I was excited to hear the esteemed speakers at the Fall 2004 Omega Institute Conference. The “biggies” of the women’s movement such as Gloria Steinem, today’s best-selling authors and who’s who of empowering women doing inspiring work were. Lucky me!
During one of the panels on body-image, Jane Fonda, the American icon of fitness, who we all look at and wonder what it must be like to have such a “perfect” body, said it has taken her until age 61 to grow to love her body.
I was dumbfounded. “Good God, I don’t want to wait that long!” I thought. And hot damn! If SHE has body image issues, and her body is “perfect” by today’s standards, then this is really pointless.
(By the way, Ms. Fonda doesn’t look a day over 44 with a body of a 20 year old aerobics instructor)
Powerful and successful women of all ages shared the same thing; their complete lack of love and gentleness toward their body leads them to spend a large part of their lives in a constant struggle and battle with it.
The young women in the crowd of nearly 2000 also nodded their heads in amazement and familiarity. Somehow it was comforting to see these icons sharing real things about their real bodies.
Something’s Gotta Change
Have you seen the movie, “As Good As It Gets” with Jack Nicholson? There’s a scene where he goes to see his therapist’s office and on his way out, he stops to ask the patients waiting in the waiting room – “what if this is as good as it gets?” The entire room breaks down and starts crying. Kinda funny, but it makes a great point.
Unless you are going to start working out like you say you’ve been meaning to, unless something changes pretty damn soon, unless you do something different, the odds are stacked in favor of your body being as good as it gets right NOW.
1. Accept that you’ll never exercise regularly and be happy with what it looks like now
2. Choose to take on exercise, but in a whole new way.
Don’t exercise. Instead just moooove your body.
Exercise conjures associations such as “I have to”, “I should”, “I will one day, someday, maybe,” to name a few. When was the last time we leaped joyfully towards that!? None of those feel good, right? So cut yourself some slack and consider a few things: 1. Get rid of shoulds 2. Go for movement vs. exercise
Delete the word “should” from your vocabulary. Immediately. Right now. Do it. Have your friends forbid you to use it! Do whatever it takes! It does you no good. Choose the word “could” instead.
Could vs. Should
Using the word “could” vs. “should” implies choice. After all, isn’t that the truth? You do have the choice, you can choose to move your body and you can choose to take responsibility for not shaking your thing. You made the choices that got you here. Sorry, it’s bad news, I know. The good part is that once you get clear what’s happened and acknowledge what IS, you can move forward.
I had a client who just wouldn’t exercise, despite her incessant talking and complaining about it. So I decided to not call it exercise anymore and take a different approach. She instantly lit up.
Together we created a “movement menu.” Ah… sounds delicious and curiously inviting, yes? Now you know you’re on the right track if your feeling a bit piqued.
You want to know more, don’t you? You’ll have to wait. In Part Two of this article, I’ll show you how to create a movement menu of your own. One so good you’ll want to brag to all of you’re sister goddess friends on how you got moving through pleasure vs. pain.
Action Tip: For now, just swim around in the concept of “movement vs. exercise”. Let yourself really get it. Get how you are perfectly capable to discover and create ways to move your body that feel good and are good for you. You may find that you’ll be drawn to ways you already move your body – walking, dancing, morning stretch, taking the stairs. It’s all good.
You are good. You are beautiful just the way you are. Read that again. For today, just revel in the idea of uncovering your favorite ways to move your body.
Bonus Tip: For the raring to go and advanced ladies. Your duty for all womankind and sisters worldwide, is to dance to a favorite tune. Dance wildly, as if no one was looking and your were inventing a new style of dance. Get silly, shake your thing. Just move. It only takes 3 minutes to dance to your favorite song. Channel NIKE, the ancient Goddess of Victory and JUST DO IT.