The Love Experiment

Several years ago a friend told me the story of a woman who was dying of cancer.

Chemotherapy was not helping, the cancer was advancing and in a last ditch attempt to save her life it dawned on her one morning that she may be losing the battle because of the hatred she felt for certain parts of her body. She had never liked, accepted or been particularly nice to these parts of her body and she decided that day to embark on a radical journey to self-love. She decided that she would pick a hated body part and stare at it in the mirror, meditate on it, dig up any old buried pain from the past surrounding it, and keep thinking about this body part until she loved and accepted it. Then she would move onto the next body part and repeat the process.

And, after months of doing this, guess what? Her cancer went into remission. Now, I’m not suggesting that this will happen for everyone suffering from cancer but the fact that it happened to this woman amazes me and is a big reminder of how powerful our thoughts are. All beings on this earth respond to energy. We all thrive when given positive energy and we all suffer if too much negative energy comes our way, so think about what us hating ourselves or even a part of ourselves will do to us over time.

After remembering this story, I decided that it is time. Time to start walking the walk as well as talking the talk. It’s easy to proclaim that you accept and love yourself and have embraced the aging process. But I personally am still horrified at certain things I see in the mirror and it’s time for me to really dig deep into the experience of deep love and acceptance of myself. A number of things I don’t like or love about myself quickly pop into my mind as I write this. My rather large hands with really prominent veins, my expanding wrinkles around my eyes, how my face is hollowing (and drooping a bit) as I age, the list goes on. I definitely have a few issues to work through to get where I want to be. And none of these issues will be resolved by changing how I look. No botox, fillers, breast implants or lipo will help. Changing my perspective about my perceived problems is the only thing that will heal what needs to be healed. love experiment So, a couple of days ago I was shopping in the neighborhood and stopped by my local Shopper’s Drug Mart to pick up some toiletries when I noticed an Oprah magazine as I was at the till. I stared at the large font on the cover, How To Love The Skin You’re In, then turned away and paid for my purchases. As I walked out the front door, I felt compelled to turn and look at the magazine again. How to love the skin you’re in. How can I not buy this mag, I thought as I walked back in and scooped up a copy.

Next on my shopping list was something for dinner from Whole Foods. My mind went over all of the healthy items I could buy and, after considering them all, I realized that I didn’t want any of them. Not a one. I feel like I’ve been so extreme with my no-gluten, no-dairy, no-sugar regime and, although I do feel better and my skin looks better, I needed to forget it all for awhile. My inner child was desperate for some fun food. She wanted to eat something extremely delicious. She wanted chocolate.

So, I went home and read this… Oprah And ate this… chocolate And then fell into a deep peaceful sleep on the sofa about half an hour later.

Well, it looks like it’s time for “The Love Experiment” to begin. I am going to start with one hated body part and focus on it until I have transformed the way I think about it. Then I’ll move onto the next one and so on and so on until there is nothing left. I’ll write upcoming posts about this whenever I have something share-worthy. I’m excited to start this next journey and if any of this resonates with you, please come with me.

cute dog 1

Mmmmm, looks good mom!

cute dog 2

So, where’s mine?

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16 thoughts on “The Love Experiment

  1. Mmmmmmm – now that looks like proper feel-good food!

    I find that the older I get the more I like my body, droops and wabbles – the whole pack is more comfortable to me. I had a turning point in my early 20ies, when I realised “this is as good as it gets”, and learnt to love my body, and my soul. But I think I might have been wrong… now things might not look as good to others anymore (hahahaha!), but they look better and better to me each day. 😀

    • Good for you Cathy! You’re lucky that you settled into your body at such a young age. I’ve been having really great conversations with quite a few women lately about the pressure society puts on us to look, young (forever young), slim etc. etc. and how harsh so many of us are with ourselves. We really can be brutal critics. These conversations have inspired me to really try to accept myself and what I’ve always seen as my flaws. It’s a bit later in life for me to be doing this but, hey, better late than never. 🙂

      • I’m lucky like that, I have never felt pressure from society, or compared myself to any celebreties. Sure I was insecure when I had my “puppy-fat” in my teens, but that was more to my body suddenly taking on a new form, and I’m not happy about change.

        The only one I compared myself to was my mother, and I felt slightly bitter realising my body would look nothing like hers. She’s tall, with legs going up to her armpits, and the most amazing boobs the world’s ever seen. Hahahaha. Even now, when she’s in her sixties, her round B cups perk up to greet the sun.

        But then I realised, I wasn’t going to ever get a body that would ever look similar to my mothers, and what I had was as good as it was gonna get, and that was ok.

        Now I’m closing in on 40, and I have no body issues. Sure the bum is now sagging, but heck – it’s still a nice butt! 😀 My boobs that never got round and bouncy like my mums, are the exact same size they were when I was 16, and my legs never grew longer. My tummy that used to be flat, is now soft (I love this – I think my tum is uber sexy… it’s not just about the looks, it’s also about the feel). I find myself with “bingo-wings”, as I’m loosing the muscle tone I used to have, but that’s ok… I’m not 20, and my body is doing exactly what everyone’s bodies does as they get older. My fingers have gone arthritic, but that’s ok too, I was lucky not to get arthritis young, so spared many years of pain. Face is full of wrinkles, and I love each and every one of them… yes, I’m a smoker, so the wrinkles came quicker than they should have, but they’re there beacuse I’ve spent a lot of wonderful times outside with family in the sun.

        Don’t be a critic – no-one else is critisising your bodies but yourself. It’s not flaws, we’re all just different. Not everyone can look like Claudia Schiffer (or my mum!)… but imagine how boring the world would be if everyone did. Hahahaha.

        Imagine all that wasted time being hung up on body issues, and comparison to other people… when you could instead have been splashing about half naked in the fountains at Trafalgar Square. 😉 (Guilty)

  2. Bravo, Laurel! I look forward to following this one closely. You are brave and beautiful for taking both taking on this challenge AND exposing your journey along the way via your blog.

    One comment I’ll make on the “Love the Skin You’re In” feature article on O’s magazine… until Oprah and team stop the obvious photoshopping of O herself on the cover, they really can’t expect credibility with headlines like that. Such a pet peeve of mine! I ranted about something similar here: http://myyearofsweat.wordpress.com/2013/02/11/but-how-can-i-be-perfect-if-whats-perfect-isnt-real/

    Go you with this bad-ass project! I’m cheering you on!

    • Photoshopping! You’re right and I love, love, love the post you wrote about it. We’re absolutely surrounded by idealized images in the media and I’m sighing as I write this. Well, my friend, you’ve just given my another important subject to write about.

      Also, have you read the latest model standard? That the women “need” to have a space between their thighs to be considered photogenic? If they don’t have the desired gap, their photo is photo-shopped to thin out their legs to create it. I’m both horrified as I think of “thigh gap” as unattainable for most people and a little insulted ’cause I actually like my thighs just the way they are. This kind of ridiculously specific standard for female bodies makes me just a little rageful.

      Well, it looks like I’m going to have no shortage of blogging material in the next few months…

      http://smellslikegirlriot.tumblr.com/post/41127647874/what-are-thigh-gaps-and-why-you-probably-arent

      • Oh don’t get me started on the thigh gap bullshit. Ridiculousness is what it is!
        Go you with your blog fodder! Can’t wait to read your rants. I have fun looking back at mine!

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  5. Laurel, it’s good to meet you! First, I have to say that your dog’s a total cutie. (I’m a sucker for puppies!) But what I really want to say is that I think this simple idea is one of the most powerful forces for good, and I don’t do nearly enough to live it myself. I am so excited to follow your journey and use your updates as reminders to myself to stay with this practice.

    Also, I have to check if you know my friend Liz Casey from the blog Big Body Beautiful? She writes about a similar idea, and I think you two might be kindred spirits.

    • Hi Jennie, I have to tell you that I was blown away by your Beauty is Truth project. The images are amazing! Absolutely beautiful and so uplifting. I’m in awe. And thank you for the recommendation re: Big Body Beautiful.. I’ll check out her blog right now. Looking forward to more posts from you 🙂

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