You’re about to read Chapter 32. Want to start this story from the beginning? Go here.
Okay so I just danced around naked while listening to the latest Taylor Swift, and I am digging into a pint of Haagen-Dazs Cookies & Cream while I write this.
In other words, I am in a good place with my body acceptance and self-esteem.
My body is my best friend
It takes Katherine all the way till the very end of Lesson 32 to make her most important point, but it’s there:
“Our bodies are the hosts of our great spirits and the home of our grand souls. They house the vastness of the life force that moves in and through us, and grant us the gift of life itself. To relate to them as anything less than this miracle is a distortion of who and what we are.”—CITO p.218
It took me many years to fully grasp how miraculous my body is, but I got there. And I hope I never go anywhere else.
Because my body really is my best friend. Yes, at some level it is merely a meat suit. I know that my true soul and spirit are beyond material form.
But I am also a human on earth at the moment, and my meat suit is an extremely vital part of that experience.
(Case in point: This ice cream is DELICIOUS. I only indulge every month or two, and every time it is straight up heaven in my mouth. Thaaaank you, tastebuds!)
Not only do I count on my physical structure to keep me alive and active, but it also serves as an outward expression of my inner self.
Thank god, I like the way I look
When I was thirteen, I was not comfortable with my appearance.
For the most part, I tried to ignore it.
Like, I literally just didn’t look when I was in the shower—my new breasts were definitely coming in too far apart, and I was sure the new swell of my stomach made me look pregnant.
I hated shopping for clothes because I knew my size was too big. I wore an 11 and sometimes a 13, too large to shop at the trendy mall boutique where the tiny popular girls went.
(That store was actually called 5-7-9 and they actually did not carry sizes above 9.)
And I did explore the idea of an eating disorder in eighth grade, but the closest I came was restricting my school lunch to pretzel sticks and full-calorie Coca-Cola.
(Sometimes I’d also skip dinner, but I was usually too hungry for that.)
So I do remember what it was like to be at odds with my body image.
But the summer before ninth grade my physiology shifted significantly, and I’ve been pretty satisfied ever since.
I feel lucky to like my body
I don’t take my body acceptance for granted.
I’m well aware that millions of women struggle to be at peace with their appearance, and I don’t really understand why that’s not my issue.
But for whatever reason, once I made it to high school I stopped being hard on myself.
That’s not to say I haven’t felt I “should” lose weight over the years. I’ve even attempted a diet or two.
But as Katherine notes, “it’s only when we alter our eating habits out of love and respect for ourselves that lasting change has any real chance to take root in our lives.”
I’ve certainly found that to be true. These days I think of food as either medicine or poison, and I do my best to avoid the latter.
When I make healthy living a lifestyle and not a punishment, I enjoy the experience more. It grows on me.
For example, even though I chose to enjoy Haagen-Dazs tonight, over the last couple months I have cultivated an appreciation for green smoothies. And now I legit like them more than milk shakes(?!?!).
Anyway, I get that a whole lot of pop culture (and advertising) is telling me to be sexier/thinner/hairless/restricted. But for whatever reason, I don’t really care.
And I hope my experience becomes less rare.
Sex is better when you love your body
Also, this may seem obvious, but given that Lesson 32 is in a book about attracting in the love of your life, it’s probably worth mentioning that when you are happy with your body, you can have better sex.
“For when we take a lover to our bed,” Katherine says, “it’s all about opening ourselves totally and completely to the experience of being loved and adored for exactly who we are, and exactly who we are not, as well as being willing to extend this sweet state of grace to another.”
Without getting too into the weeds of my own experiences, I will attest that the more confident I am with myself, the easier it is to let someone else cherish me.
And the more comfortable I am with my own body, the more at ease I can be with another’s.
Lesson 32 in practice
In this lesson, Katherine pretty much assumes her readers have issues with body image.
And honestly, she’s probably right about most of us, so I just counted myself lucky and tried to do the homework anyway.
Especially because, for the second day in a row…no journaling!
Instead, we are supposed to do an “open-eye meditation” in which we sit or stand naked in front of a mirror.
We’re supposed to release any tension and then gently observe each part of our bodies, starting at the top of our heads and working our way down to our toes.
When we observe a judgment about a given body part, we are supposed to ask forgiveness of that body part, offer a sincere appreciation instead, and give gratitude.
Isn’t that a nice idea?
And I promise, I would have done it.
Just…I really do already like my body. There’s only one aspect I sometimes critique.
So I guess I could have asked my under eye circles to forgive me for thinking they are too dark, and told them I appreciate how well they showcase the translucence of my skin. I could have thanked them for the feeling of relief I get from using concealer.
But instead, I just got naked and danced to Taylor Swift.
It was fun.
Love > fear,
Want to know what happens next? Proceed to Chapter 33.