By Virginia Preston, BA Psych, RYT – 500 Hr.
The theme for this year’s Eating Disorders Awareness Week
(Feb. 1-7, 2009) is ‘Celebrating Our Natural Sizes’. One might ask with frustration, ‘How can I accept something that I wish was another way?!’
Won’t accepting myself as I am only lead to more of what I don’t want? Isn’t the path to self-control and ‘change’ found in resistance to how I am, and a certain amount of self-punishment? Isn’t that the necessary ‘motivation’ for change?
The answers are: No, No and No (!)
Sadly, our argument with reality (as we perceive it) only fuels the fire of suffering and resentment toward ourselves and our bodies. It leads nowhere. If ‘resisting’ ourselves was adequate to solve our problems, we’d all have been problem-free a long time ago.
Counter-intuitive though it may seem, the end of self-denial and the path of all healing is found in the acceptance of things the way they are right now. Acceptance doesn’t mean no room for development or change, but it does mean giving up the tactic of waiting until
‘I’m good enough/thin enough’ or some other future moment, to experience peace. It means becoming aware of the mind’s strategy of delaying peace until…Until when? Until what?
So, whether it’s our weight and body image we struggle with, or some other life concern, the path to freedom lies in opening the mind to things as they actually are, not as we think they ‘should’ be. Our minds perceive reality via multitudes of filters, most of them conditioned by societal standards of some kind. Until we relax our hold on these concepts of who we are and how we should be/look, we are only living a half-life…often feeling anxious and dissatisfied without knowing why.
We mis-attribute the source of our suffering to all kinds of causes; our bodies, our jobs, our partners, our kids, our finances, etc. without truly investigating whether these things are actually to blame. When we begin to explore and heal the mind, we are no longer dominated by our (mis)perceptions. Issues that seemed insurmountable find resolution easily and naturally.
So, by allowing things to be as they are we begin to see more clearly what action, if any, is required in a situation. The relevant questions become, ‘Could I allow my body to be exactly as it is right now?’ ‘Could I allow myself to be as I am, just for this moment?’ ‘Could I let of wanting my life to be different?’ Try it. I guarantee that this approach will yield much more of what you really want!
* Virginia Preston, BA Psych, RYT – 500 Hr. is a Kelowna-based yoga teacher and intuitive. She honors and celebrates the journey of women from inner conflict to peace, and passionately supports those who wish to give themselves this gift.