I am fond of this picture for many reasons, but having the Pillsbury doughboy in the shot, makes it even more delicious. Body image, food, and emotional eating. A topic I’ve been familiar with, explored, and attempted to kill and conquer for the past forty-seven years. I won’t bore you with all the ways I have tried to exorcise this out from my body, mind, and spirit, but I do want to share a recent awareness that has unfolded in my life which has gifted me a shift in my perspective.
I have been exploring the idea of reclamation for a new project I am working on, and body wellness and health are at the top of my personal list. Recently, I sat down on my yoga mat and asked my higher Self:
What do I want to reclaim?
- What parts of myself have I lost or forgotten?
- How do I want to FEEL as I move into the next moments of my life?
- What feelings do I wish to rekindle within myself?
1. Joy, Spontaneity, Wonder, Laughter.
2. Freedom in movement Lightness.
I wanted to claim the belief that exercise is a celebration and movement is a party. I wanted to digest the concept food is the nourishment of the body, mind, and soul. I wanted to find grace and ease in caring for my body and feel good while doing it. I wanted to believe I had the power and the self-knowledge to take care of my sacred vessel.
It all resides in me, underneath the conditions, old beliefs, and constructs I have been told growing up or have acquired in my years of navigating the planet. Social conditioning can be tricky to identify as it becomes ingrained in us at a young age. It colors how we view our bodies, feed ourselves, and practice self-care. It comes from the media, our families, and our cultural influences as well as our peers. After the years of therapy, diet and exercise programs, and books, it’s clear it is an inside job, but not in the way I had originally thought or had been told.
As I lift the veil of illusion—I remember who I really am. I am joy. I am light. I am love. I am a celebration of movement and grace. All along I buried myself in food, perfection, exercise programs, and stacks and piles of information telling ME about my body and what I needed. Telling me who I was and who I was supposed to be. I never sought my own counsel I disregarded the notion of self-governing, of slowing down, asking, and listening to what my body, mind, and spirit cried out for. Instead, I sought self-wisdom in others.
“What are you hungry for, dear one?”
The answers I seek linger inside of me. In the soft corners of my heart, they whisper wisdom and truth. As I open myself up to receiving, I am filled with joy and embrace myself as I am. When I listen to my body and honor her needs, I am in alignment. It’s not about the exterior life—the influences—the information I have compiled. It is all within me. Because I have gathered enough of the outside world, now it is time to step beyond what I have been told and dive deeper into my inner world. I want to remove the old dialog of “no pain, no gain,” to strip away the idea that exercising is hard and strenuous. Instead of replacing it with celebrating what my body can do. Dialing into the freedom of movement, the essence of grace, and allowing myself to flow with ease.
Reclaiming joy…I remember when I was a child and running freely through the grass. I felt the power in my legs thrusting into the ground getting traction to propel my body forward. My chest pounded with life, pulling air into my lungs, and feeling totally and completely alive. The awe and wonder of my sacred container as I watched it change seemly overnight as I carried my four children. My expansiveness, how my body intuitively knew what to do was humbling. The power of the senses, being blessed to have my body translate and communicate the world.
through taste, touch, smell, emotion, sight, and hearing. I am grateful for all of the aspects the physical body has gifted me. Tapping into the feelings of wonder, compassion is the key to wellness and self-care.
When I allow myself to embrace the feelings of being alive, of gratitude, expansion, wonder, freedom, and power I am energetically working at a high vibration. When I am feeling good, I don’t choose pathways of self-harm. I don’t abandon myself or my needs. Instead, I celebrate the wonder of being. When I meditate and surrender into the quietness of my inner sanctuary, I am gifted clarity. The noise of my ego, the conditioning of outdated beliefs, the illusions, and anxieties, pass over me. Below, I take residence in my higher Self. The energy center is connected to a greater Source, and I find comfort in knowing that I AM.
What I know is this:
Each day is an invitation. Each moment is an offering. The choice is mine. I can choose over and over and over again. Practice, not perfection, is an act of self-love. Forgiveness is freedom.
Gratitude is medicine. I am responsible for my own happiness and well-being. It rests in my hands, my heart, and in my body. Comparing myself to others is a form of self-harm. Lack is a mindset, not a reality. I have everything I need inside of me. I am complete, with every fracture, chip, and discoloration, I am a unique expression of a greater humanity, and when I show up with intention and love it ripples beyond me, lapping over the shores of others.
May we all seek our own counsel, listen to our inner beings, and know we are the one we have been waiting for.
Nicole Hendrick Donovan is an author, reflective storyteller, and speaker who offers personal essays, memoirs, and workshops as a container for others to seek their inner wisdom and truth. Her memoir, A Life Suspended: A Mother and Son’s Story of Autism, Extinction Bursts, and Living a Resilient Life, brings the reader into the home and heart of a family in crisis. Donovan’s vulnerable storytelling cultivates compassion and understanding, opening a door where acceptance and empathy expand. Nicole is a contributing writer to The Mighty, Autism Parenting Magazine, Finding Cooper’s Voice, and Herself360. As an extension of her offerings, she is the owner of Rose Ray Healing Arts, and curator of her signature Rose Ray Surrender Spray. You can connect with Nicole on Facebook and Instagram @nhdwrites, as well as nhdwrites.com