CONFESSION: I used to hate nature.
Walking in the woods, hiking small trails only served one purpose for me- a reminder of all the ways my body was wrong. All of the ways that it was disgusting, unhealthy, wheezy. Red. To face such deep shame, to give it a voice outside of myself felt too hard, and so I slowly constructed lies around my aversion for the outdoors and I told these stories for so long that I started to believe them.
“I don’t like hiking. I mean, you walk around a bunch and then what… nothing.”
“I like nature. From the inside. Through the window. With a coffee. Otherwise, I don’t get it.”
But the truth was that anytime I moved my body, I felt disgust. I felt like my body was oozing from everywhere. I would be so sweaty and sticky and breathless and red. My nose would run down my face, my body would itch from the inside out like it was trying to claw its way out of me. In my mind, these were sure signs that I was ugly. fat. unhealthy. undesirable. undeserving.
Overtime, that shame and neglect of my body developed into a significant digestive issue that dictated my life for over 10 years. I couldn’t trust her to not let me down and leave me embarrassed. I couldn’t stray far from spaces with public access bathrooms. Nights out with friends became painful. I was anxious and exhausted all the time.
I’d done so much work on myself, my relationship as it stood with my body could no longer exist as is.
All of that pain and anger became too much, and it was over five years ago when I decided to devote myself to healing my relationship with my body.
It’s taken serious self-love to heal my body and feel comfortable in her and the journey continues into today. As an added bonus, the Universe delivered unto me a group of women who are my soul sisters AND passionate about the outdoors and moving their bodies. It’s taken many years of me trudging behind them in shameful fury for me to finally see the beauty that lives outside our walls.
Flash forward to this July. I’m hiking through the woods in silence alone, marveling at all the messages my body is sending me that would have me embarrassed or disgusted in the past.
I went to the woods for a therapy sesh.
This summer has required a lot of me, emotionally and spiritually. I am calling forward immense amounts of emotional resiliency and for the first time, I truly recognized my body as my fiercest ally. She is the embodiment of all my wisdom, and we can only get through this time if we support one another.
I’m fully feeling the runny nose, and the itchy body, and the sweat. And I’m just in awe of her.
Sometimes eating the right thing feels too hard. And sometimes sitting around and watching Netflix feels too easy. And being mad and being a victim used to be just right. But to show up as the biggest, boldest version of myself requires more. My body requires it. We require it.
When we’re in highly emotional and stress-filled times, that energy needs to move out of our bodies so it doesn’t stay trapped in our physiology. It’s my body’s way of taking care of herself throughout this challenging time, and I can meet her there.
And so in this moment, this breathlessness + sweat + itchiness + discomfort that floods my system is a welcoming sign that things are on the move.
The emotions, the trauma, the exhaustion, the overwhelm. It all needs to come out. And while I huff and puff my way up and down these wooded trails, I become lighter. Clearer. Ready for what comes next.
To fully lean into the disconnect that I had created between myself and my body has opened me up to a new capacity for love without conditions. Some days are easier than others, and that is the dance of being a soul having a human experience.
Our bodies are a fucking miracle. If we can heed their wisdom, they will take care of us. What is she telling you today? To move more? Breathe more? Eat more? Sleep more?
Breathe. Listen. Act.