Fixes, Fads, and Self-Betterment Plans, Oh My!Jan 26, 2022
by Patricia Lynn Reilly
It used to be that the pressure to create resolutions and self-betterment plans was most intense around the new year, every year!
For most of us, however, the pressure spills over and we live in a chronic state of planning to be better and to look better, and resolving to do better, every day of the year! The pressure rises from within us, fueled by the ancient assumption that there’s something wrong with us and we MUST do something to fix it.
I have good news! There is nothing wrong with you. Your task is not to become a new, improved, or changed person by spinning out resolution after resolution or embracing the current self-improvement fad. Rather, your task is much simpler and more joyful. Your task is to return home and reclaim your natural and essential self in all its fullness.
In the very beginning, you loved yourself. You came into the world with feelings of omnipotence, not inferiority. You loved your body, expressed its needs, and followed its impulses. You recognized and expressed your feelings. You told the truth. You created plays, musicals, stories, and pictures from your own unique vision of the world. You were full of yourself!
You may doubt that this time ever existed. Allow Monique Wittig’s words to remind you of the truth: “There was a time when you walked alone, full of laughter, you bathed bare-bellied. You say you have lost all recollection of it, remember. You say there are no words to describe this time, you say it does not exist. But remember. Make an effort to remember. Or, failing that, invent.”
Before you make another body-resolution, sign up for an expensive body-fix, register for a juice fast, or look into the mirror yet again with disgust, imagine a woman who is glad to be alive. A woman who has released body-scrutiny and -criticism. Who celebrates her body with reverence and respect. Imagine yourself as this woman as you remember the body-loving instincts of the child you once were, and awaken them in every season of your life.
Before you make another life-resolution, sign up for an expensive life overhaul, decide to end it all, or change careers, imagine a woman who authors her own life. A woman who trusts her inner sense of what’s right for her. Who takes responsibility for the design and content of her life. Imagine yourself as this woman as you remember the creative intelligence you already possess and access that intelligence to author your own life and self-understanding.
Before you make another relationship-resolution, say I DO, scream I DON’T, or sign on with the latest matchmaking outfit, imagine a woman who turns toward herself with interest and attention. A woman who turns inward to listen, remember, and replenish. Whose capacity to be available to others deepens as she is available to herself. Imagine yourself as this woman as you remember the essential connection between self-love and the love of others and experience your relationships from the inside out.
Before you make another spiritual-resolution, join an ashram or convent, turn your life over to another god or goddess, or turn away from spirituality altogether, imagine a woman who embodies her spirituality. A woman who honors her body as the sacred temple of the spirit of life. Who breathes deeply as a prayer of gratitude for life itself. Imagine yourself as this woman as you remember your birthright of freedom and courage, and use this birthright to inspire and design your own spirituality.
Before you take another step into 2022, review WomanSpirit Reclamation’s roster of woman-affirming classes and experiences. Register for one or all of them to infuse this new year with dynamic self-love and purposeful engagement with the world around you. No longer content with self-improvement schemes that merely require the rearrangement of your exterior life, you’ll heal into the present and experience the transformation of your inner world.
My 8-week course, Exile to Embodiment: Learning to Love Your Body, starts February 8. I would love to help you embrace your body exactly as it is.
Patricia has been inspiring women for over 30 years. Her iconic books, poems, and trainings have traveled around the world. Her books have always conveyed powerful woman-affirming processes with heart-felt intelligence, inviting each woman to author her own life, body-image, and self-understanding. Patricia weds that strong body of work with the absolute necessity of living mindfully in this challenging age. Partnering with WomanSpirit Reclamation, she will be facilitating ZOOM courses and events based on her classic books.
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