By Julia W. Prentice
It doesn’t have to do with the scale, the body mass index or the comments and advice of doctors, loved ones or friends.
It has to do with the way I deal with myself, my inner critic, my faulty body image, the damage to my soul. Early on I often felt youthful, strong, competent and I liked myself, or rather loved myself. Old tapes could disrupt this self-like, substitute it for self-doubt and denigration. Still haunted with past voices, judgments and shame I was attempting to learn new balance.
Faced now with my 60’s body, I felt disempowered, weak and hopeless for any change in that condition.
My first odyssey undertaken was to adopt a rigorous eating pattern. With that pattern of cutting most carbohydrates out, I lost 60+ pounds. I received compliments, changed clothing sizes and gained valuable self-esteem. But there was other weight: being labeled by the medical community as obese.
The second journey was finding a wonderful personal trainer to embark on my quest and coach me towards my goals. She was very in tune with all parts of me: physical, emotional and even spiritual. In 10 months of hard work I was still technically “obese” but had muscle, core strength and an attitude of “I can do this.” At the same time I was dieting emotionally, trimming away the fat of self-doubt; negative voices from my past. Much effort focused on building muscles of confidence, courage and acceptance of feelings as they are.
The third venture was entering the realm of spiritual exercise. This might have been the most difficult. Focusing on my connection with the universe and my part in it required daily workouts. Joining a faith community, meditation and exploring my beliefs and values gave me new repasts to dine on. Sometimes I would skip out on this work, stop living in the now. Reverting to looking back into the past, or fretting about future events over which I had no control.
Balancing those three: physical, emotional and spiritual is an ongoing challenge.
Lifting the body up to new power, recognition of myself as a writer whose words effect others; those were the some benefits. The most significant was feeling at home in my space in the universe, connected to an awesome power that uplifts, unites and frees one of past disconnect, discontent and spiritual bankruptcy. Now, part of an interconnected web of life, I live as much as I can in the “now.” I respect my past, conquer worry, and cherish life, family, friends and self. Measuring myself on the scale of life, I am imperfectly balanced, yet striving always to find my own new weight.
Julia W. Prentice is a deeply feeling Cancer, and has been writing since her teenage years. She has successful careers in teaching, interpretation in sign language and assisting persons with mental health challenges to find their own paths to recovery. She writes like she breathes: incessantly, some in ragged gasps, some in whispering sighs, some in mighty shouts; always she is driven to write. Recently she has heard the universe telling her to share her writings. Julia is published in “Where Journey Meet: The Voice of Women’s Poetry” and “Temptation: ‘A Sizzling Guide to the Seven Deadly Sins.” She can found on her blog.
Editor: Alicia Wozniak