Today I gathered with my sweet husband, my mom and dad, and two powerful women in my life. We stood in front of the Our Lady of Guadalupe shrine at the Franciscan Renewal Center and moved through a ritual of love: an embodied expression of self-love.
In Bold is the letter a wrote to myself and read to the group gathered. Interspersed is my story of the day, of my life, of the process of embodying reconciliation within my own being.
As the afternoon sun shone down on our little group, I offered my own heart a renewed opportunity to express fully in the world. Through a process of acknowledging what my present experience is, what I'm ready to let go of and what I desire to step into, I offered myself care, healing and love.
I am sorry that my love has been conditional.
Specifically, I acknowledged that the way I think about my body, how I think about food, how I eat and how I treat my changing body - that these are subjects that have become overwhelming for me. Today I chose to surrender them to Grace, and I stepped into a new chapter of living.
I acknowledge that conditional love is not love at all.
For over 30 years, I have struggled to reconcile the disconnect between my body, mind and spirit: Am I just a mind that needs the vehicle of the body to get around and make things happen? Am I a soul that needs a body and mind to function in this dimension? Is my body just a by-product of my humanity? Or is my body the only thing I've got and I need to find the fountain of youth before I'm totally screwed?
Now I'm officially in my 40s..the grey hairs are starting to come in, my skin is not as elastic-y as it used to be. I have to work out longer and harder to get the physical results I used to get in my 20s. I LOVE how I look AND I look different from the way I looked 20 years ago. I love moving my body AND my body moves differently than it did 20 years ago.
I acknowledge that I have held beliefs that kept me from fully loving you.
I have always been curious about the process of aging, and now I am actually awake to the opportunity of gracefully engaging the process. I don't need to be hard on my body for not being 20. I mean...I'm not 20. I don't need to berate my body for looking like I'm a mom...I AM a mom. It is the underlying qualities beneath these potential concerns that cause an eroding of self. THAT is what I want to release!
I know now, they are false.
So, today, standing in front of Our Lady, I let go of my belief in ugliness, in being undesirable, and in needing my body to be different, in order to be lovable.
The truth is, you are whole and so good.
I prayed for freedom and wisdom to embrace the beauty, health and vitality of my body and to care for this vessel as the profound miracle that it is.
You are a necessary expression of Divine Love in the world!
My voice was heard by those in attendance, my body was seen, my heart was honored. I was witnessed. I exist. I matter. Just as I am.
You are not alone on this journey.
The two powerful women present, represented Inspiration and Permission. Inspiration to age with grace, beauty, wisdom, sexiness, and self-love. Permission to step out of an unhealthy relationship with my body, food, and natural changing, and into the more that is possible.
My parents loved me into being, through my becoming, and continue to pave the way ahead of me.
My beloved reminded me of my beauty and loveableness and continues to love me into what is yet to come.
And I, standing there, held one hand on my heart and the other on my belly. I closed my eyes and breathed into myself.
I love you deeply, my sweet one. I am proud of you and I commit to loving you in the truest way I can, each day.
We ate plump, red raspberries; sang "You are my Sunshine" to ourselves and brought the ritual to a close as droplets of sweat glistened down our backs. It was a full-bodied, fully embodied expression of love...
With Love, Rachel
And you, my friend? How does this land for you? Perhaps you want to pull out your journey and take a moment to reflect:
What questions do you notice popping up?
In what ways did you see yourself reflected in my sharing this experience?
How do you express love to yourself? Is it conditional?
What might your permission sound like?
How would you like to be inspired?
What support do you need to step into your next chapter of living life fully?
You are worth every moment of this process, my friend. Your unique expression is necessary in the world...and finding that place of unconditional self-love is the well-spring from which you will change the world.
Sending you so much love and light for the journey. Love, Rachel
Rachel Sartori is an Embodiment and Wholeness Coach. She is kick-ass and heart-centered whether she is showing up as a workshop/retreat facilitator, a private coach, a writer or a speaker. Rachel invites you to exercise your soul, and participate in the healing of your own heart and the world around you. With Rachel, all is welcome, all the time.
Read: Exercise Your Soul: Ignite Healing and Wholeness in your Life and Live from the Inside Out