Spring is the season of body awareness. We’re going out, showing our bare skin, hitting the streets, parks and beaches full of human shapes. That makes our bodies the topic of the day, we can’t avoid it.
Judging by my Instagram feed, everyone else was thinking about it, too. I saw posts about being fat, at least ten hints about being ‘bikini proof’ and ‘ready for summer’ and I even read about ‘the ultimate festival body’ (what does that even mean?).
I can’t help it, it makes me more aware of my body than I’d like to be. I always pay attention to the signals of my body – a tingle pointing me at a good idea, a muscle alarming me in a subtle way. But my usual kind look at my body changed into a somewhat critical look in the mirror, lately, and sometimes I poked my belly or butt for no reason. Perhaps I hoped they would answer: ‘we’re fine!’ Or, worse: ‘help us!’
Beauty isn’t only on the inside
A few weeks ago, I wrote on Instagram about taking care of my looks. In my job, I sometimes get a full make-up, and I enjoy that: the fussing about, the playing. In every day life, I colour my hair, use make up, I exercise and all these things don’t undo my spiritual practice. It’s all part of my life, it co-exists. In spiritual scenes, taking care of your looks is sometimes regarded as superficial. That’s nonsense. There’s nothing wrong with paying attention to beauty. It would be nonsense to say that true beauty is only on the inside, just as ridiculous it is to say that it’s only on the outside. It’s all about balance, about loving kindness, for your body.
Time for a peace offering
That’s why this is my suggestion: make peace with your body the way it is, and celebrate your body. Show it if you want to. Make sure your inner and outer world are balanced. Strengthen it, make it a resilient and safe place. Your body deserves 365 days of full attention a year. It doesn’t matter how other people feel about your body: if people don’t like to watch you when you're wearing a bikini, they’re free to look at something else. Be kind to yourself. You don’t have to frustrate your body with exercises that cost energy rather than give you any; you don’t have to buy extreme products with ingredients that belong in a chemistry lab. Don’t let the outside world make you insecure, nourish your self esteem from the inside.
You’re perfect the way you are. And your body is every inch a beach body.
A living miracle
i reduced my body to aesthetics
forgot the work it did to keep me alive
with every beat and breath
declared it a grand failure for not looking like theirs
searched everywhere for a miracle
foolish enough to not realize
i was already living in one
Text: Eveline Helmink - Photo: