My curvy paintbrush

My Curvy Paintbrush 2*This post was originally published on Aug. 26th, 2014. As the cold and winter sets in and my ability to exercise outside is limited, this post came to the forefront of my mind. I’m seeking to find peace and balance in health and in my body this wintry season.

Recently I read an article, Your Body Is Not Your Masterpiece, and my perception of body image was changed. This was a big deal for me, considering I have read article after article about body image. I have written papers on body image and scoured the internet looking for research on the topic. Yet for me, this article gave the perfect metaphor for my body and what its purpose truly is.

“Your body is not your masterpiece — your life is.

It is suggested to us a million times a day that our BODIES are PROJECTS. They aren’t. Our lives are. Our spirituality is. Our relationships are. Our work is.

Stop spending all day obsessing, cursing, perfecting your body like it’s all you’ve got to offer the world. Your body is not your art, it’s your paintbrush. Whether your paintbrush is a tall paintbrush or a thin paintbrush or a stocky paintbrush or a scratched up paintbrush is completely irrelevant. What is relevant is that YOU HAVE A PAINTBRUSH which can be used to transfer your insides onto the canvas of your life — where others can see it and be inspired and comforted by it.” (Melton)

oilpaintingdance

So often I spend time worrying about my paintbrush, when I could be painting my dreams, personality, and love for others all over my canvas.

Wow, right? Her metaphor hit me like none other, because it is true. So often I spend time worrying about my paintbrush, when I could be painting my dreams, personality, and love for others all over my canvas. In fact, I could be traveling the world hoping to add my own personal paint color and beauty to other people’s canvas of life.

Of course we shouldn’t spend all day worrying about our paintbrush, but there is something important about our paintbrush–that it works. I think it’s important we take enough care of our paintbrushes so they don’t slow us down or hinder us from expressing our vibrant souls.

We could go on and on about what is the right way to take care of our bodies. I reach a nice balance when I combine this paintbrush metaphor with THIS address, by Jeffrey Holland, it is perhaps the most encouraging talk I read as a teenager. It was 2005 and I was in the midst of teenage anxiety, worrying about what puberty had done to my hips. I listened to this talk multiple times over the years to re-center and re-focus myself on what mattered most. The entire talk is full of gems, but this excerpt gets across what I feel is often lost in the world’s extremes:

We should all be as fit as we can be… That means eating right and exercising and helping our bodies function at their optimum strength. We could probably all do better in that regard. But I speak here of optimum health; there is no universal optimum size. (emphasis added)

For some reason, the world preaches from its social pulpit that there is a universal optimum size. That if you are doing all the right things: exercising, eating well, sleeping, drinking water, etc… you will have the slender, toned, masterpiece of a body you are looking for. But that is simply not true. As much as I have tried, my body likes curves. It is just that way. Others’ bodies are taller or more slender. In the end, it is important to realize the goal is not a target size or weight, it is health.

So what am I trying to go for now? A healthy paintbrush. My own healthy, curvy paintbrush. A paintbrush I love, because it helps me spread joy. A paintbrush I clean, because I want people to see my true colors. A paintbrush I care for so I can skip around the world spreading my unique and beautiful creations.

How are you learning to be at peace with your body?

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Fight against gravity

A couple days ago I read a post by Three Boys and a Mom called “Fit Mom Friday“. In it she shared her journey of fitness and completely inspired me to refocus my goal on health, not just a great body. It seems I continually need to be reminded of this.

Since reading her post, I have started exercising more, because I’ve realized I don’t have to be an all-star athlete to do something beneficial for my body. I may look crazy and pathetic as I exercise, but it’s a whole lot better than quitting before I even start.

Yesterday, I tried PiYo for the second time. It is a workout series by Beach Body slightly similar to pilates and yoga. We (me and the four insanely fit people on my TV–are they even real??) did “Hardcore on the Floor.” As we were nearing the end of the workout in yet another precarious position, the fitness instructor said something that made me think.

If you feel like you’re always about to fall over,
You’re doing it right.
You are in the sweet spot of working the hardest,
because you are working against gravity–
Fight against the gravity!

A flexed arm muscle Isn’t that true for life? Just as a muscle can’t get stronger until it has resistance; just as our muscles have to tear before they can be stronger–so it is with us. Many times the good things we crave to do or the person we know we have the potential to become are preceded by doing downright, hard things–we sweat, we try again, we fall over, we give up momentarily, we try again. We give it our best and in the end, we’re stronger than when we started.

It is in the hard times that our soul gains strength.

So today I’m going to fight against gravity. I’m going to recommit to the good habits I want in my life, because I want the results of a better me.

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”- English Proverb

How do you stay motivated to reach your goals? What are some of the goals that you are working toward in life right now? OR do you have an exercise program that you love? I would love to hear your thoughts!

I like myself! I’m glad I’m me.

Have you read the children’s book, I Like Myself by Karen Beaumont? If you haven’t, I highly suggest the read. And yes, your kids will love it, but you may like it even more.

I like myself! I’m glad I’m me.
There’s no one else I’d rather be.

 
The cover of the book "I Like Myself." The cover is pink with a girl dancing around.Society is tough on women. Most of us feel it acutely. I feel it acutely. The world says we are what we appear to be. We are the purse we tote around, we are the cell phone in our hand, we are the jeans we wear, we are the make-up we apply. The list goes on and on and on.

I read this book when I was about 15. Yes, during the midst of my teenage years I read and fell in love with this children’s book. It spoke to me. It comforted me. It taught me I can love myself. I can be happy with who I am! And most importantly, I should like myself for who I am, not what I may appear to be. No amount of physical changes should make me like myself any less, because the inside is what matters most.

child sitting in bed with huge bed head

Even when I look a mess,
I still don’t like me any less,
’cause nothing in this world, you know,
can change what’s deep inside, and so…

 

weird bicycle contraption. A police man stairing at it.

No matter if they stop and stare,
no person
ever
anywhere
can make me feel that what they see
is all there really is to me.

 

To me, this is one of the most beautiful messages. It illustrates “Don’t get caught up in what the world sees. Love yourself, because you are YOU.” Contrary to popular belief, you are enough.

Do you love yourself even when you look a mess? How have you learned to love yourself? Are there any books that have spoken to your soul? I would love to hear your thoughts!

HERE is a link to a short video clip of I Like Myself so you can see the entire short story.

 

My curvy paintbrush

My Curvy Paintbrush 2

Recently I read an article, Your Body Is Not Your Masterpiece, and my perception of body image was changed. This was a big deal for me, considering I have read article after article about body image. I have written papers on body image and scoured the internet looking for research on the topic. Yet for me, this article gave the perfect metaphor for my body and what its purpose truly is.

Your body is not your masterpiece — your life is.

It is suggested to us a million times a day that our BODIES are PROJECTS. They aren’t. Our lives are. Our spirituality is. Our relationships are. Our work is.

Stop spending all day obsessing, cursing, perfecting your body like it’s all you’ve got to offer the world. Your body is not your art, it’s your paintbrush. Whether your paintbrush is a tall paintbrush or a thin paintbrush or a stocky paintbrush or a scratched up paintbrush is completely irrelevant. What is relevant is that YOU HAVE A PAINTBRUSH which can be used to transfer your insides onto the canvas of your life — where others can see it and be inspired and comforted by it.

oilpaintingdance

So often I spend time worrying about my paintbrush, when I could be painting my dreams, personality, and love for others all over my canvas.

Wow, right? Her metaphor hit me like none other, because it is TRUE. So often I spend time worrying about my paintbrush, when I could be painting my dreams, personality, and love for others all over my canvas. In fact, I could be traveling the world hoping to add my own personal paint color and beauty to other people’s canvas of life.

The thing is, I DO feel that there is something important about our paintbrushes. And that is, that it works. I think it is important that we take enough care of our paintbrushes so they don’t slow us down and don’t hinder us from expressing our beautiful souls.

But, where is the balance in that? We could go on and on about what is the right way to take care of our bodies. I feel I reach the balance when I combine this paintbrush metaphor with one of my “Hall of Fame” addresses. THIS address, by Jeffrey Holland, is perhaps the most encouraging talk I read as a teenager. It was 2005 and I was in the midst of teenage anxiety, worrying about what puberty had done to my hips. I listened to this talk multiple times over the years to re-center and re-focus myself on what mattered most. The entire talk is full of gems, but this excerpt gets across what I feel is often lost in the world’s extremes:

We should all be as fit as we can be… That means eating right and exercising and helping our bodies function at their optimum strength. We could probably all do better in that regard. But I speak here of optimum health; there is no universal optimum size. (emphasis added)

For some reason, the world likes to preach from its social pulpit that there is a universal optimum size. That if you are doing all the rightcanvas things: exercising, eating well, sleeping, drinking water, etc… you will have the slender, toned, masterpiece of a body you are looking for. But that is simply not true. As much as I have tried, my body likes curves. And it is just that way. Others’ bodies are taller or more slender. In the end, it is important to realize that the goal is not a target size or weight, it is health.

So what am I trying to go for now? A healthy paintbrush. My own healthy, curvy paintbrush. A paintbrush that I love, because it helps me spread joy. A paintbrush I clean, because I want people to see my true colors. A paintbrush I care for so that I can skip around the world spreading my unique and beautiful creations.