Coming closer to Our Selves

Coming closer to Our Selves

An Embodied Approach to Connecting with our Bodies

Our bodies are the medium through which we experience the world and ourselves, yet also the central object of our being that we can often feel most critical of. As we try to take a step further into understanding our bodies, we invite you to reflect with us on the ways in which we can see it for what it is, away from what cultural conditioning, media and contemporary narratives espouse.

1.Getting to know our body

Our bodies change continually, and something we have found essential to accepting and learning about our bodies is the need to let go of the idea that they won’t or shouldn’t change. The more we are able to meditate on how natural it is for our bodies – like everything else in nature – to change shape, the more we will be able to connect deeply with the reality and novelty of its ever-changing nature. As a practice, we encourage that we engage with our body in different ways. To touch and feel the different textures, bumps and birthmarks that embrace it. To do a body-scan to see how our body is feeling physically (after a meal, a long day, a good run, a hectic day, and the like). To understand its language of communicating with us. To dress ourselves affectionately in different styles and observe what emotions stem forth and how we respond to them. Mindfully engaging with our bodies in this way grants us the opportunity to build an intimate and realistic relationship with it and to become involved in its movements and feelings.

2.Accepting our body as it is

Each of us has a unique body type, and there is no definitive shape that is healthier than the other. We believe that as part of living more consciously, it is imperative that we start working toward and resting in the feeling of health and acceptance, overlooking a way that has been prescribed by someone else. Committing to recognising that all kinds of bodies are worthy of love, representation and acceptance is a step toward acknowledging that we wish to have not only a healthy body, but a healthy lifestyle and personal dialogue with our body and selves. Cultivating body neutrality can be an authentic way of conversing with ourselves and being human, toward our very human bodies. Watching who we are, what we do and how we think about our body can become a spring to initiate healing and identify that we are much more than our bodies.

3.Questioning normative and cultural conceptions

The cultural ideals of beauty have long displayed a singular portrait that have enabled size discrimination, racism, and ableism, unfortunately, affecting the way we feel about ourselves. Questioning frameworks that pit us against ourselves and one another, consciously contemplating and building our personal values, as well as contributing to the larger conversation on body politics are all ways for us to challenge the status quo and play a personal and active role in bringing about an inclusive account of beauty. Concurrently, partaking in routines that help us feel good and at home with our bodies can affirm our resonance with the dynamism of our bodies.




The Efficacy and Liberation of a Not-To-Do List

Today’s ‘hustle culture’ is very good at making us forget that we are mere mortals – it is about constantly being on the go, always over-performing and pushing our boundaries. From the second we wake up in the morning, we have a manual of instructions ready, a to-do list that is supposed to make us more efficient and outline our day. But more often than not, the efficacy is lost when we set ourselves up for disappointment each day with unattainable, humanly impossible goals, and we end up losing the very thing we are trying to catch – time. Every month or year is concluded with the same wonder of not knowing where it went.

A solution to this vexing catch-22 might lie in a revolution, or rather, an anti-revolution – a not-to-do list, which is based on the principle of subtraction. By eliminating tasks, it serves as the antithesis of a to-do list, questioning and classifying what is really important. It takes away the restrictions imposed by our rut every day and gives us the freedom to savour, and even, save time.

A not-to-do list may comprise of all the barriers to living a more fulfilling life – not checking your social media or work emails first thing in the morning.  Not giving so much time to screens. Not being absent in conversations, or even while carrying out the most mundane tasks. Not consuming so much processed food or alcohol. Not producing environmental waste. Not leaving our dirty dishes for later. Not buying anything for the day. Not worrying so much. Not staying up late or losing sleep. Not forcing feelings or motivation.

The list could also complement our to-do list – analyzing the things that did not work in the past can be put under the not-to-do list. This could be an important exercise in learning how to say ‘no’. The list could be endless and could consist of anything that enriches and adds value to our life. It is the act of letting go and acknowledging our existence as a human, and of finding beauty in small and all things, by slowing down and being more heedful. We need to allow ourselves to be more conscious and feel more. Even the most mundane tasks of everyday life carry immense beauty – to let ourselves feel all the flavours and textures in the wafts of our food, to feel the sun on our face or to observe the earth we walk on. Living slowly is also an act of reconnecting – with our surroundings, peers and most importantly, ourselves. By listening closely to what our bodies demand, be it more rest or more food, we are able to nourish and thank the body that carries us through it all. Gratitude has a certain grace about it – it establishes a mutually respectful relationship. A restoration of this relationship might be an urgent call, given the nature of our currently exhausting lifestyles.

Why is it that we allow ourselves a vacation to put our hair down only once or twice a year, when our current fast-paced lifestyle desperately demands rejuvenation a lot more? Paying more attention makes the second last longer and transform into mending minutes. It is also important to understand that slowing down doesn’t necessarily mean stopping; it solely implies stepping back, reassessing things and finding our own pace. By harmonizing ourselves with the rhythm of the earth and the flow of time, we might just be able to discover a new way of healing and feeling, and a more satisfying lifestyle.