 100% my responsibility. It’s not anyone else’s job to take care of me – not what parents did or did not do for me, not my children, not my partner, not my friends, and most certainly not anyone in the medical profession. I do what is right for me while loving myself just the way I am. For example – I am an omnivore and a foody. A standard yoga retreat that served only Vegan or Vegetarian food didn’t sound like fun to me. I need to honor who I am and live in the way that brings me happiness. Others have their own journey.
- Tune in to my inner voice on what my body needs in the moment. Mix it up and try various approaches to feeling fantastic. Variety is the spice of life so I try different ways of being, eating and moving, that keep me engaged in the flow of life.
The way I enjoy caring for my body is as individual as I am. It’s a part of growing and changing to experience various types of existence. I’m giving the “Peaceful Body” approach a whirl for a while to see what it creates for me.