I am a recovering ice queen and I am thawing. I can feel the softening at a deep, cellular level. I can also feel my abdominal wall muscles knitting together; it’s similar to a corset being smoothly and slowly pulled tighter and tighter. Both my morning yoga and afternoon workout today was challenging but I felt strong the whole time. I am also experiencing a sensation midway through my lower intestines. A fullness is moving through, it feels like gas vs. something more solid. It’s probably the green smoothie, maybe kale makes me gassy. I wish I could move it through faster, but it is on it’s own time. I just have to wait it out.
I could not have imagined feeling that level of detail and comfort in my body a year ago and I thought I was pretty dialed in from all of my experience healing from chronic illness. Three years ago all I felt was varying levels of discomfort and pain. It was so familiar that at times I barely noticed it but constantly wished I could escape it. On a pain scale of 1-10 (1 being I’m in no pain, 10 is I am actively being mauled by a bear) my pain ranged from 4 to 8.
Adversarial relationship with my body
I have been both overly thin as well as borderline obese from stress, illness and system wide inflammation. I approached dieting from a disciplined (I will do this because I have to) and adversarial (I’m the boss of you (my body) and I will WIN no matter how much you fight me) perspective. In my 20’s and half my 30’s I tried every fad diet as well as one program that actually helped: Weight Watchers. Midway through my 30’s I got back into Weight Watchers as well as started learning about healing protocols like elimination diets and the AIP (Autoimmune Protocol). I finally recognized the direct connection between how what I ate affected how I felt as well as learned healthy portion sizes. Food affected not just my muscles, joints and gut, but also my moods and brain clarity. Sometimes I got angry when people didn’t believe the connection, as evidenced by this angry FB post in July 2016:
I exercised off an on, even proudly completing a couple of 5k races in 2012 and 2013. I struggled with sticking to a regular workout routine; I would be pretty consistent for a few weeks, sometimes as long as a few months and then would get derailed by illness or injury. In hindsight I realize I was trying to hate and bully my body into health and fitness. News flash. It doesn’t work that way. There was a missing piece; I had to learn to love and connect with my body to finally experience true wellness.
In early 2013 I struggled with suicidal ideation; that story is my “Tenuous Beginning” (read it here) towards cultivating a loving relationship with my body. In late 2013 many of my joints and most of my muscles hurt all the time. I had constant stomach discomfort of every description. I couldn’t think clearly. I fantasized about naps constantly.
The next few years were an odyssey where I fiercely chose to keep living every. damn. day. All the doctors and specialists I saw told me I would be sick and medicated the rest of my life. Every time an “expert” told me all they could offer was yet another prescription that I would likely never stop taking, I had a deep, inner knowing there was another answer. I continued to cultivate the connection to my body and intuition by practicing every time I was faced with a choice; feeling the sensations as I thought about each option and choosing the one that felt most easeful in my body. I designed my own holistic health care team by following my intuition and noticing the opportunities that were presented to me. I tried all of the healing diet protocols. I did all the damn things.
I learned an astounding amount about myself and discovered my capacity to not just endure, but to triumph despite how much adversity I was handling at the time. I learned I could trust my intuition to orient me in the direction toward was my highest good and I am thankful for every moment of the journey from considering my body to be an adversary to recognizing it as my most profound ally.
How connected are you to your body? Please share in the comments below.
I’d love to hear from you!
I love you fiercely!
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