#soulSOLUTIONS: how I healed my body shame

bmi-bathroom-scale“Uh-oh be careful, those jeans are getting tight – you don’t wanna get fat, do ya?”  I turned my head to look at my butt as the world began to crumble around me.  With one playful jab my grandfather unknowingly cast a spell that would last deep into my thirties.  In that moment I became a fat person and my body shame was ignited. I was eight years old.

Being fat was a state of mind for me.  No matter how active I was or how much I weighed I was always fat.  Agonizing over each pound, my body dysmorphia took me to dark places.  I declined pool party invitations, avoided men’s fitness magazines and got depressed if I ate a decadent meal.

Now, I was never actually obese.  Quite the contrary, when I look at old pictures I laugh at how skinny I was, it was all in my mind but it didn’t matter.

After Chris and I fell in Love I gained approximately 15 pounds.  You can imagine what ACTUAL weight gain did to my psyche.  Constant irritation and obsession over pant and shirt sizes coupled with waves of shame, blame and irritation.  I did a lot of inner-work to keep the negativity at bay but I couldn’t seem to find the “aha moment” that could make the self-criticism stop.

It wasn’t until I was taking an exercise class recently that the miracle happened. I had an epiphany that loosened the chains of body-shame enough for me to escape.  For the first time in a long time I felt free!  There I was kicking ass in class, per usual and I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, naturally I didn’t like what I saw.

“Ugh … I look fat.”

Then I heard a little voice say, “Think of everything you’ve accomplished being fat.”  As I continued my cardio I went over the list of my accomplishments from the last two years:  I got engaged and married AND we celebrated our 1 year anniversary AND my husband thinks I’m totally hot, I’m doing what I love full-time and it’s paying the bills, I got a new car, I’ve travelled all over America, we’re preparing to adopt, I was on a national television show and published several times over.  Wow, all this cool stuff while being fat.  Not bad.

Then it hit me.  It’s not the fat.  The fat doesn’t mean ANYTHING… it never did.  It’s everything I make it mean that creates all the suffering in my life.  Fat is not good or bad, it’s neutral and right now it’s actually helping me.  It’s bringing to surface all the insecurities, negative beliefs and ludicrous thoughts I’ve been lugging around that I’m not interested in keeping anymore.  As I become aware of these thoughts I have the opportunity to release them!  I don’t have to be a slave to my negative thinking!  Wow – LOVE handles indeed!  I was projecting all this nonsense onto my body.

The rest of the class I had a huge smile on my face as I repeated mantras like, “I’m fat and I’m great.”  “I’m fat and I’m successful.”  “I’m fat and I’m happy!”  “I’m fat and I’m LOVED!”  It was a great time.

I believe that Love is the great healer and healing can be instantaneous.  I don’t know if it’s in my cards to ever have a six pack again and that’s okay.  I eat consciously and exercise regularly so I’m not distracted by feeling lethargic and unhealthy.  With less distractions I have more freedom to focus on what matters most to me, LOVING MYSELF unconditionally and inspiring others to do the same.

xxx, Jesse

#soulTALKS: Your LIFE is your Spiritual practice

e43bdC_LEnqWNgfkdopIn0qF1Aypd4kkKyrKlCBgIgkYour life IS your spiritual practice!!

This #soulTALK was recorded on March 22, 2015 and is part of a month-long theme: “March Spiritual (practice) Makeover Month”.

The tools that make up our spiritual practice are important and help us feel good, which is the name of the game, right? But if we hold so tightly to our rituals that we can’t be happy unless we do them then we’re turning the practice into a false idol. A false idol is anything outside ourself that we make responsible for our peace of mind. Allow your life to be your practice. Utilize the tools that resonate with you to support you on your path but I invite you to contemplate where you might mistake dependency for discipline.
If our life is our practice then guess what … we’re always in practice!

Watch this week’s #soulTALK to learn more…

#soulSOLUTION: do you have a codependent relationship with your Spiritual practice?

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 10.10.05 AMI used to have a codependent relationship with my spiritual practice.  I’ll explain.

Meditation, prayer, and spiritual community are tools that help me feel happy.  When I started my current spiritual adventure I absolutely benefited from the discipline and structure that my meditation and prayer practice provided. I also noticed that if I didn’t meditate or pray for X amount of hours I’d feel off my game and prone to irritation and upset.  

As I deepened my practice I noticed elements of codependency or what A Course In Miracles calls a “special relationship” with my spiritual practice.  I was giving my practice the power to determine the kind of day I was going to have … I think I was slightly missing the point.

Last week Chris and I flew to New York to be with our family during a challenging time.  My role on this trip was to be a loving husband and available to my family.  There was a lot to do when we were there, so much so that I didn’t have many opportunities to meditate, read The Course, or connect with my spiritual community.  But something was different this trip.  Even though I didn’t do my normal practice I didn’t feel depleted, irritated, or on edge; I actually felt great.  Being of service to my family fed my soul and gave me the privilege of supporting my loved ones.  I allowed my life to be my practice.

The tools that make up our spiritual practice are important and help us feel good, which is the name of the game, right?  But if we hold so tightly to our rituals that we can’t be happy unless we do them then we’re turning the practice into a false idol.  A false idol is anything outside ourself that we make responsible for our peace of mind.  Allow your life to be your practice.  Utilize the tools that resonate with you to support you on your path but I invite you to contemplate where you might mistake dependency for discipline. 

If our life is our practice then guess what … we’re always in practice!  My practice is one of Love and kindness.  So, throughout my day I do my very best to be Loving and kind and work through fearful (ego) thoughts when they arise.  I support myself by using spiritual tools that resonate with me and perhaps most importantly of all, I do my best.  I do my best to hand each day over to my Spiritual Consciousness and devote as much time as I can to practice meditation, prayer, and service.  But I’m not interested in having a co-dependent relationship with anything, namely my own Spiritual practice.

My life is my practice.  With that in mind, I’m gonna stop typing and go be the Light of The World in my boot camp class which starts in twenty minutes. 

xxx, Jesse 

#soulSOLUTIONS: is peace enough?

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 12.02.20 PM“But seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all of these things will be provided for you as well.”  

This famous bible verse can easily be translated into: “Get a spiritual program and you will be rewarded with stuff you want.”

Is it possible to seek the kingdom within with no alternative motive?  What if the big payoff was simply peace and contentment?  Would that be enough? 

The promise of getting a reward is very alluring but I don’t think the original verse has much to do with cash and prizes.  In more than one translation the verse ends by saying, “and he will give you everything you need.”  I have enough experience and perspective to know that what I need is often (if not usually) different from what I think I want. 
The beloved spiritual teacher Ernest Holmes has said that true prosperity is well-being in all areas of your life.  There isn’t any mention of mansions, millions, or fame.  
I think this verse is a promise of peace, a feeling of connectivity and union with Love.  These are the most valuable benefits of strengthening our spiritual life.
It’s important for me to test my temperature so my motives feel clear. Even writing this blog I ask, “Why are you writing this?  What’s your motivation?”  Am I writing this so I can gain more clarity and sharing from a place of service or am I enchanted by the possibility of recognition and praise?
I’m no dummy and I’m not interested in judging anyone either, that game has yet to produce any joy in my life.  I continue to deepen my spiritual practice because I believe that I already have everything I need and I want to remain smart enough to be grateful for it.  The joy-filled feeling that all the good of the Universe is active within me right now is its own reward.

#soulTALKS: Spiritual (practice) Makeover Month, week one

Makeover-iStock_000016480452SmallThis is Week One in our “Spiritual (practice) Makeover Month”.  In this #soulTALK we explore how we might be able to shift our priorities in order to support our commitment to LIVE IN LOVE.  Also, what excuses do we use to by-pass our spiritual practice for the day?  Loving discipline is nothing to be afraid of – in fact, the game starts to get really good when we implement it into our daily lives. Woohoo!

 

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