Mothering Our Bodies & Ourselves, It’s Never Too Late
Let’s stop hating our bodies.
Let’s stop telling our bodies, minds, and souls that we are not worthy because we don’t look like this one or that one. Comparison creates low self-esteem, negative body image, and reduced personal value, and this is being documented in girls as young as 10 years old! Let’s start a small but mighty revolution within that can lead to great change.
As the Regent women of this time in history—soon-to-be Wise Women—we can create a paradigm shift. We can start by appreciating and loving the bodies that have gifted us the experiences of our lives.
Deep in our hearts, we know that the lines on our faces are evidence of the chapters in our story. Our frown lines, “the elevens,” are signs of our deep caring and compassion for others. The crow’s feet at the edges of our eyes sprouted from the fertile soil of joy and laughter. And, our grey is witness to all we have lived through and survived.
We are just right. You are just right. You are who you are; you are the sum of all your experiences, joyful and painful, the exhilarating experiences of the heights and the desperate journeys through the underworld; you are miraculous, a heroine.
The current cultural ideas of feminine value include that one must be young and thin, beautiful of face and form, and sexually attractive to men. Despite campaigns on body positivity and celebrity revelations of the constant airbrushing and photoshopping of their images in media, women are caught in the shame machine of not being young and beautiful like women idolized in social media, TV, film, and the internet—no matter how hard we try.
Mother’s Day really got me thinking about mothering ourselves by
LOVING OURSELVES UNCONDITIONALLY AS WE ARE.
Mother’s Day also got me thinking about my mother and her mother and all the mothers that have come before me in order for there to be a “me.” It’s a miracle that we are here.
We all came from a mother; all that is born comes to life through the feminine powers of creativity. We all come from a line of ancestors woven by mothers having daughters, who became mothers, who themselves had daughters, who became mothers, and so forth since the beginning of time.
It always amazes when I think about the fact that the egg that became me was fully formed in my mother’s ovaries when she was a fetus, growing inside my grandmother’s womb.
Generations upon generations of women have lived and died. If a woman didn’t belong somewhere, with her family of origin, or to someone-—a husband— she risked becoming an outcast, an old maid, penniless, often forced to beg or sell her body to survive.
And, throughout all these generations, for thousands of years, the honoring of women as equals was repressed and denied because of patriarchal ideals about what a woman's function and place should be. Women have been trapped, forced to try to fulfill the impossible images and limited roles that men have created, defined, and enforced through culture, religion, within the family, and in the workplace.
A woman’s worth is still culturally defined by how perfectly she fulfills unattainable images of beauty, body shape, eye and hair color, skin color, height, and weight. Additionally, culture tells us women are supposed to raise children and run households, perhaps have successful careers too, all within the aspiration of the single-family home, potentially with little or no multigenerational support from the wise women of their heritage.
In my Wednesday night class, “Reclaiming Your Inner Wild Woman,” we delve deeply into the gifts of the archetypal feminine, intuition, creativity, compassion, empathy, and wisdom that reside in the body. When we hate ourselves and our bodies, we cannot access these natural gifts of the wild woman within.
On this Mother’s Day, I will leave you with a quote from Women Who Run With The Wolves. I hope it will inspire you to mother and accept yourself with unconditional love. I believe this is one of the best ways to honor yourself and all the mothers of your unique and perfect heritage.
It’s through the body that the soul or psyche can connect to the experiences of life and the depth of the archetypal powers of the feminine. Dr. C. P. Estés writes,Mothering
“A woman cannot make the culture more aware by saying, ‘Change.’ But she can change her own attitude toward herself, thereby causing devaluing projections to glance off. She does this by taking back her body. By not forsaking the joy of her natural body, by not purchasing the popular illusion that happiness is only bestowed on those of a certain configuration of age, not by waiting or holding back to do anything, and by taking back her real life, and living at full bore, all stops out. This dynamic self-acceptance and self-esteem are what begins to change attitudes in the culture . . .
Some say the soul informs the body. But what if we were to imagine for a moment that the body informs the soul, helps it adapt to mundane life, parses, translates, gives the blank page, the ink, and the pen with which the soul can write upon our lives? Suppose as in fairy tales of the shape changers, a body is a God in its own right, a teacher, a mentor, a certified guide? Then what? Is it wise to spend a lifetime chastising this teacher who has so much to give and to teach? Do we wish to spend a lifetime allowing others to detract from our bodies, judge then, find them wanting? Are we strong enough to refute the party line and listen deep, listen true to our body as a powerful and holy being?”