Journey From Painful to Peaceful Body Image

Image used in Recovery Warriors' article, by Julie Norman; The FAT MapTM: Journey From Painful to Peaceful Body Image

Have you ever considered your journey with body image? When was the first time you “felt fat?” The last time? What was happening in your life then? What did you believe about yourself?

A different approach to body image

In my last article, I invited you to timeline and explore your painful body image experiences and introduced The Fat Map™ concept. In this round of the Body Image Breakdown, we’ll look deeper into The FAT Experience and get you started with some yogic practices to create and maintain body peace.

Last article I shared the first of The FAT Map™ acronyms: Fear, Anxiety, and Tension. The FAT Experience (a.k.a painful body image) can overwhelm anyone, of any shape, of any size. It can come on out of nowhere and mysteriously fade away without explanation. That’s because, contrary to popular belief, it has little to do with the actual physical body.

The mind will fight this Truth but take a moment to pause and reflect here on your OM work. I bet you’ll find there’s little rhyme nor reason to your body size and fat attacks. The best example of this is anorexia.

Body image only gets worse as weight gets lower.

The second acronym in The FAT Map™ illustrates what causes this distortion and suffering: Forgetting Atman Temporarily. Painful body image is caused by disconnection from our True Self: Atman, “spark of the Divine.”

Everyone, at some point along their life journey, loses touch with their True Self. Everyone develops an ego or False Self in defense of heartbreak. Our eating disordered self is an example of this.

Everyone is here to heal back to knowing our wholeness, to living from self-love and fully in love with life which is the greatest service we can provide humanity. Often this process is talked about as “The Hero’s Journey.”

If you take nothing else from this blog series remember these three BIG points as I sum them up for clients. The path of yoga helps us:

#1. Remember we’re awesome.
#2. That we are here to have fun (a.k.a. follow your bliss)
#3. That we are here to be of service.
If you work on the first two, the third will inevitably flow.

Consider this…

Feeling fat can be a good thing. Stay with me here.

When we find ourselves triggered it’s an opportunity to awaken.

It’s the hurt from old wounds that didn’t heal through the first time surfacing to be taken care of now. When we don’t understand this we turn into fighting with the body. It’s only emotion, which is simply energy, needing to release. In this way, The FAT Experience is an opening to the amazing life you came here for.

Eating disorders are messengers of the soul. ~Anita Johnston, PhD

Not only is FAT an “F word” in our culture, so are feelings. Most of us live in fear of emotional expression. In my next article, we’ll talk more about this but for now, let’s take action. It’s more important to practice than to comprehend. Here’s your B.I.G OM work till we connect again.

Feed Your Dreams

Night time is the right time for healing. When we sleep our ego/mind shuts down so soul work can get done. Get yourself a journal just for dreams. Keep it by your bed opened to a blank page and immediately write and sketch about absolutely anything in your awareness immediately upon waking. Do this even if it’s just emotions.

Do not analyze, just observe.

Sacred Sadhana

Sadhana means “daily spiritual practice” and is one of the most important parts of the yogic path. You can run all over town to classes and follow the greatest gurus but the real magic happens here when it’s just you and you. Sadhana is best done during the first hour of waking, preferably before anything else except your dream journal and going to the bathroom. If you still weigh yourself it’s imperative to do your practice before that behavior.

I developed a specialized sadhana starter for peaceful body image that I’m sharing for free here. You’ll need a candle, matches and piece of sage to smudge with for this. If you don’t already have one, set up a sacred space in your home for yourself. I help my clients make an altar as part of their healing work but just these few items are enough. Whenever you feel fat throughout the day, return to the breath and the mantra “I Am.” Blessing of bliss to you Warriors!

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