Since the overturn of Roe vs. Wade in June 2022, 13 states have banned abortion with another nine likely to follow. This means a staggering 48% of the nation would have laws banning procedures for women who need them.
These decisions being made by men for women are not only censorship, but a prime example of patriarchy and Christian nationalism in America.
In addition, capitalism is constantly generating products convincing people they need “this” product or “that” service in order to be happier, thinner, stronger, more likeable, more youthful or less anxious. It creates an unachievable standard of happiness that leaves us always wanting more.
It’s easy to feel discouraged and in some ways out of control.
We do not need more laws to censor our bodies or more products to enhance or tell us who we are supposed to be. What we need right now are holistic practices that teach us how to be present, how to sink into our knowing, how to love each other and ourselves more deeply. What we need is embodied living.
Here are three ways to get started:
Practice gratitude and awareness. Part of embodied living is intentionally resisting the fast-paced, hurried way of life in which we operate. Awareness and gratitude are both practices meant to slow us down and help us observe our surroundings.
Some keep a gratitude journal, some have discussions of gratitude over shared meals, some practice a posture of gratitude as a way of experiencing the world. All these are counter-cultural and take intentionality yet create an opportunity for a new way of experiencing life and living rooted in peace, rather than anxiety and exhaustion.
To practice awareness, consider drinking your morning coffee outside rather than in front of your computer, taking a walk in the woods or next to the stream once a week rather than going to the gym, or heading to a nearby park to watch the sunset instead of tuning into your favorite show.
“Awareness and moments of gratitude often come from unplugging from screen life and being present in the moment to what is happening around you.”
Awareness and moments of gratitude often come from unplugging from screen life and being present in the moment to what is happening around you.
Create space for your feelings. Allow yourself to feel. So often in our society the way we function is by shutting down our emotions. Whether that is shutting down our desires, compartmentalizing our feelings or disregarding our pain, we use numbness and ignoring how we feel as a way to get from one thing to the next.
Instead, consider creating space for your feelings. Acknowledge your pain, your depression, your anxiety, your fear. Talk to it like you would talk to a friend. I see you. I understand things feel scary/hard/sad right now. You are not alone. Walk with me. Show me what it is that you have to teach me.
Talking directly to your feelings, rather than running from them, allows for introspection, grace and awareness to arise. If you allow yourself to sit in the discomfort of your emotions, you are giving yourself the gift of self-nurturing, self-healing and growth.
Honor your body in every stage. Our society idolizes youth. It idolizes thinness. It communicates through movies, magazines, models and the products created for them that ageless, tall, white, straight, able-bodied, skinny (if you’re female) or strong (if you’re male) bodies are what we should all be striving to achieve. Not only that, but it shames those of us who don’t fit that mold.
This is felt by those who don’t fit the “average” size when sitting in an event venue or airplane seat. It is felt by those who are unable to walk up the stairs to get into a building and realize there is no ramp available. And it’s felt by those who realize their body is aging and they now struggle to keep up with others the way they used to.
It’s an act of resistance against culture that proclaims we refuse to be anything different or less than who we are.”
What’s encouraging is that we are seeing more and more women in the media trying to flip the script by defying capitalism. People like Jamie Lee Curtis boast pride over their grey hair, and singers like Alicia Keys and Kelly Clarkson have been seen publicly without makeup, showing people they are human and giving us permission to be too.
“It’s an act of resistance against culture that proclaims we refuse to be anything different or less than who we are. It’s a self-love revolution.”
We deserve to love our bodies in every stage. In youth. In motherhood. In disability. In age. Our bodies are always beautiful and sacred regardless of what they look like or how they function. They give us the gift of life and carry us through each day. The more we honor them (and express gratitude toward them), the more we can be and live at peace.
Learning to love our bodies and feel at home in our bodies is perhaps the greatest gift we can ever give ourselves. Embodiment is also contagious and could be the greatest gift you give not only to yourself, but also to someone else.
Amber Wylde is a national speaker, community healer and the author of three books. Her newest book, Out of Focus: My Story of Sexuality, Shame and Toxic Evangelicalism, releases October 2023. As a gay woman living with the invisible disability of both Lyme disease and rheumatoid arthritis, Amber specializes in bringing messages of diversity, hope and self-acceptance to those who have been pushed to the margins. She is host of the Unashamed Love Collective — a safe haven for LGBTQ people and allies that fosters supportive community. She also leads Cultivating Community Retreats — small, intimate group gatherings that build lasting relationships with like-minded people. Learn more at Patreon.com/AmberCantornaWylde, on social media @AmberCantornaWylde or online at AmberCantornaWylde.com.
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