Sisters, let’s have this talk.
Grab a cup of tea and sit down at my table.
For the last two weeks, the internet has been flooded with #MeToo. Our voices are rising with stories of abuse, trauma, and persistent inequality.
The stories aren’t new. They aren’t surprising. But reading them has filled me with overwhelming emotion, and the persistent urge to speak. The depth of what I need to say cannot be conveyed in one article. This is a beginning. Many more sharings will follow.
Sisters, we are embarking on a revolution. This #MeToo movement offers us an enormous opportunity for change. Countless conversations, speeches, demonstrations, and other efforts are underway. And this is just the beginning. Let us harken in a turning of the tide.
As a coach for women cultivating healthy relationships with food, I have perspective on the hidden ties between feminine nourishment, sexuality, shame, and abuse. These facets of our being move together like different instruments comprising a song.
Let’s take this conversation deeper.
As painful as it is to read the accusations and disclosures rising from women on sexual abuse, it is an essential step towards our healing.
#MeToo is an initiation. It asks women to shed the shame they feel about their bodies. It shows us all that no woman is alone in enduring abuse. This is a socio-cultural paradigm we have been subject to, and naming it en-masse is like staking a claim and saying: “Enough!” We shout this for ourselves, and for all sisters and mothers throughout time who have suffered and continue to suffer. Together, in unity, we say, “I see you. I believe you. Your experience is valid.”
Abuse, trauma, and shame linger in the body. They manifest as nightmares and memories. They are uncomfortable. We learn to stuff them down. To Escape their grasp. To forget. So we neglect our body temple. We succumb to disordered eating; binging, starving, or gorging ourselves. We use drugs or alcohol in hopes to numb, stop, or dispel the pain.
The physical, emotional, and spiritual assaults we have endured cause us to disconnect from the sacred vessel that is our body - and from our divine nature. We must reclaim our wounded parts. Take them back, name them as ours, and nourish them to full health. As we do, our spirits strengthen. United as sisters, we can overcome the poison and turn it into medicine.
Let’s embrace this opportunity and embody the strength, courage, and power that dwells within each of us.
What We Can Do Now
Now is the time for action. Along with our courageous sisters who are speaking out, we can take our first steps on a journey of self-love and empowerment. Self-love is a process and a journey, not a destination. Be prepared for a lifelong adventure, one that is rich with discovery and self-growth. Yes, there will be sorrow, but if we utilize the right tools, we can learn to accept and cherish the amazing and beautiful bodies in which our spirits dwell and reclaim what someone attempted to take from us.
Here are some of the more effective ways I know to heal our wounds and become reconnected with our body.
Move. Dance like you’ve never danced before. Dance with abandon. Dance away your anger and sorrow. Stamp your feet to honor those women who use their voice. You may also wish to practice yoga, tai chi, qi gong, jogging, swimming, tennis. Method does not matter. Movement is the medicine. It will help to dispel the energy and feelings you have bottled up inside you, and in the process, celebrate your body.
Seek support. You are not alone in your quest for verification of your
feelings or your need for consolation, justice, and love. Seek support from your sisters, forums, women’s groups, meditation sessions, spiritual centers, self-help books and lectures, and understanding family and friends.
Nourish your body well. The body is a temple that deserves to be treated with the utmost respect, which means we need to provide it with the best nourishment possible. This may present a challenge to many of us, but if we approach it gradually by consistently introducing wholesome foods into our lives and shedding those that can prove harmful, then we will achieve a more balanced and healthful body that glows with harmony. When we are well nourished, our brain and body work in synch, and we are better able to meet the challenges that face us.
Talk to your body parts. Do you harbor judgment or shame about certain parts of your body? Sometimes this can be the result of enduring abuse. I believe the best way to deal with them is to face them head-on: begin by talking to the body part that is most upsetting to you. Let it know how you feel about it and how you plan to change the relationship you have with it. Whatever body part you choose, it is an integral part of the divine temple that is you.
Teach. We need to instill our sons and daughters with the knowledge that all that all people deserve dignity, respect, and the right to be who they are. We need to educate the men in our lives about the importance of honoring and cherishing the women in their lives.
In addition, rather than bash the men who have perpetrated abuses upon women everywhere, we must celebrate the bravery, tenacity, and resolve of those who step forward and tell their stories. There is a tipping point: when enough women come forward, when enough good men truly realize the terror and abuse to which their sisters, mothers, grandmothers, wives, female coworkers and neighbors, and partners have been subjected, then change will accelerate and begin to take hold. Then women will begin to witness accountability and consequences, but most of all and more importantly, they will be heard, validated, honored, and cherished for who they are.
In conclusion (for now)
One of the four agreements of the ancient Toltecs, as explained by Don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements, is not to take anything personally. “Nothing others do is because of you. What others say or do is a projection of their own reality….When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.” The abusive actions of men against women is not your fault. It is a reflection of the anger, fear, and demons that reside within the perpetrators. You are a beautiful spirit residing in a sacred vessel. You have dreams, desires, and needs that deserve to be honored, cherished, and realized. Do not forget this. Breathe it, believe it, and live it.
Holding you in the highest vision of love and health,