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June 1, 2014

Today I Declare: I Can Finally Love My Belly. ~ Heather Day

Photo: Jure Gasparič/Pixoto

Apparently for a brief time, I was pregnant.

Not biologically (Mom, you can breathe now), but in the rumor mill of the tiny commune I live in here in Costa Rica. A girlfriend yesterday informed me that there was speculation:

From whom?

How far along?

And why hadnt I said anything?

All because I gained a few pounds. And apparently, everyone noticed.

Granted, I live in the jungle, spend a lot of time on the beach, and teach yoga, so there isn’t a whole lot of opportunity for hiding what’s up with body.

But I didn’t realize so many people were paying attention.

My reactions went like this:

Hysterical laughter and bewilderment.

Acknowledgement: yup, its true. My boobs are bigger. But Im kind of enjoying that

A quick run-through of what else might be going on in my life that I dont know about, but everyone else has noticed.

People noticed I gained weight. Shit.

I’ve long struggled with body love. Especially belly love. My early 20s were fraught with eating issues, over-exercise, and a general hatred of the body I thought would never bend to my will. Time, and an unfolding yoga practice that slowly eased me back into my heart center, helped me to heal my relationship with food.

But my belly, well, we’ve still had a love/hate relationship depending on how my abs are looking.

Maybe it’s because I’m almost 30. Maybe it’s because living in the jungle has radically changed how I eat. Whatever the reason, these days the edges and lines of my usually-super-trim body are looking a little more…soft. Things are shifting, and my body feels more…juicy.

More feminine. Can I say that?

This morning I gave myself a good look in the mirror, naked after a shower. My usual critical eye settled on my belly. And a sudden shift hit me:

My body’s beauty has zero to do with my abs, or my thighs or my freckles.

Living MY heart centered life requires that I do the work for what I love.

This vessel—whatever curvy or angular or lumpy form it takes—is all about giving me the space to feel juicy. Alive.

Full-to-overflowing with love.

And how am I supposed to do that—to embody all of that—if I’m depriving myself of the physical softness and fullness that comes along with it, in favor of tight abs and a perky ass? How am I supposed to flow if I’m constantly in the pursuit of rigidity?

The Greek goddesses are always depicted as voluptuous, supple with soft bellies and round breasts. They exude brightness, sensuality, a willingness and joy at dancing with all of life’s mystery. You can bet they had more fulfilling things on their minds than their next CrossFit workout.

Like love, compassion, bliss, creativity.

So today I declare: I can finally love my belly.

And nope. I’m not pregnant. Sorry.

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Apprentice Editor: Marcee Murray King / Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Jure Gasparič/Pixoto

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Heather Day