I wrote a book called Finding Fullness. Three hundred pages on how yoga miraculously transformed my relationship with my body from one of disgust and shame to one of friendship and love. “Where might I find this book?” you may ask. Sadly, at the moment it exists only on my hard drive, and as a thoroughly stained, crumpled, well-marked stack of pages printed at the copy-shop-formerly-known-as-Kinko’s a couple months ago, which I’ve been editing as the mood strikes me. But don’t despair. Hopefully some eager literary agent, a fantastic publisher, and a brilliant editor will pick it up and decide to hurry it along to a bookstore near you. Cross your fingers, but don’t hold your breath.
Meanwhile, I’ve started to write the next book, The Love Your Body Book. You won’t be surprised to hear that it’s the how-to version of Finding Fullness. In fact, this is the start of it, here on the blog, right here and right now. At every yoga class lately, a student asks me… “How’s the book coming?” I’m fairly certain that they’re wishing I would pull a copy out from behind my back and say, “Here it is, could I sign it for you?” I wish that too. Instead they end up hearing a couple of broken sentences containing vague words like… book proposal… query letters… hopefully… agent… publisher…soon. Underlying that question is often another that folks are afraid to ask: “Kimber, do you know your baby’s daddy?” No. Wait. Sorry, not that question. The question is: “I know perhaps it’s unlikely, but is there anything I could do to help?” The answer to that question is yes! Read the blog, subscribe to it, pass it on to friends, recommend it to anyone and everyone. Get the word out! Something you can easily do sitting in front of your own electronic hearth. And as an added bonus… you might find yourself loving your body more.
I’ve found two reactions to the title of the book/workshop: Love Your Body. The first is… “I don’t need to read this book/go to this workshop. I already love my body just fine.” The second is… “What, are you kidding? Love my body? Not in a million years. Or at least not until I’ve had $150,000 worth of liposuction!” To the first group, I’ll let my student Stephanie tell you her experience:
I didn't think I 'needed' this workshop. I thought I had a decent relationship with my body, yet over the course of the workshop I became aware of the myriad ways in which I internalize negativity and undermine my body (and therefore myself) on a daily basis. It was powerful to realize that transforming negativity could have such a profoundly beneficial effect on me (and those around me), daily, lastingly.
To the second group, what if I told you about a woman who hated her body every day for more than twenty-five years, who tried to kill herself because she hated her body so desperately, who binge-ate, starved herself, over-exercised, and under-exercised, who was certain she would never end the war she waged on her body with her mind, in fact, who wasn’t even sure she wanted to end the war… that this woman, by following the path outlined in the book, came to radically change her relationship with her body to one where she truly loves her body now? That woman is me. I did it. You can too.
It didn’t happen overnight. Nothing worthwhile does. It takes a long time to create a thing of beauty, or a satisfying and meaningful relationship. One drop at a time fills the bucket. The first drop for me happened quite unexpectedly.
One day, while picking up my son Cooper from preschool, the dad of one of his little friends told me, “You won’t believe what Emily said to me last night.” Cooper and Emily had been skating together at the local rink, and Emily’s skills on the ice were quite amazing for such a tiny girl. “She said, ‘My body is my best friend.’” He must have been quite satisfied by the look on my face, because if my lower jaw hadn’t been attached to the rest of my face, it would have clattered to the floor. “That’s awesome,” I murmured. A wash of hope flowed over me as I imagined Emily growing up feeling that way about her body all the time, throughout adolescence, and womanhood. A bitter wistfulness flashed by: could her body remain her best friend through fashion magazines, and eating disorders, and skinny jeans? But she felt that way now, that’s something, right? “How wonderful for her, and for you,” I smiled at her dad. “I hope she always feels that way.”
Kissing Cooper on his head, and tucking him into his car seat, I wondered, “Why don’t I feel like my body is my best friend?” Could I change the way I feel about my body? Could I be friendly, and supportive, and loving towards my body? My body felt like the annoying cousin you always have to invite to your birthday parties, who tells embarrassing stories about the time you peed your pants at a wedding, who brings stupid presents like day of the week underwear, and who makes sure all your friends know how totally uncool you are. My body should be my best friend, really? Couldn’t we just settle for college roommates who tolerate each other but don’t hang out? Sigh. Yet, just asking the open question, “Can I be my body’s best friend?” opened up a subtle but profound shift in my awareness around how I treated my body. To be continued….