After snowstorms of the decade hit Tahoe in the past few weeks, I was gifted with two additional snow days on top of almost a month-long break. With a long four day weekend, I began search for ways to avoid the itch of cabin fever. So I picked up a book that I had sitting with cobwebs on my shelf, “What are you hungry for?” — a spiritual book targeted to women and how we relate to our bodies and food. The author triggered my critical thinking by asking, “What does transforming your relationship with food ultimately matter to you?”
And I realized in this moment, that it is not food that matters…I care less and less each day about the exact nutritional content or calories of what I consume. It is my body that matters to the deepest parts of my soul (not my ego). My ego wants to blame food as the enemy and the problem. But I can’t sit here and say I agree. I believe it is the way I relate to myself that motivates the majority of my choices around food, and really everything, each day.
When I contemplate the word “transformation”, I envision a tunnel. A small, dark, underground-type tunnel where the end is unknown. A sort of ominous tunnel with a large CAUTION sign mounted at the entrance. And as much as I’d rather turn around and walk the other way to what I know best, I know I must walk in and follow the path to the other side.
That journey is required if I want to transform my relationship with my body. Not only how I see myself in the mirror, but also how I feel in my skin. Recently, I recognized how the messages I create about who I am always have a lining of hate speech on the margins. The content strives to be encouraging and accepting, but the border blocks in the progress with side conversations judging my present experience, the sensations I feel, and the way I see things.
I feel claustrophobic in the tunnel I’ve built. I want to scream because I am so uncomfortable with each step I take. But I am motivated to reach the other side. I keep putting one foot in front of the other because ultimately, transforming my relationship with my body means everything to me. It is a utopia where I move through my days without the constant chatter in my mind about what I did or should do to not mess up. It is a place of intuition and kindness where I can be present, more specifically relaxed in my environment; where there is no resistance by my expectations. Where I don’t put so much pressure on each day, as if I am being watched by the paparazzi.
Reaching the light at the end of the tunnel comes down to one thing: it is the letting go. The letting go of what was, the good and the horrible. As I let go of my baggage, the route through the tunnel speeds up. I don’t need the weight of unworthiness to move forward. I have cocooned myself for over a decade now, sheltering me from the fears of being unlovable as a young woman. From being labeled as anything less than the all-encompassing exceptional, productive, graceful, adventurous, outgoing, compassionate, giving, and healthy woman. I didn’t want to fail myself as I became an adult. And now I wake up each day with the truth that I have become an adult woman.
Just not the woman I imagined. Not the woman that fills the American Dream. My dream has simplified to a practice. A yoga practice. A daily practice in loving more, forgiving more, and being a partner, advocate, friend, and daughter. But if I’m truly honest, I know that I’m holding on. Holding on to the distant dream of perfection where sadness, failure or boredom never were a burden to bare.
With all of these snow days, Mother Nature granted me the gift of time to sit down, be still, and get authentic with what I need. I need to enter the tunnel. I need to practice letting go like I practice handstands. I am ready to let go of the negativity that prohibits me from discovering optimism. I am ready to let go of the anxiety that fuels the negativity that breeds my expectations. I am ready to let go of the expectations that strengthen my anxiety and judgement on the world around me. I am ready…to let go. I am ready to travel the tunnel of transformation. Because ultimately, transforming my relationship with myself means everything to me. And I deserve it.