Whenever I feel disembodied, dissatisfied or disconnected, I remember the three pillars of Love Body: nourish, move, connect. And I check in with myself. Am I living these principles? Have I engaged in these practices today? All of the practices we create and offer through Love Body are in service of the soul-center, the Love Body. We are appealing to the place within us that always, automatically responds to life with love.
There are so many messages coming at us every day that appeal to the place within us that responds with fear. With each Love Body practice, you are refreshing and expanding your capacity to meet life, to meet yourself, to meet others, from a place of Love rather than from a place of Fear. To that end, we are delighted to announce our on-demand classes. Each class will focus on one of three things: nourish, move or connect. For a limited time, we are making these available as donation-based offerings. After that, they will be available for purchase as a package or membership. So take advantage of them now! There are three videos in there right now that we're jazzed to show you, and we will add at least one new video each week during this limited time offering.
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We're here to support you and as many women as possible in enjoying their bodies and enjoying their lives.
Most women are taught to bind their sense of lovability to their appearance. This message is so pervasive that it can be difficult to know you're even doing it. Twice in the last four years, I noticed myself caught up in this bind in a big way. And it crept up on me like a sneaky little fox.
When I first moved to Traverse City four years ago, it was a difficult transition. My whole life changed, including my weight. I gained 15 pounds during that transition time. It's not surprising for one's weight to shift during a major life transition, but instead of taking it in stride, I panicked. I kept looking in the mirror multiple times a day to check my body. What exactly was I looking for? This went on for weeks. Then I realized, "Oh my God! I'm checking to see if I'm still lovable."
Fast forward to last month. Sneaky little fox is back. I'm about to turn 42 and my neck is changing. Side note, if you haven't read Nora Ephron's book I Feel Bad About My Neck, it's hilarious. Once again, I'm panicking. I keep looking in the mirror over and over to check my neck. What exactly am I looking for? This goes on for weeks, then I realize, "Oh my God! I'm checking to see if I'm still lovable."
There's no lovability quotient. And if there was, it would not involve weight or neck wrinkles. It would involve the degree to which one is connected to the place in themselves that is always, automatically responding to life with love. How do we connect with this place? There are many ways. All of the practices we offer through Love Body are in service of this connection. Here's one we would like to offer you in this New Year as a gift.
Love Body Scan
it's only 6 minutes long
We're here to support you in connecting with your Love Body, the place within you that always, automatically responds to life with love.
The photo above was taken at my birthday party when I was just a wee one. I remember thinking, when I was opening my presents, that I wanted them to be food. What!? When I came across this photo, that memory was triggered, and I called my sister to see if she had any insight into this. She said, "Maybe it has to do with dopamine. Birthday parties usually have fun sugary treats. Sugar was probably one of your main ways of getting hits of dopamine and experiencing your reward system back then."
Dopamine is an important chemical messenger in the brain that has many functions. When dopamine is released in large amounts, it creates feelings of pleasure and reward, which motivates you to repeat a specific behavior. Dopamine levels are typically well regulated within the nervous system, but there are some things you can do to naturally increase levels.
And guess what? Three of them are standard Love Body practices: nourishment, movement and meditation. Making sure you get enough protein, consuming probiotics and eating velvet beans can all help with dopamine levels. One three month study found that a regular yoga practice significantly increased dopamine levels (1) and one study including eight experienced meditation teachers found a 64% increase in dopamine production after meditating for one hour, compared to when resting quietly (2). So instead of reaching for a cupcake or a joint to get a pleasure boost, try some salmon or get out your yoga mat.
We love you and we're here to support you in enjoying your body and your life, and that includes pleasure. See you next week with more Love Body Wisdom.
P.S. Check out the girl in the photo with the kool-aid mustache. Love it!
A couple of weeks ago, I had to stay home for several days due to an exposure to a friend who tested positive for COVID. During that time, I experienced extreme exhaustion, but no other symptoms. I wasn't doing much at all for about a week. I cancelled my classes and appointments, no trips to the store, no visits with friends, no workouts, no computer work. And even though it wasn't fun to be exhausted, I realized that there was something really freeing about that time. At first, I thought it was because no one was expecting anything from me. And then I realized that I wasn't expecting anything from me. And that was a tremendous relief.
I realized how much pressure I had been putting on myself to be doing something other than what I was doing. I was living in a constant state of wrongness, saying to myself, "I should be thinking/feeling/doing something other than what I am. I am wrong." And that is shame. Thinking you're wrong or bad is shame. It's a fear of being kicked out or abandoned and it speaks to our sense of survival. And it is closely linked with a trauma response. Say, the trauma of a pandemic mixed with childhood PTSD stuff. So when I temporarily stopped expecting anything from myself, I slipped out of hyperarousal and my system could restore itself.
I'm not suggesting you should stop having goals and expectations in order to regulate your nervous system, I'm simply outlining a process of self-awareness that I recently experienced. Awareness is a key component in Love Body's three-tiered teaching process: awareness, knowledge, action. By understanding ourselves, we find more compassion and love for ourselves. When we find more compassion and love for ourselves, we increase our capacity for joy, and that is our wish for you, for all women, to find more joy and ease in the experience of living in a body. We want you to enjoy your body. We want you to enjoy your life.
And it can start with awareness. And awareness starts with dropping your attention into your body. Find the ground. Find your breath. And notice. Notice what is happening for you in this moment. That is how I became aware that I wasn't living in a state of hyperarousal during my quarantine. I noticed something felt different in my body, something felt better. I was more at ease. I was enjoying myself more.
Take some time to drop into your body. And see what you discover about yourself.
photo: Olivia Goldman
Luminosity is the word that comes to mind when I see this photo of my niece. It reminds me of something ethereal, transcendent even, like a higher self reaching out and shining forth its wisdom and beauty. What I love about the word luminosity is that it refers to an intrinsic brightness, a natural or inborn quality of light. We all have this within us, innate brightness, innate wisdom. But we're not always connected to it.
One of our core practices in Love Body is "Connect with Source." This can mean lots of things, but tuning into our inherent wisdom and allowing our inner light to shine forth is one way that I like to think of it. One of the most powerful ways that we can connect with this wisdom and light is through meditation.
Right now is a perfect time to start to explore this connection. The winter solstice is coming up on Monday and there is something extra special about this solstice. Come sunset, Jupiter and Saturn seemingly will merge into a single bright point of light low in the western sky, a "Christmas Star". This will yield a spectacular astronomical sight involving the two planets unseen in nearly eight centuries. Some speculate it marks the beginning of a new era, a time on earth when truth and goodness will prevail, a time of enlightenement.
So this Monday, we will honor the return of the external light, the pivot point when the days start to get longer, in our virtual meditation event Connect with Source. We will share the basics of meditation and mindfulness, what they are and why we do them, as well as some of the science behind meditation and how it actually changes your brain, and we will end with a simple meditation practice that can easily be incorporated into everyday life to foster a closer connection with your own inherent wisdom, your intrinsic brightness and your endless capacity for love.
Whatever happens come December 21st, whether it's the dawning of a new age or not, we will continue to offer you ways to find more joy and ease in the experience of being in a body, to find more love for your physical body and more love for your embodied experience.
photo: Michelle Rodriguez
I just got back from a short walk around the neighborhood after not leaving the house for three days. I needed to feel, with my body, that things were moving forward in life. Wind still moving. Sun still making its way across the sky. Animals still flitting about. Feet taking steps. Air in lungs. Flush cheeks. Cold nose. I'm still here. I'm still moving forward, even though it doesn't always feel like it.
Sometimes I feel a desperate desire to be somewhere other than where I am, to escape the circumstances of my life. When this happens, I know I have lost touch with myself. I know it's time to come home to my body, to drop back into the experience of living life and connecting with others in my body, not my head. So I stopped trying to think things to death and I went for a walk. I know everything will sort itself out. I know the process of shifting into a new version of myself can be uncomfortable, so I'm going to rest my body. And move it gently. And feel my limbs heavy on the bed. And feel the hugs of the lovely people in my household. And the soft fur of the dog. I'm going to come home to my body. I don't need to escape. I'm right here.
We humbly welcome you to join us in the delightful, challenging, heart-wrenching, miraculous, and magical experience of life in a body. Move Your Body: Developing a joyful relationship with movement and exercise is on Monday, December 14th.
P.S. Do not tell my sister that I opened her gift early and am wearing it in this picture.
photo: Michelle Rodriguez, owner of amor comida
The owner of amor comida (love food) happens to be my roommate. Yes, Love Body lives with Love Food. It's a beautiful combination. Part of joyful embodiment, for me, is being in love with food. Food is a source of health and sustenance, but also a source of creativity, joy and pleasure for me.
Oftentimes, when we're focused on weight, it's easy to see food as the enemy, something to be controlled. Instead of being a source of joy, it can be a source of shame, guilt and frustration. To me, this is a tragedy.
My sister Shana said to me one time, "You should be excited for your lunch." She was referring to packing a lunch for work or preparing lunch ahead of time. So many folks simply pack something that will sustain them or something that is in alignment with a new fad diet. When you're working and you start to daydream about lunchtime, it's way more fun to be excited about what you packed or prepared. It's way more fun and satisfying to enjoy the experience of eating, to relish in nourishing yourself in a beautiful way.
Love Body practices aim to support you in developing a more joyful relationship with food. We understand that there are many factors that play into relationship with food, some of which are fairly complicated and fueled by intense emotion. In next Monday's session, we'll talk about the basics of conscious eating, un-dieting, and foods for mental resilience. We'll talk about ways to develop a new, joyful relationship with food, fueled by your body's inherent wisdom and your soul's deepest desires.
Free yourself from the deprivation, guilt, shaming, calorie-counting, confusion and frustration related to dieting. Be excited for lunch!
Register now for Monday, December 7th
photo: Michelle Rodriguez
It seems like the only things I'm interested in lately are cozy sweaters, soft blankets and warm tea. Oh, and toast. The toast didn't make it into the photo. It seems as if the "comfort and joy" aspects of the season are needed in much larger amounts this year, likely due to the added collective stress of the pandemic. Tara and I are using the same Love Body principles that we use for our Soul-Centered Self-Care Program to keep us sane and healthy during the holidays and the pandemic. The same principles that keep us connected to our core needs and our soul desires also help to regulate the nervous system and boost mental and physical resilience.
So, for more comfort and joy this holiday season, we invite you to grab a cozy sweater, a soft blanket, and a ticket to Love Body Basics. We're here to help you manage the added stress, stay resilient and support you in living in a way that makes you feel at home in your body.
Wishing you comfort and joy in your body this holiday season and always!
Beneath every behavior is a desire. Whenever I find myself trying to lose weight, I notice the same imagery appearing in my "thinner me" fantasies, images of me dancing in a group of people. Over time, I came to realize that I wasn't looking to weigh less, I was looking for fun and connection. Underneath my behavior of trying to lose weight was a deep and sincere desire for meaningful connection and true enjoyment.
There's nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight. The question is, why do you want to lose weight? What do you imagine it will bring you? How do you imagine it will change your life? What are you really looking for? Everyone is different, but many of us share the same soul desires: love, purpose, connection, freedom, joy. Perhaps one of these speaks to you more than the others. Perhaps one of these is the true motivation for many of your behaviors.
One way that you can begin to understand why you do what you do is to pay attention to the imagery. What are you doing with your body in your fantasies of a thinner you? What is happening around you? What is your soul crying out for? And then, work with that desire directly. That's what we do here at Love Body. We speak directly to your soul desire and we nourish that desire in order to create real transformation and lasting change.
So back to connection and fun, which happen to be my strongest soul desires, and perhaps yours too. In a sincere effort to nourish these desires, I put my energy and effort into creating opportunities for fun and connection, especially right now, as we navigate the anxiety, uncertainty, isolation and craziness of these times. One of those opportunities is teaching something just for fun in my yoga classes. For the month of November, in my Tuesday/Thursday classes, that "just for fun" thing is the splits. Yes, the splits! There is absolutely no need to be able to do the splits in order to be a successful human. But, it's fun! It can be fun to challenge yourself to try something new, even if that thing seems so ridiculous and out of reach. It doesn't matter at all if you ever end up doing the splits in my classes; it just matters that you try and have fun trying. With. Other. People. Connection and enjoyment. You can register for the Tuesday/Thursday splits classes and other classes here. We have both in-person and virtual options right now.
Each day, we get to choose. We choose how to engage with life. We choose how to engage with ourselves. We choose how to use our energy. Where is your energy going? Are you depleting your resources by using your energy to nourish the standard, to feed the status quo, to keep in place the structures that dictate how a woman should look, act, think and feel? Or are you using your energy to nourish your soul, to enliven your being, so that you are meeting life from a place of love, joy and freedom?
We want women, all women, to enjoy the experience of living in a body. In order to do that, we must speak to what you desire most. What is it that your soul is crying out for? Love. Freedom. Joy. Purpose. Connection. Belonging. Creativity. We start by bringing that experience into the body.
Start where you are. Be with yourself and with your body as your are right now. Feel the weight of your seat on the chair or the sensation of your feet on the ground. Feel your breath wash through you. Effortless breath. The burning of your soul's desire always exists within you. It may feel like a raging fire yearning to shine forth or it may feel like a quiet, forgotten flame waiting to be sparked. Awaken your soul's desire through your breath. Send it through your physical being via the breath. Start to illuminate your inner self with your deepest longing. That's it. Start there. Start with your breath. Go inside. Find and nourish what is most in need of your attention. This will yield the most powerful and lasting results.
There is so much more to the Love Body Method. This is just a starting point. Start by directing your energy inward, to nourishing the soul, not the standard. And let us know what your soul says. You can share it in the comments.
We'll be back next week with more.
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