Ten steps for falling more deeply in love with your body

Today is Love Your Body Day. How will you honor and celebrate her? Or if you aren’t there yet, cuz Goddess knows I’ve been there—in the mid nineties I suffered three miscarriages which I experienced as a deep, dark betrayal by God, catholicism and my body. How will you accept her and forgive her, even just a little? I’m living proof, as are many woman I know, that it’s possible to heal your relationship with your body.

And grow to love, adore, treasure and trust her again.

Here are ten steps that can help you love and adore your body:

1. Journal the story of your body and the hurt(s) you need to heal

Feel your feelings towards your body, in your body. Where do you actually feel sadness or betrayal or anxiety in your body? For me sadness sits in my heart and chest, then bubbles up my neck to behind my eyes, ultimately released as tears. Anxiety and fear rumble in my gut, causes me to hold my breath, sometimes make my palms sweat and my whole body tense up or maybe just the back of my neck.

Scan your body. Express the feelings. Weep. Wail. Stomp. Write “Dear Body” letters expressing feelings, especially anger, sadness, fear and guilt. Then share what you accept and understand about your body. Finally, conclude with what you need from your body and yourself to heal the hurts. Cry. Draw. Dance.

2. Shower in honey

I know I know. It sounds sticky and icky. That was my first reaction when Sheila Kelley asked Spring 2011 S Factor Essentially Sexy Retreat attendees to shower with an entire bottle of honey at 10:30 at night. I was already clean and ready for sleep so didn’t do it. But the next day, after being introduced to the to the goddess Oshun—who became magnetic and radiant after bathing in honey—I bathed in a half-bottle before the evening activities that were focused on Oshun. The rich thick liquid felt & smelled yummy; the hot water of the shower melted it over my skin softening and moisturizing it. And honey is good for your skin; it’s anti-bacterial and a humectant (which means it attracts and hold moisture) Oshun is the Goddess of Love and the Rivers. She radiates beauty and teaches us how to love and please our bodies. So try it. Shower with honey to invoke Oshun and let her show you how to adore your body.

© Oshun, African Goddess by Selina Fenech

3. Admire and appreciate the beauty of curves in mother nature

Notice the round, full clouds, the contour of the green hills, the sinuous waves contrasted with the hard lines of the man-made sailboat.

4. View your favorite works of art of the feminine form

On the web. Better yet, go visit it if you can and display them in your home. Here are a few of my favorites. What is it that you find beautiful and attractive in each of them? What do you notice they all have in common? Could it be the curves?

Botticelli’s Birth of Venus in the Ufizi in Florence

Aphrodite in marble at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan.

Photograph of Pele by Brad Lewis

Dusk Glow 2 by Brad Lewis

Wood carving of Saraswati

Pencil Drawing of Mermaids

5. Notice the beauty in other women’s curves

Share what you see. You could heal a woman’s relationship with a part of her body. A friend complimented the curve of my cheeks. I blushed and smiled wider, which enhanced the concavity. “I love them even more now!” she responded. It transformed my relationship with them. I no longer saw them as cubby cheeks, instead began seeing a gorgeous curve, just like all the curves and hills I adore in nature. I smile more than ever.

6. Feel the beauty in your curves

Where do you feel tension in your body right now? Neck? Lower back? Hips? Stretch into that tension. As far as you can. Close you eyes. Inhale. Slowly arch your neck towards your right shoulder. Feel the stretch and elongation on the left side of your neck, down into your shoulder and clavicle. Exhale as you roll your head forward and feel the stretch at the back of your neck. Continue to roll your head up. Feel the stretch on the right side. Inhale as you let your head fall gently back and feel the stretch all the way down to your luscious breasts. Push them out into the light, while pulling your shoulders down and back. Exhale and release. Do the same kind of slow circular stretch for every body part where you feel tension or tightness. Focus on how luscsious it feel to stretch your gorgeous body into the world.

7. Be seen

Ask your most trusted friend, your mom or your significant other to do for you what my friend did for me in #5. Lie on the floor, your couch, your bed in a comfortable curvaceous position. Ask your trusted friend to share what beauty she/he sees from every angle. Let them read this blog and admire the pictures to prime them.  Or show them your favorite art first.

8. See your body as art

Ask a the friend from #6 to snap a picture. If you’re not ready to see your whole body, then just a close up of their (or your) favorite curve. Or if you don’t trust a friend or family member work with an experienced photographer who can help you see your body as art. I’ve wanted to practice eye contact with the camera ever since participating in a pin-up photography workshop as a playful type of foreplay. I’m going to take my own advice a step further and do it naked with my honey.  And, no, I don’t plan to share those pictures.

9. Accept flaws

You don’t have to be perfect to be wonderful! It took me a long time to accept and believe this fact. I generally don’t believe in absolutes, but in this case I do—no one I know, nothing in nature is perfect. Though 50 pounds lighter than I was eight years ago, I’m still working at losing another 40 for health reasons. And to enable more pole tricks. I eat a vegan nutritarian diet. I exercise regularly. I get adequate rest. I’ve been tested for medical issues. I keep tweaking, yet haven’t found my solution. I believe one day I will and my body will shed the excess weight. In the meantime, I’ve learned to accept that I am beautiful despite the excess weight. Still, I’m not evolved enough to see beauty in my belly roll, but I have made peace with it and no longer feel disgusted by it as I once did.

Why can’t I see beauty in my belly? I see extraordinary beauty in bellies of pregnant women. And Pot bellied sea horses that see beauty in the male’s belly. Turns out I’ve evolved more than I thought. Two years have passed since I first saw this photo.

Photo by Michelle Hayes

At the time all I saw was my big belly. Now I see extraordinary beauty in the trajectory of the curves in the photograph. How my eye travels from my left hand up my left arm, through my hair, down my right arm to my elbow, over the hills of my breasts, belly, hips and thigh, to the curve of my ankle and stiletto and then up my butt, arched back, then down my inner arm to my hand. Then back up again. Round and round. Mesmerizing.

10. Adorn her

Have you ever noticed how animals strut proudly when freshly groomed? I’ve noticed the same thing in people. In high school we had a dress code. Behavior was different on casual days. I also believe it’s why we wear gowns and tuxedos at weddings. We transform into superhero versions of ourselves. Why not add some of that magic into every day life?

I’ve found that my body responds, feels more joy and confidence when I wear clothes that both feel good and celebrate my curves. Even if it’s just the under garment layer. My current favorite outer layer is a tank top with a skirt or jeans. Anoint your body too. As a teenager I loved the shampoo, ‘Gee your hair smell’s terriffic and the perfume ‘Love’s Baby Soft.’  I out grew those but never replaced them. As I rediscovered the importance and deep pleasure of layered senuality when I began S Factor classes, I began hunting for adult versions. It took years, but I finally them! Jasmine scented products at Lush: Godiva shampoo bar, R&B conditioner and Lust perfume. It gives me so much pleasure. And every time someone tells me, “You smell so good.” my whole body smiles and struts a little taller. Meaningful jewelry and eye makeup are other treats my body adores. Many women like lipstick and heels. I’m still searching for a comfy pair of heels…maybe one day.

How have you fallen more in love with your body and it’s inherent beauty? Share your secrets.

Note: This post is part of the 2011 Love Your Body Day Blog Carnival

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