Month #1 – includes “Self-Love and Acceptance Practice.”
By Leslie Blackburn
Would you like to shift your relationship with your body to allow more love, pleasure, and ease into your life? This month we embark on a series of practices that offer that and more adapted from my upcoming book, Sacred Sexuality: Listening to Our Bodies.
Attention, care, and love are critical ingredients in building a new relationship with our bodies that allows our wisdom to pour forth so we can:
• remember who we are
• trust our power
• claim our sexual sovereignty.
Each practice is a “recipe” that includes the necessary time and ingredients. But the main thing that needs to be added to these recipes is you.
As you explore these practices, just like when trying a new kitchen recipe, I suggest you start by following the instructions. You can then modify them and experiment as your body wisdom starts to flow.
The key is to keep up with the practice. Set aside a special time each day and allow yourself to engage and feel into what the experience offers. In time, new depths of feeling will emerge. I encourage you to explore each one for at least 21 days before deciding if they are for you and how to flow to make them yours. You will change as you go.
Title: Self-Love and Acceptance Practice
Time to Allow: 3-10 min for this “short, sweet” version.
Description & Benefits: Transmuting self-loathing to self-love, to shift your relationship with your body to allow more love and ease into your life.
Essential ingredients: You. Time set aside for the practice.
Introspect. Have you ever hated your body or wanted part of it to look or be different than it is? In what ways do you wish you could change your body? Do you criticize or hold a sense of loathing for any aspect of your physical being? Have you tried to control or force your body to be something different? Do you hurt yourself? You are not alone. I lived my version of this for years. Many people experience their own versions of self-loathing: “I hate my thighs.” “I wish I were more muscular.”…and so on. Be honest.
Notice how you feel in your body when you bring that critical awareness to it. Do you feel your body? What sensations do you feel? How does your body respond to your criticism?
Make a new choice. Are you ready to feel better about yourself? Are you ready to feel better about being in your body? Would you like to feel good about feeling good? Your intention and thoughts impact your reality, including the very body you inhabit.
Let’s explore Transmuting Self Loathing to Self Love. It begins with your choice.
1. Pause. Breathe. Rest on a chair or lying down. Turn your awareness to your body.
2. Place your hands gently on places on your body that you have a hard time relating with: belly, thighs, face, genitals, and a scar. You’ll know what this is for you.
3. Set an intention to shift the way you are relating to your body. From one of fear, mistrust, and disdain to one of curiosity, playfulness, and love.
4. Say it out loud: “I am choosing to shift how I see my body and how my body sees me. I send love to my body now.”
5. Next, say out loud whatever has been true for you until now and your willingness to shift it. Here’s an example: “I’ve been hating you in many ways or trying to force you to be something you’re not. I invite you to be who you are and to really let yourself be you.”
6. Now give yourself space and permission in this ritual to love your body just as it is — all the stresses and imperfections still right here, and you in the middle, part of it all. Sit with this. Rest in the love. Feel your body as love flows into all your parts.
What do you notice? Do you feel your body? What sensations do you feel? How does it respond to your love? Let yourself feel a shift to allowing your body to be what it is.
Closing: It’s okay if it seems like you don’t feel anything. Your body is listening. Still, this may take time. I have felt so numb and disconnected that I didn’t have any idea of what it meant to notice sensations in my body. That is okay. It’s also okay if this feels frustrating. Feel it. Be gentle. Release any pressure for this to be anything other than what it is. Take all the time and space you need. When it feels complete, tell your body; thank you and draw your time to a close.
Leslie is a queer, white, omnisexual, polyamorous, ecosexual, kinky, genderqueer supporter of all beings to be authentically who they are, and uses the pronouns they, them. Their work blends Sacred Sexuality, Ancestral Healing, Grief & Emotional release, and Anti-Racism work to support collective liberation, self-awareness, vitality, empowerment, and joy. Leslie stewards the land at One Space, a private sanctuary, home, temple, and community space on four wooded acres in Ann Arbor, Michigan. www.LeslieBlackburn.com