Do you hold your tummy in all the time? Or some other part – your jaw, shoulders, neck?
I call this habit THE CLENCH. I’m on a Quest to smooth it out.
The other day, one of my singing partners – a petite, lithe 50ish dancer – showed us her round, soft belly. We softened our bellies too. It felt good to let it all hang out.
So in my morning ritual, Move Groove & Gratitude, I slid my elastic waist down to really let my tummy breathe. It looked much bigger and floppier than I knew. Yes, dimples. Yes, sagging skin. Yes, wiggly.
My whole life I’ve held my belly in, to look as flat as possible. And damn proud of it.
Yet it felt so good to go soft. I set aside my judgements and loved my belly up and down. I thanked it for doing its job: storing fat for lean times, holding my babies, digesting my food.
On Day 2, I practice belly softening at several social events. Would anyone notice? Course not! I avoid alcohol, keep my senses sharp. Getting easier. Still I catch myself in THE CLENCH at least 25 times.
Day 3: I awoke feeling strangely sad. For no reason. Yet I sensed it was part of my Belly experiment. I let go of my to-do list and spent the day tending old emotions (more on that later).
Day 4: My tummy is soft more than not. But it takes devotion to open a new neural pathway, a new pattern. It takes effort to invite awareness, to slow down, to feel my body, to love my self as I am.
‘Going soft’ is seen as weak, in a patriarchal culture that’s about proving our worth through accomplishment (get it done, babe! what’s next on that list?)
But what if our priority was to see our beautiful bellies, our selves, and those around us – with softer, gentler, eyes? To round off the hard edges?
I’ll bet our days would be sweeter, kinder, more loving.
Why should I care? It’s just my belly…
Because as each of us heals our old shizzle, we become more human. More whole. More available to show up for what’s needed: in our selves, our relationships, our communities, our world.
What would this world look like if more of us could show up?
Climate Change: we can do it. Social inequities? We’re working on it. Cruelty? give it time…
When our hearts are open, our hands are more willing to work for what we love most.
Take a moment, now…
- Draw in a deep breath and let out a sigh, ahhh….
- Let the breath flow down into your belly
- Let it go soft
- Let it be the shape that it is
- Can you love your shape, as it is, right now?
Could your heart use a kind, insightful ear? Fresh skills to connect and communicate from the Heart? More courage to create your Hearts’ Desire?