See Your Body as the Hero in Your Hero's Journey
What would it take for you to see your body as the hero in your hero’s journey? I’ve been thinking a lot about my body recently. Because in the spirit of total transparency, I’ve realized that perceptions around my body, my health, my fitness, and my appearance are one BIG, HUGE upper limit trigger for just about everything in m life. (And if you've never heard of an upper limit problem...that is a story for another time...but in the meantime, you can check out The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks).
My relationships, my work, my curiosity and desire to play have always been tightly intertwined with how I see and experience my own body. But at the very core of me, has been a story about what my body isn't. A body that never felt like enough and definitely one that I could not trust to keep me healthy.
It would be easy to say that this story wrote itself when Hodgin's Lymphoma became part of my narrative in my early 20's, turning my body into something I barely recognized – with new limitations and obstacles at every turn. But the truth is that my narrative started years before that, at the pool in the summer when I wasn't comfortable with how I looked in a bathing suit or when I spent years fighting with my acne-prone skin.
That story has lived in my brain for a LONG time and decides to make guest appearances especially at the times in my life where I’m facing something new and starting to feel good about progress. It also makes command performances of “I told you so” when I’m tired or feeling stuck.
I spent many years catching myself with the belief that I knew what to do because I’ve been here before – treating my body like a project. I’d get serious, take action, and commit to promises and structures that would “fix” me. I’ve done all the body things over the years. Marathons, sprint triathlons, Weight Watchers, Whole 30, juice cleanses, fitness retreats, personal trainers, and nutrition plans. I’ve counted steps, tracked my food, eaten clean, and tried all the things over the years. But through it all, I'd missed a key element.
What is the story your body wants you to tell?
“If you consciously let your body take care of you, it will become your greatest ally and trusted partner.” --Deepak Chopra
Recently, I realized that perhaps there was another way. And perhaps this other way wasn’t about fixing. Maybe I needed to acknowledge that my relationship with my body is literally and figuratively what is keeping me stuck in all the parts of my life. Not because it isn’t strong or healthy, but because I’ve made it a villain in my life rather than my hero.
What if instead of structures and fixing, I needed a new story to tell? A new way to see my body as the main character of my hero's journey?
What would it take to see my body as the heroine of my journey? A new story. A story about a body that embodies all that I crave, all that I know, and all that can be – as if it is already real.
That would be an amazing narrative, right?
Here is my body as the hero story...
My body belongs. It belongs to me. It belongs in this moment. It has kept me warm and safe with extra layers of love and nurturing when I might have been fragile. I haven’t always trusted my body. But I see it now. I understand. It has always had everything I needed, even when I wasn’t looking. My body is one of my best and most reliable teachers. It sends me messages every single day and offers me opportunities to learn and explore when I allow myself to slow down and listen.
My body serves me as a conduit for pleasure, for love, and for play. I am a vibrant, sensual woman who receives pleasure and love every single day.
I honor my body with the nurturing and nourishment that it needs. I feed it with affection, with kindness, and allow it to absorb the nutrients and wholeness. And yes sometimes I feed it with Nutella. Because strong bodies have cravings too.
My beautiful body is grounded in the present moment. I am awake, fully in tune with my senses, to the boldness and abundance that surrounds me.
My strong heartbeat races with joy and fear – knowing that each is part of my experience. My lungs support me when I to pick up the speed, and remind me that all I have to do is breathe. My toned muscles help me climb mountains, ride waves, and stand deeply rooted in my life. I honor the strength within me each day with movement, with stillness, and with nature.
My heart is my compass, but my body is my vehicle. So I rest when it asks and I burst into action when it is ready – because it always knows what I need.
Now...I don’t know about you...but this story feels energizing. It feels so much better than any of the stories I’ve told myself (and believed) over my life. This is a story that I’d like to tell. One that I’d be proud to feel. A story that is based on love and admiration rather than mistrust and fixing.
How to start believing your new story
Perhaps this all sounds fine and good in theory to you, but you are finding yourself wondering – in. but wait? Can it really be that easy? Is writing a new story all it takes to see your body as a hero?
Well...yes. And no.
It is that easy to write a new story. Or rather, the opportunity is always there for us – whether your new story is about your body or relationships, or even your career. The hard part is tuning OUT the conditions and habits of the years of brain wiring.
"What you appreciate, appreciates." Lynne Twist
Here is the good news, we learn things through stories. So just like your brain and heart learned to listen to the other “non-serving” stories, you can teach yourself to embody this new hero story by telling it to yourself – over and over again. I re-read my new story to myself each day. Sometimes I rewrite it and allow myself to get even bolder in my embellishments and details. The more energy I give to this “my body as my hero” story, the more it grows.
My hunch is that you have your own body story.
What if you could transform your story with a new narrative by spending a few moments, feeling and envisioning your body as your heroine?
I’d love to hear or read what your body has in store for you when you treat it like a hero!