Since I’ve been late with my last couple posts to keep up with the love your body challenge I’m keeping track of here, I thought I would write this one first thing in the morning while most of you are probably still sleeping! Today starts a week of fun working as camp staff at a March Break camp (sports with 8-11 year olds in the mornings, art with 4-7 year olds in the afternoons), which means I’m in for a busy, fun week. It’s hard to feel too stressed over hanging out with kids all day–even if I have my first grad school conference presentation in less than two weeks. It’s too early to be ready for that anyways, right?
Anyhow, lucky for me, Molly’s on the ball and her post for Day 7 is already up. Today, she’s reminding us to love our bodies because they can experience pleasure. She’s asking us to write down a list of the pleasures–big and small–that our bodies give us the chance to experience daily.
Here are some that top my list:
- the satisfaction of seeing a puddle of sweat under my spin bike after a class
- drinking a hot chocolate after being out in the cold
- the relaxation of having a massage when I’ve been feeling super sore, stressed, and tight
- the smoothness and the yummy smell of putting on lotion after a shower
- the quiet of the first lap in the pool
- the taste of a cappucino, especially in the company of a friend or a good boook
- the feeling of hugging my mom after she’s been away on her snowbirding travels
- the soreness after the first bike ride of the year
- the satisfaction that follows being floored by a hard CrossFit workout
- the openness of lying in savasana at the end of a yoga class
- the taste of the first ice cream cone of the summer
- etc. etc.
Molly talks about how the challenge can get emotional. I didn’t think that today’s would be particularly one that tugged at my emotions, but to be honest, it gave me an appreciation for how far I’ve come. I can remember being at a point where, when a therapist asked me, what do you like (to eat? to do for exercise? to read about?), I absolutely drew a blank. I’d spent so long stamping out my pleasures and making sure that I didn’t allow myself to experience any of them that I’d been left forgetting that our bodies are here to help us experiencester of not wanting, even in the midst of hunger, it’s not surprising that this carries over into the way you treat yourself beyond food. I’d spent so long stamping out my pleasures and making sure that I didn’t allow myself to experience any of them that I’d been left forgetting that our bodies are here to help us experience pleasure. Of course, I was afraid that if I started to allow myself these pleasures, I’d be out of control. And there were times when I did binge on food and days where I did forgo work in the name of just giving myself permission to do what felt good. Cue guilt for overdoing it and affirmation that I was out of control. Thank god I had the support team that I do. This was all part of my process and I realized that we can experience pleasure without making it a way to punish ourselves, that we aren’t out of control, and that we are better when we do bring pleasure into our day to day lives.
I wouldn’t have been able to do so many things if it weren’t for this lesson: I can pretty much guarantee you any kind of loving romantic relationship would be out of the question, I’m not sure I’d have been able to find any sort of peace with food, and I don’t think I’d have given myself permission to take a Masters degree in something I find interesting instead of settling on something that seems more certain in terms of a job outcome. And those are pretty big deals and pretty big sources of pleasure in my life!
So this is why I think what Molly is doing is so important: she’s teaching the lessons that people learn in a variety of ways. Whether or not she’s helping people learn them for the first time (or if they have to experience something that teaches them to them), she’s certainly reminding me of them. For that, I am oh so grateful and glad I decided to take up her challenge, even if it means setting my alarm a little earlier on a Monday!