“I open my heart and mind to be aware that I have allowed what others believe about me to become what I believe about myself. If you fail to take the time to question why you do what you do, you can become convinced that you cannot do anything else. Other people will help you feel convinced. People are in the habit of telling other people who they are. They tell you who they expect you to be, who they need you to be and who they want you to be.” Until Today – Iyanla Vanzant – March 18
It is much easier to write about something in my life that I have changed and that has been transformed by the grace of God. It’s more difficult and vulnerable to write about something that is in the process of being transformed and healed because there is the fear of being judged or misunderstood. It has been my intention each week to be as honest and authentic as I can be because I want to do God’s will and be a pure instrument of love. I know that openness breeds openness.
In last week’s blog, I wrote about the importance of celebrating our growth and acknowledging where we have come from. I think it is equally important to honor and love those parts of ourselves that still need God’s healing touch and grace. This week I will share with you a struggle that I have had for many, many years.
About a month ago, I worked with a recurring dream that was very significant. After writing in my journal, I said to God, “I am not sharing this in a blog. You really don’t want me to share this, do you? This is too personal.” Today, I heard Spirit say, “Yes, I want you to write about this in your blog today.” As I thought and prayed about it, I realized that if I am struggling with it, there may be others out there who could also be struggling with it. I share this part of my life with you in humility and faith, trusting that God is healing me and will heal you if this is your struggle.
It has been my experience and my belief that God speaks to us through our dreams. I dreamt that my first boyfriend Steve left me. I know that every part of the dream is about me. In working with past dreams with Steve in them, I know that he represents my animus (which is the male part of me.) There is a technique that I use where I dialogue with the object in the dream to get clarity on the wisdom of the dream. This is what was revealed to me.
I dialogued with Steve and asked him, “Why are you in my dream and what is your gift?” I was surprised when he said, “I am here to teach you about love.” I answered, “What do you mean?” He replied, “Loving yourself is the most important relationship you have.” I was confused because I thought I was loving myself and wrote, “I am loving myself more than I have ever loved myself. Do I leave myself and if I do, how do I do it?”
I sat quietly for a few seconds and then it came bubbling up to the surface. “Oh, my body image, is that it, God? Do I not love, honor and cherish my body?” I felt deep within that this is what I needed to look at and where I needed healing. I then began to write a letter of forgiveness to myself forgiving myself for the years of “beating up” on myself, for judging my body for not being good enough, for feeling fat and not skinny enough. I wrote, “I want it to STOP NOW. It will STOP NOW! I want to love, treasure and honor the body you have given me. I ask for your help God, I need your grace.” I know that if I don’t love my body, I will not be open to a man loving my body. It all starts with me.
I became honest with myself and admitted that I have obsessed about my weight and how I look all of my life. I ate cottage cheese and peaches for a week so I could fit into the dress for the wedding that was too tight. I have probably been on every kind of diet there was at one time or another; the grapefruit diet, soup diet, Atkins diet and “Weight Watchers.” I know there are more, but I can’t remember them now.
YUCK, embarrassing and not easy to admit, but I also know that the truth will set me free. I choose to bring to the light what has been hidden so that God’s love will heal me. For those of you who know me personally and because of the pictures I send each week, you might think, “She’s crazy and I wish I had her body.” You may wish you had my body, but being obsessed about weight and body image is not something you want. This is distorted thinking and crazy!
God brought to mind that it started when I was very young. When I was 12 years old, my mother, who was on a diet, took me to a doctor to get diet pills. I was not overweight! As an adult, whenever my father visited me, he would comment, “You gained weight or you lost weight and you look too thin.” I recognized that my unconscious belief has been, “I must be the perfect weight and look perfect to be loved.” My parents always told me I was pretty, so I believed that I was pretty. As the opening reading said, “I have allowed what others believe about me to become what I believe about myself. If you tell yourself something long enough, you will believe it- the good and the bad.”
I felt a deep sadness and loss when it sank in that for over 50 years I have lived with this belief. I went to the ocean and asked Mother Maui to heal and restore me as the tears rolled down my cheeks. This month I have focused on loving and cherishing my body. My prayer has been “Divine Love, heal my distorted body image.” Every morning when I get out of bed, I look in the mirror and love all parts of my body and I am listening to Oprah and Deepak 21 day meditation series on loving the body.
With God’s grace and my willingness to change, I have stopped beating up on myself that I am too fat. I am giving myself loving kind messages. I know this is a process and will not change overnight, but I know I am on the right track since it has come to the light and I am willing to do what I need to do to heal this distorted image.
Do you love your body or do you beat up on yourself? You may think you are too short or too tall, or you don’t like your hips, or you have too many wrinkles or you are losing your hair. What don’t you like about your body? Isn’t it time to begin to love and honor the body you are living in?
My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and God wants me to love and care for my body. I will see myself through God’s eyes – a beautiful creation of love and light. I will love, treasure and honor the body God has given me. I am grateful that I continue to blossom and grow into the woman God intended me to be.
When I look back on all the other limiting beliefs that God has healed and enabled me to transform, I know that I am using the same processes with healing the limiting beliefs about my body. I allowed myself to pay attention to the inner messages that were coming up in a dream, I brought the uncomfortable feeling and beliefs into the light and asked for healing, and I became wiling to change what I think and say to myself about who I am, (which is more than the body I am in). I am starting to feel more and more peaceful and my affirmations are becoming stronger and more natural to me as I practice them on a daily basis. This is how I have healed everything else in my life and I know that my faith in a loving God and my faith in the power of this inner work will guide me to a place of genuine love and appreciation for the beautiful temple my spirit resides in.
Heart Steps – Julia Cameron pg. 59
There is no separation between body and soul, spirit and matter. One essence, one unity, runs through all of life. This essence, the God-force is completely pure, completely perfect. I claim for myself the health and perfection of this divine force. My body is beautiful, sacred and beloved. Spirit infuses my body with radiant goodness. I experience vitality, enthusiasm, energy and power. My physical nature and my spiritual nature are one and the same. My body’s needs and urges are divine in origin.
Currently, 80 percent of women in the U.S. are dissatisfied with their appearance. And more than 10 million are suffering from eating disorders. Why women hate their bodies
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