Successful weight management starts with befriending yourself — body and mind. That’s the focus of two special weeks at Green Mountain later this month. They will feature special guest Elesa Commerse, founder of National Meditation Month and co-founder and director of Touching Earth, a Chicago-based mindfulness learning center. The subject is one that Green Mountain program director Barbara Meyer, PhD, also champions. Her post below explains why.
Of all the barriers in the pursuit of authentic health, the one that I observe to be most self-limiting is the way we go about motivating ourselves to change. The way we treat ourselves. The ways we talk to ourselves. Particularly in the realm of the improvement the body, we seem to believe that self-hatred works. We believe we could not possibly have any compassion for our bodies, that would make it worse.
From the time we are young girls, we are told how to look, what we should and shouldn’t wear, what, when and how to eat, who we can and can’t be, and what we can and can’t do. Over time, this relentless conditioning can result in an adversarial relationship within ourselves. By the time we are adults, we have internalized this critical voice.
And we’re resistant to give it up, or to challenge it.
Beneath our best laid plans to feed ourselves well, to move our bodies, and to reduce our stress, is a deep seated belief that we need to be fixed, there is something very wrong with this body, something fundamentally wrong with who we are.
I understand it well.
I admit when I heard the teaching, “There is nothing wrong with you,” from founder and director of the non-profit Living Compassion, Zen teacher Cheri Huber, it stopped me cold. I had never paused to consider that maybe there was nothing wrong, since that seemed to be the driver for everything I did. Over time I came to see that nothing good could come from change motivated in this way. Nothing. Certainly not health!
A quote from Cheri offers this practice:
“Here is my wish for you and every other child, woman, and man on the face of the earth: Spend one week saying only kind, caring things to yourself. Say thank you at least ten times an hour, direct five toward yourself and five to the world at large. Compliment yourself (and others) each time an effort is made. Notice all the wonderful qualities and characteristics about yourself and those around you. One week. You will never go back. And your whole life will be a glorious meditation.”
Cultivating a voice that is kinder and more compassionate is a practice that can help you find freedom from struggles with your body and your health.
We invite you to join us on this journey to befriend yourself, body and mind.
Our year-round program at Green Mountain teaches this, but during the weeks of April 22 and April 29, we’ll be focusing even more strongly on it with our special weeks “Befriending the Body, Befriending the Mind.”