Day 12: Love Belly

Love belly

I talked in my post yesterday about doing scary stuff and how it’s good for me because it helps me to do other scary stuff. I do often push myself to go outside my comfort zone for that reason, so in some ways I’m used to myself doing that, if that makes sense. I sometimes don’t actually even recognize what I’m doing as scary. I have a really high (some may say unreasonably so) standard for what I SHOULD be able to do, and as long as I’m within that “should zone,” I can’t even begin to see myself as courageous.  It’s like, if I did it, it can’t have been that hard, right? 

There gets to be almost like a layer of denial between my thoughts and my feelings about what I am doing. 

Head says: That was obviously no big deal. Even YOU did it. 

Heart says: Wait a minute, hey, that was really hard! And I don’t know how I feel about it! I probably need a hug now!

Head says: Shut up, Heart. You’re wrong. It was too easy. Now go back to the drawing board and figure out something REALLY scary to do.

Heart says: Oh … Okay … … …

But I guess my post yesterday actually was scary enough to make my heart’s needs crack through that force field of repression, and all the challenging stuff I have been doing lately finally caught up with me emotionally. A little while after I posted it, I realized I just wanted to go curl up in my bed and cry. 

It wasn’t like anything bad had happened — I’ve gotten nothing but love back about this blog series. And I’m so grateful! But I think the anxiety and fear and vivid memories of past rejections and hurts that I have been stirring up from the depths of my heart by taking these pictures and sharing these words just got agitated enough so that they had to spill over into my consciousness … and then, apparently, out from my eyeballs. 

And thank God it did, too! Otherwise I might never have realized that I needed to give myself some TLC! I had a good old cry and I held myself in love and appreciation for the fears I’ve faced. And I felt so much better — all clean and shining again. 

I didn’t know what I was going to do for today’s picture until I was at my usual Wednesday night activity, that is, gospel choir practice. I noticed that without thinking about it, I was singing with my hands on my belly; that I was just lightly and tenderly holding it. And then it came to me that I needed to make that love conscious, I needed to let myself be in that self loving space for a little while. It’s certainly been rare enough for me over the course of my life — but this project is about changing that old habit of putting myself down. 

When I started this series, I was afraid to have my face in the pictures. I was like, ok, I’m forcing myself to look at my belly — looking at my face too is just more than I can handle! But as I’ve worked on accepting my belly as it is, by default I’ve also become a smidgen more comfortable with my face as it is. So here’s the full version of the photo above:

Belly with face

And because I know you want to see what awesome art is hanging behind me in the Wesley Fellowship bathroom:

Look how the light bulb makes that amazing crescent moon!

In the words of one of our choir songs:

We let the love wash over us,
We let, we let it be.   

4 thoughts on “Day 12: Love Belly

  1. Dearest Gayan, I am so touched by the tenderness of your experiences. My heart feels so sad at that harsh dialogue between heart and head and yet I know some variation of it has played inside me as well. Crying is so healing when you let the tears flow rather than damming up that energy. Loving all of who we are is such a challenge. I was struck during my mindful motion class on Weds by a couple things the teacher said.  The self talk is as important as the movement and breath. She spoke again about the rhythm of expansion and contraction that happens always, with our breath (and bellies), our hearts (physical and emotional), and our muscles, our lives, feelings. I need to remind myself so often that contraction is not bad, just a natural part of the process. She also said, toward the end, always come back to kindness. I immediately think this applies to treatment of others, then I am surprised to hear her say, accept yourself or welcome yourself back again and again. Oh, kindness to myself, to my body and its limitations and its great gifts. Reminded me of that great Derek Walcott poem “Love after Love.” And I love the picture of your hands on your belly in heart shape and have also been happy when you started showing your beautiful face as well. An immediate example of integration, bringing face and belly into the same place at the same time. Love you, belly, heart, and soul. Joan 

  2. Black Watch! Jason put that same flannel shirt on not ten minutes ago, saying, “I know you like this one,” and I said, “Yes, that’s my favorite tartan!” So I DO find it very much a comforting pattern to go with a picture of comfort. 😉

    • Wow! That’s so awesome re the tartan. I will never think of that shirt the same way again. It’s already quite comforting to me since I got it at Gabe’s in PA when I went off to work at Girl Scout camp for the first time! LOL!

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