by Stephanie Perkinson
I was all cozied up the other day with my boys on the couch watching a little Harry Potter as the snow fell outside. Hot tea, wool blankets, a little plate of snacks. I felt so good to still be in my thick cotton pajama bottoms and a tank top. I lifted my arm excitedly, pointing something out on the screen and as I stretched out my arm I noticed the skin around my triceps sag and jiggle more than it normally does. Actually, it was a lot more. I snapped my arm back down quickly as my body filled to the brim with shame. I brought the wool blanket up to my chin and wondered what my children thought, if they even noticed. The old familiar sadness swirled in my head. Things felt heavy in an instant. Tales of failure spun fast. Then something happened, something that doesn’t usually happen. The shame began to melt away and make room for a new thought, a few new thoughts actually.
What if it was “just” an arm? Skin and muscle. Bone and blood and yes, some fat too. Suddenly I was presented with an opportunity to observe without judgement. I simply saw an arm that had not been asked to do many tasks that would build muscle. I got up from the couch and looked in the full length mirror at the top of our stairs. I saw a body that has slipped into winter and was fluctuating with the season. These were not bad things, they simply just ... were.
A flooding of forgiveness feels so much better.
What if emotion wasn’t allowed to be buckled tight around our waists, stretched across our thighs and wrapped around our arms. There is choice. Could it be that our bodies are not a visual representation of our worth? In that moment in front of the mirror it felt like a very big yes ... if I embraced that notion of beautiful separation. We walk this earth inhabiting a form that allows us to do beautiful things. Hold the hand of our lover, carry a tired child, make art, aid others in need, birth a child. There are times when sacred conversation happens between our bodies and our souls. Yet, there is room for separation as well. This is holy duality.
You are allowed this gift of separation.
Perhaps there needs to be a little bit more discernment when it comes to self improvement. Instead of the old familiar battle cry of newer, faster, better, different, we could ask ourselves a few questions. What are the parts of you that truly need improving? Is it really the size of your pants that need changing or is it the relationships that you keep? Do you really need to eat less or are you starving for something else? Can you allow your body to be where it is, in whatever season you find yourself in and be kind? Ceasing to wave the banner for self improvement in this one aspect of our life doesn’t mean quitting or giving up. It’s means being able to stand in front of the mirror and not let what you don’t have stop you in your tracks, send you spiraling in shame and disappointment. You are allowed to look beyond in that moment and know you deserve to feel amazing today.
As I walked downstairs to join my boys and watch the rest of the movie I felt relief. It’s important to pay attention when life throws opportunities like this at us. Rise up, my love. It’s easy to stay in our painful patterns. It’s easy to shame. It’s easy to stay stuck under the wool blanket instead of taking a closer look. Be willing to take a second pass and circle back around. Be willing to make a little space for something different even if it’s scary, even if you feel like you might fail.
It is in these moments where we become.
About Stephanie Perkinson
CERTIFIED HOLISTIC HEALTH & LIFESTYLE COACH
Stephanie Perkinson is a certified holistic health & lifestyle coach and owner of Wellness by Design. She teaches women how to live “in-season” by introducing them to the magic that each earth-phase holds. She gently guides her clients back to balance on their plates, in their bodies and around their homes. She believes that with loving support, every body can find it's way home and become deeply rooted wherever it may be.