Right now I am coaching almost all women, all who desire to lose weight, whether the goal is 5 or 75 pounds. They echo each other:
I want to feel good in my clothes.
I want to feel confident in my appearance.
I want to have more energy.
I want to keep up with my children, my job, my life.
I want to take up space in a way that feels right and good.
No one has actually said that last one, but it’s what I hear them all saying. We all want to matter, to feel like we are doing what we want to be doing. We all want to feel like we have the confidence we need to live the life we have been given.
Our sense of self comes, in large part, from our concept of ‘body’. Emotional and spiritual health play a part, of course, but we humans are sensual beings, and sensuality is tied to the physical body. After all, the body is essentially our gateway into experiencing life and all the pleasures and pains that come with it. But sensuality is also an agreement we make with ourselves, one that defines how we take up space in the world.
It makes me think of water. Water goes where it wants to go – it flows and seeps and gushes where it wants, regardless what anyone thinks of it. It takes up the space in which it fits best, and it doesn’t apologize for doing so. Water is always at the edge of where it wants to go. Humans can take a cue from from this – to fully embody our sense of self, our sensuality and our humanity, we have to go to the edges. We have to take up all of the space that we are meant to take up. But not more. We can’t step into someone else’s.
There’s nothing like an icy cold dip into an alpine lake on a sunny day after a long hike that reminds you to take up space in a way that feels good. Just like there’s nothing like a cozy evening after returning to your home base spent by the fire, wrapped in a blanket snuggled up to someone you love. There is something about the contrast of being out in the elements of nature followed by the act of getting cozy and warm inside that can make a person shiver in delight, it’s so good. I don’t think it’s just the feeling of being comfortable after being cold or wet or wind blown or sunburnt – it’s being so fully in your body that you allow it to take pleasure in whatever it is experiencing. Even if it’s uncomfortable or hard. We need both – the contrast – to fully experience this life.
Perhaps the best place to be is somewhere in between the tension of what we want and what we need. Maybe learning to be there allows us to take up the space we are meant to embody.
So, go to the edges of your skin, but don’t try to step into someone else’s. Take up space in a way that feels right and good, and don’t apologize for it. Be in your body, and let it be your gateway to joy and adventure and everything that comes in between. Surrender to the contrast that makes you shiver with delight. Own your edges, and visit them often.