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Body Home

I wasn't sure how to start this blog post; I have had a complicated relationship with my body for most of my life. There have been times when I straight-up hated my body. For not conforming to society's beauty standards. For becoming injured or sick. For not doing enough, being enough --for letting me down. I have worked hard to re-imagine my relationship with my body, a journey that started when I was pregnant with my first child. I did not want to pass on to my children the same shame, disordered eating, and messaging that I had. That decision was the beginning of the slow reclamation of a different way of existing that sees my body less like a tool that I use, and more like a treasured friend.

I am not alone in these struggles. Many of my clients are challenged in their self-esteem or experience a disconnect between the wants of the mind and the needs of the body. It seems that we are often at war with our bodies privileging a view of the body that sees it as a subject of the will. The problem is that seeing the body this way objectifies it. What do you do with a tool that breaks? You either fix it or replace it. Tools don't need to rest. Tools don't grow or change. They are static and exist to be used until they are no longer useful. What if instead, we saw our bodies as living entities with which to have a relationship?

In order to be in relationship with, we need to have understanding and compassion. Relationships require compromise and an ability to forgive betrayals and trespasses. Relationships require presence in the moment and investment in knowing who we are in relationship with. Relationships flourish when there is mutual respect, trust, and affection. Relationships are about connection, not use. What could it mean to truly connect with your body? To offer it compassion and care?

What I came to understand as I worked on my relationship with my body is that it wasn't my body letting me down: I was letting my body down. I had repeatedly crossed boundaries with my body, disrespected it, called it names, punished it, and asked it to do things for me when I repeatedly refused to do what it asked of me. I wasn't its master, I was just being a really bad friend.

This was enough for me to completely shift my understanding of my body. It is my home. The only home that will see me through this lifetime. If I treat it poorly, I have to literally live in the results of that. And who wants to live in a home that is a constant warzone?

In reframing my body as a friend, I have been able to let go of society's expectations for how I should look, and how I should be in my body.

Instead, I consult with all the parts of me and together we choose the best course of action honouring the many ways of knowing that I have, including the voice of my body.

This is not a perfect pathway; there are plenty of days that I struggle. Even in that, I offer compassion to myself, just as I would a friend. We all struggle.

I am grateful for this home I live in. Grateful for the hopefulness of my heart continuing to pump, my lungs continuing to breathe, for the endless ways my body holds and houses me.

What would it be like to see your body as your home?

How could you live peacefully in that home?

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