Saturday, March 29, 2014

Freedom From Body Dysmorphia

Part of becoming free for me, a major part, was finding a way to have peace inside this body of mine. It has been a long process and it seems like it's becoming increasingly subtle... The most grueling aspects seem to be behind me..

Overcoming eating disorders, looking into my experience to discover that "feeling fat" was actually just energetic imbalance remedied by lifestyle, and finding a way to allow the external layer of my body stay harmonious with my internal ocean of spirit and heart were the major tasks. The latter is the topic of reflection in this article.

In my younger years I felt tomboyish and that I was never pretty or feminine externally, although inside I felt I truly was. This rift caused me a lot of suffering.. It's the same sort of suffering felt by transgendered people, or anyone caught in living a lie and not fully conscious of it's landscape or knowing of a way to fix it.

This false feeling of being boyish and never pretty enough led me to carry an image inside my head that was entirely distorted and different from my external appearance.

Body dysmorphia: when the internal feelings and image of self are not congruent with external reality.

For years looking to rid myself of the remnants of jilted self-image, incongruency and insecurity, I became very ascetic. I also sought to take the least from earth's resources as possible, so I used it as an excuse to deny myself a lot of luxuries.

I didn't use products in my hair, I didn't use any makeup, I didn't dye my hair, I only bought second-hand clothes (except for underwear), and a lot of these principles I still utilize, but now joyfully.

I made myself go without these things and it showed me what I didn't need to feel whole. It also showed me that which I did. All of my friends had colorful and beautifully-styled hair, and wore gorgeous make-up. I tortured myself, because how could I feel beautiful standing next to them?

At the time I didn't realize that I wasn't ugly or plain, that my essence was crying out to have an external expression in line with my internal beauty and sweetness.

I am thankful for that time of simple denial, though, because I learned that I don't need much. I don't need every fancy serum and cream and make-up item and I don't need a thousand products and I don't need to dye my hair. Most of my clothing is second-hand and I wouldn't have it any other way. I use very few make-up items, I use baking soda and vinegar to wash my hair (and it's so healthy!), and very little product, if any. I have learned that all I need is exactly what I need, no more, no less, to help me to feel expressed as a beautiful soul and woman.

Sometimes we hide a subtle layer of our wounds under a label or crutch though..

And mine was the length of my hair. I no longer had to question if I was feminine, I had pretty make-up, flattering clothing that I feel good in, and long hair. I always enjoyed the look of certain short styles but when I cut my hair I'd feel like I was tomboyish again.. I had a relapse of sorts.

Well, after having my hair long for a few years, I decided to chop it spontaneously. I felt empowered. Then a day later I felt butch. Then I felt frustrated and annoyed that I did this, again... But instead of bashing myself internally or letting the latent wound-residues arising consume me, I focused on cultivating happiness with what is. In front of me is a me, with short hair. I am a playful, wise, and sweet woman with a child-like jovial personality. I am loving, feminine, and kind. I have a swing in my hips when I walk and a dance-like way of moving.

I realized that old views were arising within me, remnants of scars surfacing, when I removed the crutch of long hair.

I realized that STILL, my inner perception of appearance was not connected to how I actually look. I realized that the silent, subtle image I carried of myself inside was tomboyish, plain, and chunky. I wasn't even fully aware of this until I had cut my hair. In fact, I realized that I was stuck in a transition, where, when my energy felt good and balanced, I had an updated internal self-image that was beautiful, bright, slender and feminine. When I felt worn-out or imbalanced, that old self-image of chunky, heavy, boyish, plain and frumpy "me" was in my mind.. So subtly, like a hologram, like a ghost or whisper, it was there, tainting my every moment.

I have since practiced gazing in the mirror and seeing myself objectively. I don't fixate on subtle imperfections, but focus on my beauty. I update my inner image to see the radiance of my eyes and smile, I realize the ways that my external form is reflecting inner light. I don't get stuck, I let myself keep updating. Change is the nature of reality, energy flows like a river, never stuck unless we ourselves dam it up with debris. But I accept where I am right now, see my beauty, and will keep letting my external appearance reflect my inner river of love-consciousness.

And I have discovered that when I chopped off all of that hair, I felt energetically lighter. I used to fixate on growing my hair longer and longer, to feel more feminine and worthy. Now I realize that while I want my hair long enough to pin up if I wish, I may not grow it super long, at least not right away. I discovered that when we are highly attuned to energy, we can feel all the energy contained in the hair and it is beneficial to free ourselves of it or only carry an amount that allows us to feel whole, harmonious with our truth, and free. It should never be a burden. I am exploring a whole new view of myself and will not rush back to the complacency and safety of long hair. I will fully acknowledge this experience and distill every bit of growth from it possible.

Over the years, through trial-and-error, I learned to keep my energy balanced and body strong, and mind relaxed most of the time, even under a decent amount of stress. Parenthood upped the ante an forced me to withstand higher and higher stress levels and remain conscious and avoid slipping into old, spastic patterns of behavior.

However, there is no end to how free we can become. We can keep finding subtle holding patterns, subtle conditioned beliefs that hold us back in many ways, and choose to release them.

We are light-beings.. Energy.. And we manifested this body. It reflects our congruency with personal authenticity and it reflects our gaps between our truth and action. It doesn't lie.

We are meant to find completely freedom and comfort within the earthly clothing of this body. We are the merging, the interface, of metaphysical energy (spirit) and physical. By seeking inhibition, wellness, and wholeness, we accomplish this mission. We free ourselves of the blockages and distractions and imprisoning ideas that block us just BEING.

Your uniqueness is who you are. Your passions and curiosities are meant to be explored and expressed. Your externals are meant to reflect your internal truths. All things congruent and harmonious, you are simply a prism through which formless Spirit flows into this world of form and creates, feels, plays, experiences and enjoys, through your body. Your body is the conduit of Spirit.

It is not easy work to get free, but it is worthwhile. You can hurt, and feel the raw aches and pains of the expansion of consciousness voluntarily, as well as the incredible peaks of unexplainable bliss and ecstasy that are also part of the path... Or you can roll around in the endless agony of trying to stay stuck and small and live a lie when the entire universe conspires to catalyze your fullest expansion.

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