HOW BODY POSITIVITY CAN UNLOCK YOUR INTUITION

After a lifetime of food issues, Jillian Murphy discovered that living fully in her own skin was the key to her magic. She shares how body positivity can unlock your intuition …

Photo of Jillian by Wild Little Hearts Photography

“Before you can hear, much less follow, the voice of your soul, you have to win back your body.” – Meggan Watterson

I remember the day I first abandoned my body. 

I was 8 years old and visiting the mysterious temple my mother escaped to every evening when my dad got home from work—she called this evasive place of worship “the gym.” It was a Saturday open house and I was an immediate convert. The place was magical – dusty rose carpet, slick chrome and mirrors, George Michael pumping through the speakers, and LYCRA. So much lycra! (It was the 80s, k?)

I could tell right away that this was the place for me—a space of transformation, potential, and movie-worthy —this was a place where life happened. I grabbed a pop and a hotdog and then I naively hopped up on the scale where they were weighing everyone. And that’s where “It” got me.

As I scarfed my lunch, the two staff members in charge of weighing me began sniggering. Whispering about something clearly “adding 5 pounds” while looking at my body.

I wasn’t exactly sure what was going on but I knew the joke was on me. And I knew it was bad. Bad enough to remember but never ever talk about, until 25 years later, when I finally started to heal my relationship with food and with my own shape and size.

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Coming face to face with “it” … 
“It” is not that creepy clown from the Stephen King movie you’re picturing. No, no, the “It” I speak of is much worse—its name is diet culture and it spews a thin-is-best, fatphobic, classist, able-ist, racist, gender-biased rhetoric where the gold standard of beauty, body, and more recently “wellness,” is blatantly clear, objectively unhealthy, and unavailable to most.

Beyond the gym, there were many other moments when “It” got me, some that obvious, highlighted in Technicolor and frozen in time—a mental photo album created to prove my lack—while others were so subtle I internalized them without realizing, recognizing the damage only in hindsight.

From health messaging at school and dieting advice from teen magazines, to negative looks from boys and the admiration of “beautiful” girls in front of me, the signs were everywhere.  

Once, I remember hearing an older male cousin condescendingly laugh about the shape of a specific woman – stating that “to be attractive to men your shoulders needed to be at least “X”cm wider than your waist. Though I thought it harsh, I internalized the comment as though it were about me. In a diet culture with rigid beauty ideals, no woman is left unscathed.

Everywhere, the message I absorbed was: you are not good enough. More specifically: your body is not good enough.  

Even more specifically: your body is not good enough and, as a female, it’s your personal responsibility to take charge of your weight and beauty and behavior and do what it takes until you fit the ideal lest you remain unworthy forever. Also, hot sticks of processed meat are un-ladylike.

Photo of Jillian by Wild Little Hearts Photography

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Your intuition lives in your flesh …
It might look like a criticism, a comment, a side-eye (sometimes much worse), and it makes you gasp, the foul gas of “you’re not good enough” filling your lungs and seeping into your tissues. From that day on, the myth of diet culture is no longer just a story around you, it is a story about you.

You disconnect. You abandon your physical self. You override your female knowing that your curvy, lumpy, bumpy body is beautiful and normal and you do your best to crush the voice that says “I’m hungry” or “carbs would be nice” because that voice is clearly an idiot that doesn’t know bikini season is coming up.

The result? Food issues, yes. But diet culture doesn’t just destroy our relationship with food and distort our body image—it separates us from the most powerful ally we have—our inner knowing.  

Your intuition lives in your flesh and speaks to you through your body. She is nourished by pleasure, abundance, approval, and desire.

When she has been dampened and starved into submission, you are left living a storyline that keeps you doubtful, unsteady, competitive, and unsure. An ideal that keeps you distracted from your most important work in the world and suggests your worth is up for debate.

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Amplify the whisper …
When we discourage (read: flat out ignore) the whisper of biological feedback that tells us we need more calories or carbs or a day of rest—we simultaneously diminish the whisper that helps us discern and decide in all areas of our lives.

These whispers are one in the same. Learning to hear and trust the signals from our very intelligent, self-regulating, female appetites is a super-powered short cut, reconnecting us to our broader inner knowing. It amplifies the whisper.

I lost so much time sacrificing my wellbeing and connection to self in the pursuit of worthiness via weight loss and superficial beauty. I made bad decisions. I was distracted. I lost time. I learned slowly that, in order to write a new storyline for myself, I would need the power of my intuition and that the first step in rebuilding a connection with my soul voice was winning back my body.

Photo of Jillian & family by Wild Little Hearts Photography

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Here’s how to start amplifying the whisper and winning back your own body …

1// Give up the pursuit of weight-loss. The pursuit of weight loss is THE thing that disconnects us and keep us looking outside of ourselves for shoddy solutions. Weight-loss attempts fail over 90% of the time, long-term, and the collateral damage is your relationship with food and your connection to your inner knowing. Start by pretending that you aren’t in control of your weight (because you really aren’t) and that your only goal is to feel vibrant and energetic and joyful in your body.

2// Counter the deprivation narrative. Tuning into our hunger and reliably feeding our bodies is the first step in repairing the collateral damage of deprivation and moving towards a more intuitive relationship with food.

Start the process of consistent nourishment by connecting with your hunger signals. See if you can rate your hunger on a scale of 0-10 (0 = not hungry at all, 10 = “hungry,” low blood sugar, shaky). Can you notice the subtle differences between a 4 and a 7, or do you regularly swing from overstuffed to starving?

3//Discover your delicious. The basics when it comes to nutrition and movement have been well understood and unchanging for generations – move your body regularly, get fresh air, drink water, eat lots of plants and unprocessed foods – not too little, not too much, and honor your mental/emotional need for pleasurable, celebratory foods.

Now, from this magical place—without all the rigid rules, “shoulds”, and fears—what do you feel like eating? How do you feel like eating it? How do you want to move your body and for how long?

*Note: There is a good chance you have NO IDEA. Start by asking the questions and experimenting. Follow your curiosity and see how it goes—maybe you hate plain raw carrots but you love them roasted or with dip (Hot tip: DIP IS DELICIOUS). Allow yourself to try new things and neutrally observe how your body feels.

4// Fully live with the beautiful bod you’ve got. When your physical appearance stops representing your entire worth and is, instead, just a fun outward expression of your personality, the game changes. Start living the life you aspire to have when you are in the perfect body and watch the shift!

Make a list of all the activities you are waiting to do when you lose the weight, get more toned, have your nose fixed, are more perfect, etc. Make the list as exhaustive as possible. Next step? Start doing all of those things IMMEDIATELY. Wear the red lipstick, rock the shorts, eat the gelato, show your navel, go on the date, try the tap class, climb a mountain, go back to school. Do it all!

Dr. Jillian Murphy is a registered, licensed Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine. She has dedicated the past 8 years to studying intuitive eating and body image, and works with diverse, smart, health-conscious, women who are DONE WITH DIETING, and looking to get out of their heads and re-connect with their bodies. Follow her on Instagram, listen for more wisdom on her Podcast, and join The Food Freedom/Body Love Collective, her monthly membership space that provides you with the tools, strategies, support, and community you need to live healthfully in the body you are IN! 

HEY GOOD LOOKIN: WHEN’S YOUR VENUS RETURN?

We celebrate our birthday once a year, right? Wrong – you also have a beauty birthday, says Kimberly Peta Dewhirst of Star Sign StyleArtwork: My Dinh via Behance.net

Wait, what does your “beauty birthday” even mean?!

Your traditional birthday is also known as your “Solar Return,” referring to when the sun (solar) returns to the place in the zodiac where is was when you were born. Hence how we coined the phrase: “Many happy returns!”

And so your beauty birthday is when Venus, planet of all things aesthetic, makes the same repeat visit.

Now you might already know your Venus sign, which says lots about the way you shop, flirt, dress up, and conduct friendships – your Venus sign reflects your tastes, and the image of your Venus zodiac sign can provide an aspirational archetype to express yourself through.

For example, if you’re a Pisces with Venus in Aries, imagine a hot, feisty passionate woman as your fashion and beauty muse (i.e. Pisces Rihanna, who has Moon and Venus in Aries). Your Sagittarius woman with Venus in Scorpio meanwhile, will totally gravitate towards a sultry look, a little more mysterious and private than the typical jovial nature of the archer (think of Sagittarius plus Scorp Katie Holmes).

And at some point during every year (for about one or two days), planet Venus is also in the exact position she was when you were born. Now, because of the constant nature of the Sun and its path through the zodiac signs we know that our birthday falls on the same day every year, making it super easy to plan a get-together.

Venus, on the other hand, can go retrograde (as we found out last year!) and so it’s not so straightforward calculating your “beauty birthday” – but it’s definitely worth it.

Why? Because your beauty birthday is when the stars are aligned for you personally when it comes to looking your best, attracting the right relationships, and getting a great deal on any luxury purchases you’re planning to make. Matters around money and your female relations can go well too – essentially, all things Venusian. (Hint: watch out for tomorrow’s special post on the Goddess Venus for more intel!)

So when Venus returns to the position of your “natal Venus” in your chart, this is no time to hide away – instead, come out, get dressed up to the nines, and celebrate your beauty birthday! Make it a time to indulge your senses, surround yourself with friends and notice how you attract likeminded people.

In fact, why not invest in a fabulous piece for the occasion? It’s a great day to get a new haircut, or even make-over your look at your favorite beauty counter.

Knowing the position of your “natal Venus” (where Venus appears in your birth chart), you’ll be aware when the planets are vibrating on her too – for example, you could have a slow moving planet like Pluto or Uranus passing over your personal planet of love, offering their transformative qualities to your relationships by “transit.” Invaluable information to have at your fingertips, I think you’ll agree!

Want to know your beauty birthday? Order a 2016 Astrological Calendar and Kimberly will calculate your beauty birthday for the coming year. Simply include your time, date and place of birth in the order notes (and try and get your time of birth as close as possible).

Kimberly’s brilliant calendar also includes the path of Venus in 2016, as well as the sign the Moon is passing through each day. The below YouTube video tells you more!

https://youtu.be/V03h4iiiUE0

SARAH DURHAM WILSON: CONVERSATIONS WITH MY COVEN

With The Coven Conversations, Sarah Durham Wilson wants to help women heal themselves – so they can heal the world. She shares her vision for a women’s circle with serious purpose…

“Most women I know are Priestesses and healers…We are, all of us, sisters of a mysterious order.” – Marianne Williamson

Do It Girl founder and former music journalist Sarah Durham Wilson has chosen this killer quote to preface the intention of The Coven Conversations, a series of 13 live interviews with the women she calls “Coven.”

On a mission to help women heal themselves, so they in turn can help to heal the world, Sarah has hand-selected a tribe of 24 miracle-making modern mystics to take part in the series, which will take place Tuesday nights – launching 7/7.

“Sharing our stories as women is what helps us heal, and I wanted to spotlight the sisters who have held and inspired me on my path, and who have also undergone transformation – change of form – to become their true selves,” she says.

As for the title; “the word Coven means Gathering of Witches, while “witch” simply means healer, or wise woman. In fact, Covens were once banned because the power of women circling together with common intentions proved too powerful.”

Which we think you’ll agree, pretty much sets the scene for some serious bad-assery…

Available to subscribers via Sarah’s site, you can sign up and find out more about the series and the speakers at www.doitgirl.com – while below, Sarah shares how to stage a Coven conversation of your own…

What’s the ideal moon phase for a powow with your Coven?
I tend to believe Full Moons are the best times to convene in coven. They’re a time of deep celebration, honoring, illumination, and fullness. Conversely, I’ve found New Moon Ceremonies call in our shadow to be seen, which is super important of course, just not for the novice priestess. But then I’ve always learned the hard way…

How do you prep the space?
Well the Coven Conversations are virtual, but if we were in physical coven, we’d prepare the space like we would for a moon circle – which it is, women gathering with healing intention, holding space for the self, the other, and the Goddess. For me, ritual is all about intention. You can prep everything “perfectly” and by the book, but if your intention isn’t there, it won’t be imparted to your Self/the Divine. So you could actually do nothing “physical”, but set the intention of sacred space and healing, and you’d be doing it perfectly.

Still, saging yourself and the area where you’re enacting ritual is always good to clear the energy. Lighting candles, because Spirit loves light, is a beautiful invitation, while calling in the elements (North/Earth, East/Air, South/Fire, West/Water, Spirit/Self), and even casting a circle, all aid in creating space for the ritual.

We would begin by breathing, to bring us into our body, before saying an incantation to the Goddess/God, or Spirit, to bring us into our divinity and to bring Her into the space. When you’re holding a party for the most elegant guest in the Cosmos, it’s about setting a place at the table for the Goddess and simply inviting her in.

What’s on the menu?
I’ve learned not to imbibe in “spirits” before a spiritual ritual! But afterward, women like to pass wine or sparkling juice, and bless chocolate and break it together. Eating the chocolate is like taking in that blessing into the body. The Goddess also loves a celebration. Joy is her perfume and she douses herself in it generously. As the Hopi Prophecy says, “the time of the lone wolf is over, gather yourselves.” And I believe this means all rituals now should be enacted in a manner of celebration.

Any herbal enhancements?
Incense. I like Cedar these days, because it smells like my family’s cabin on Martha’s Vineyard, and currently based in Taos, New Mexico, I feel so far away.

Are men ever allowed?
While every woman and man needs to heal their feminine energy and bring it forth on the planet, presently, I am focussed on working with women. We’re healing the body of the feminine to heal the body of the earth – and when sharing stories of the feminine in sacred circles, women, at this point, tend to feel safer with a female-only audience. But stay tuned!

The most pressing topic of conversation for you and your coven today?
Mary Magdalene teaches: “My story is your story,” and that’s sort of the premise for the Coven Conversations. That beneath the character names and places and timing of events, we share similar stories of shame, exilement, self abandonment, fear, healing, and love. The purpose of sharing your story is that it not only heals you, but those who hear it. This communion, of coming into union with your sisters and recognizing yourself in their stories, brings us into wholeness, and oneness, moves us from isolation into community, and from a feeling of being alone to the understanding that we are all one.

Who’s in your Coven, and what does the word mean to you? Connect with us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and share your stories of sisterhood