Living and breathing the culture we're in means that we're constantly absorbing messages that tell us that we are less than. Not skinny enough, not curvy enough, not pale enough, not dark enough, blah, blah, blah.
Ask any woman what her "problem areas" are and she'll easily rattle off a list, if not consider them ALL to be problem areas. As a woman in one of my workshops blurted out, "What isn't a problem area?!"
Ask the same group of women to list what they love about their bodies, and you'll be met with fewer, quieter and more scant answers. Our body shame is epidemic.
One surefire way to fall in love with our bodies again is to get to know them intimately, and treat them with love and tenderness, as we would a lover. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, in The Joyous Body, refers to the body as your most loyal consort, a lover who will never leave your side no matter how you neglect or abuse her.
In this week's video, I consult the cards for even more information on this topic - how to re-friend the body, how to learn how to love and cherish this lifelong consort, our body lover. Watch this 8-minute video, then come back to this article for 3 rituals that you may add to your daily practice - and anoint your cells with love.
Now, there are all sorts of self-love gurus that will coach you to chant affirmations in front of the mirror. This isn't a bad thing, and is more helpful than not, so: if it works for you, by all means, do it!
But, in my experience, many such affirmations, specific to a woman's relationship with her body, fall on deaf ears. She doesn't believe it. She's been deflecting compliments her whole life. So it may move the needle a little... start to sink into the psyche... But it takes time. And I am an impatient girl. And, a little lazy. Show me the easy way. I want to get to the root, I want the strategy that won't take weeks or months or years.
The short-cut is through the body herself.
The brain can discount words. But loving attention to the body through physical touch, for example, soaks into the cells. Hits us at a level of body intelligence that bypasses the brain. And: although the occasional spa day or massage is a nice spurt of love... for lasting transformation I'm talking: Practice. Habit.
The sort of consistent action that begins to wash away years of hating on the body. And, because I'm a practical girl, for me it's about tweaking what women already do every day - because when you start talking self-care to a woman who's already running on empty, her eyes glaze over. To her ears, it sounds like yet another "to do" on a list that's already miles long.
Here are my top 3, do-able, daily practices that I teach my clients, to re-introduce them to their magical, gorgeous bodies.
Let me clarify: by daily I mean - these are tools you can access on the daily. I am not prescribing yet another something to feel guilty about if you don't do it every day. (Yikes, we so want to beat ourselves up about every little thing, given the opportunity!) Take what resonates, leave the rest, use these practices for when you need a "booster." You know your body best. (And she knows so much better than you. Trust in her.)
1) Reclaim your morning shower.
You know those shower scenes in teeny-bopper movies targeted primarily to adolescent and young men, where women are - ahem - thoroughly enjoying their shower? Although the amount of time they spend fondling their breasts is exaggerated—there is something of value here.
Your morning (or evening) shower is an opportunity to enjoy ALL of your senses, to enjoy the feel of your body. And many of us rush through it, with utilitarian fervor, getting in and out as quickly as possible.
You don’t need to take a long shower - although I do recommend slowing the pace of hand over skin. Enjoy the scent rising in the steam, the feel of water running over your skin, your hands on your body... The feel of flesh on flesh.
And: don't compromise. Tune in to exactly what feels best on your skin, which soaps soothe rather than irritate, which smells refresh or bewitch as opposed to cloy. Do not compromise on your favorite soap, or body wash. I particularly love soaps with all-natural ingredients. This is not the place to skimp, nor does it need to be expensive. Just: EXACTLY what you want.
2) Anoint your body slower than slow - while watching yourself in the mirror.
Many women use lotion of some kind. I'm a big fan of using essential oils - with my reigning favorite, frankincense, the original anointing oil - warmed in the palm of the hand with some fractionated coconut oil. Whatever makes you feel most luscious, this is the practice: Go slower than slow.
And just as important: Witness your beauty.
Get in front of the mirror, naked, and begin applying the lotion, s-l-o-w-l-y. And then: go HALF that speed. (For some this may be a daily evening practice.) The first time I did this, and watched my hand slowly travel down the length of my thigh (a thigh I have spent most of my life berating as "too big for shorts"), seeing with new eyes the graceful curve of my leg, the fine bones of my hand, the sensual drag as one moved over the other... My shoulders started to shake with tears.
By slowing things down, watching my reflection in the mirror... I could no longer rush past appreciation. It was a transformative experience.
Now, not a day goes by that I don't anoint breasts, belly and thigh with just the right amount of richly scented body oil. (The bonus being that, everywhere I go, people say, "You smell so good!")
3) Thoroughly acquaint yourself with your body's pleasures.
The thing is, pleasure is our secret sauce. Our fuel. What makes women irresistible. So in #1 and #2, I talked about anointing the body - first in water, then in oil or lotion. #3 is about anointing the body in pleasure - my third favorite way to re-friend the body (actually, it's my first favorite, but you know, we had to work up to it. Foreplay, people! ;) ).
Explore your pleasure. Explore, experiment. Get comfortable. Explore your body with your hands, your fingertips, the back of your wrist.
Because no one ever teaches us about masturbation, we follow the male model of rub to orgasm - wham, bam, thank you, ma'am.
But the female model is very different. She can have multiple orgasms, she can have an orgasm that lasts an hour. Her pleasure is diffuse. Her pleasure can peak at nipple, clitoris, or inner thigh.
Don't make orgasm the end game. Rather, simply - as one of my mentors, Mama Gena, so wonderfully puts it, become a pleasure researcher. What areas of your body are most sensitive? What pressures, textures, speeds, and combinations thereof bring you the most pleasure?
Anoint yourself with an afternoon's languid exploration of your body's pleasure... Then do it on the regular... And watch your appreciation for your luscious body grow!
(Talk about be-friending the body... Now THAT is my kind of friend!!)
And now, it's your turn! Did you try one of my daily rituals? How did it make you feel? I want to hear from you! You can comment below, or email me back! This is a conversation, my friend - not a lecture. xoxo
About the author:
Charisse Sisou, Love and Passion expert, High Priestess of Pleasure and Chief Correspondent from your Happy Place at ClaimYourFeminine.com, is on a mission: To populate the world with happy women. Author, bellydancer and speaker, Charisse reconnects women with the body's intelligence and sensual femininity, to effortlessly attract the love and life of their dreams. Because women lit up from the inside, reveling in the unabashed, unapologetic and wholly feminine pursuit of pleasure, totally owning their infinite value... will shift this planet.
Get more tips in my book, Every Day Pleasure... Request your copy here.
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