SoulPath Art: Celebrating wisdom of the body
Hello fellow travelers,
This month I revisited an old friend, the Red Lady painting. You can read more about her story in my post from last April 2018 . This month, I'll show you her progression over the past 2 years and share the meaning of her latest incarnation. I use the word "incarnation" because it was an emotional rebirth that fueled her completion.
Here she is, the first time I thought she was done.
A pregnant woman stands looking out at the future. At this point, I did feel I was undergoing a change that hadn't quite fully manifested yet. A learning how to stand on my own feet without depending on others for different kinds of support....taking baby steps for sure.
I decided to break out of the "red only" palette and found that the new colors added more dimensions:
The blue in her forehead represents a desire for increased intuition, a desire to connect to the authentic self.
Just before I continued working on her last month, I was battling my body image (again)...seems to be a seasonal thing for me.
I've always wanted to be tall, very slender and lithe. From puberty on (exacerbated by an old-fashioned ballet teacher who wanted only female-esque sticks in the front row), I always thought I was very heavy, and I became ashamed of how I looked. This year marks the 24 years of this mental and emotional struggle with body-image.
I know intellectually that every body shape is different and that women's bodies have a higher fat percentage than men, and that curves are ok. But emotionally, I couldn't digest this. It's been hard to accept that I don't look like a willow tree, despite (often obsessive) attention to what I eat and how much I exercise. My shape is more earthy, more curvy than slender, more solid and muscular than lanky.
And my stomach has ALWAYS (at least in my perception) been the place where I hold the most weight. But no matter how much I exercise or (don't) eat, I can't seem to lose it. With a lot of help, I came to realize the attachment was emotional. Because I was emotionally attached to that extra weight in my stomach, my body didn't know how to shed it. The attachment came in the form of negative emotions. I didn't realize how much shame I was storing in that region.....both OF the region and IN the region. Believing that showing my gut would result in rejection lead to 24 years of being neurotic about my weight, of sucking in my gut, of hiding my power. When I would close my eyes and try to sense this part of my body, it felt dead and cold....afraid to be seen, afraid to participate in my whole body's vitality.
I came to realize (though countless meditations) that our bodies are containers or vessels. Not just vessels for our soul, but containers of our thoughts, our emotions, OTHERS' thoughts and emotions (especially if you are empathic). My stomach had become a receptacle for my shame, my insecurity, AND a receptacle for the same emotions from others. Every story someone shared with me about shame stayed in my stomach and became extra weight---because I believed I was responsible for making them feel better. I was literally weighed down with guilt, shame, and others' problems.
So I had a choice. My stomach could either continue to be a receptacle for negativity, or I could accept it in a different context. A vessel, the support system for rest of my body. In one meditation, I was shown the female body with a vase for the pelvis and hips...with the rest of the body growing out of this earthly support-base. The pelvis and stomach are like a flower pot...and the rest of the body is a beautiful flower which grows out of this cherished area.
The vase and the pregnant woman are one in the same. I wanted to convey that we have a choice of what kinds of thoughts, emotions, sustenance we want to fill our bodies with. No matter what the shape. And that these thoughts and emotions shape our body just as much as our DNA. Visually, the vase is open-ended (indicating choice) and it blends into the rock (rock-te earth-our ancestry-our genetics). There is also the suggestion of a DNA helix above the vase.
[Funny side note: I had the intention to draw a tall, skinny vase---what I think is the ideal body. But my paint brush refused to do it, and the "vase" on the page is much more truthful to my own physical shape. I'm glad this happened...but it was very eye-opening to realize that I still wasn't being truthful to my authentic self EVEN IN MY ATTEMPT TO RECONCILE my body image. These belief patterns are so deep]
I know that body-image is not unique to women; that men can struggle with it also. Any body shape or type can hold negative belief patterns. The message from my painting applies to both men and women....it's just that I can understand and express it most easily from a female perspective.
And with that, I wish we could all embrace what we have chosen to create. The fascinating meld of genetics with emotion, of lifestyle with belief all manifesting, coming to life. I wish we could all be more aware that we shape our beautiful vessels...from the inside out.
Please share this story with anyone you feel would benefit. I feel deeply that we need to help and inspire each other....body-image is passed on through generations and many of our "core" beliefs are subconscious.
Feel free to send me feedback! Love to hear from you always.