A new year is here! And resolutions, for many of us, surround our shape, weight and loathe or love of our blessed self.
That latter club is a rarity though, since it’s much easier for us to dig harshly toward the mirror or the scale, and as our own worst critics.
But there is another and far kinder way to live.
I grew up in a warm household, with a Jewish mother (“Eat, eat, eat!”) and an Irish father. He taught me that frank talk, humor and a sage wisdom surrounding authenticity would carry us through a lot. In our humble abode, I learned another thing from both my parents that’s absent in droves today.
It’s called, “gratitude.”
The daring and dashing painter, Salvador Dali, said, “The Connoisseur does not drink wine but tastes its secrets.”
And as a certified wine connoisseur (a fussy term which I affectionately think of as nothing more than a charming person who drinks really well) I will reveal that to authentic “lovers of vino,” the act of gulping grape is indeed a sacred one. It’s not about getting drunk, or gulping some swirl that “goes down nicely enough” but about an experience, celebration and the awakening of all senses—in an instant.
Whether we drink wine or not, however, we are gifted an opportunity each day to “break bread,” to sit and breathe, witness, smell, taste and share the ambrosial delicacies of what our daily meal (no matter how humble or simple) truly embodies.
If we waste that, it’s a reflection of us, and our attitude toward nourishing our self and our self-worth. Then, our pain and fear begins to violently spiral downward, and to dictate that we criticize ourselves and others. We become quite bitter creatures, and unrecognizable to our true souls.
Instead? There is an easy remedy!
No matter where someone has hailed from and regardless of what they’ve survived, there is a skill-set or trait that is not impossible to learn, so long as one is willing to venture forth toward soul growth—that, of course, is “gratitude.”
Yes, the “secrets” that the avant-garde painter Dali referenced, when speaking so astutely about the “connoisseur,” are encapsulated in the mystique of somebody doing the simplest, yet rarest task of acknowledging just what is important within a humble glass of vino, a meal, and even another person, endeavor, or great trek around our globe.
The “secrets” overlooked in everyday eating, living and breathing answer the riddle as to how to love our bodies and our time on this precious earth. Indeed, just the mere act of finding what is special reminds us to seek it out and cherish it.
Sure, many experiences are exciting and golden but only because we, by choice, make them such.
Psychiatrists used to insist that we did not dream in color. They believed we added those colors in when waking. But when given a choice in how we view ourselves, or how we “fill the color in” when it comes to us interpreting our own lives, most of us fail.
We’re stuck—wanting to be 10 pounds lighter, 10 zillion dollars richer, and 10 million miles away from whatever we deem as the worst life ever. Yet that travesty gains power when we foster it and give it strong legs!
Hell, when somebody has lost their own limbs literally, and then been questioned by the media as to how they can find joy in life (all things considered), we witness them, time and again, revealing that it is “easy,” and that their only shock is how the rest of us—who have our appendages—don’t value and appreciate ours every day.
Yes, we get in our own way with this self-imposed and destructive “body hate” dagger that’s aimed at our own jugular (or thighs, hips, belly, arms or whatever we are picking on) and we decide that we’re pretty horrible and unattractive stuff, despite having been created so magnificently. What’s easier still is to compare ourselves to somebody else with stereotypical beauty, and the media doesn’t help this crusade in any way. Nonetheless, we are accountable for allowing ourselves to succumb to somebody else’s standards of what is deemed beautiful, acceptable and magnificent.
But if we start on our plates, literally, and view a meal as a “whole,” instead of a separated, measured, strategically planned, restricted and reluctantly proportionate, we will soon see and accept ourselves as a whole and quite lovingly too.
Instead of singling out carbs, cellulite or thighs, (on us or our plates), or counting beans in whatever way we choose, (since “how we do one thing is how we do everything” as the popular saying goes), we can love the blessing of having food without fear, and give that nourishment and love, without restriction, to all.
When we choose to celebrate our bodies regardless of size on the journey toward our goals, (versus only loving them once having arrived there) we then illuminate the universe with our sensuality, charisma and unswayable self-love!
Yes we must wear the dress that’s so fabulous, or the bathing suit, or whatever it be! And we mustn’t let anybody, including the little snarky and judgmental voices inside our head, interrupt that authentic and loving crusade.
To compliment and love another outside of ourselves, (not just those whom we don’t feel threatened by), but when we can totally, comfortably and genuinely admire another—and speak that applause—then we are empowering and embodying undeniable “self love.”
When we can start and end each day by naming three things we are grateful for, but also three things that we love about ourselves, and about the people we most admire, and even the ones whom we feel threatened by to some degree, then we find the “secrets” that exist all around us and help us overcome petty issues such as body hate.
To see ourselves fully—our inner skill-set, past navigation (comprised of struggles and joy), our shell that we’re so blessed to dwell in, our brain, our blood, our lessons and our ability to love—when we can see what is on our entire plate, literally and figuratively, we begin to live from a confident, compassionate stance.
It is by seeing life and us as a “whole,” that gratitude is birthed, fostered and grown.
Indeed, it is by “tasting the secrets,” or at minimum, experiencing that delectable first nibble off of our dinner table, that the opportunity to snuggle up with gratitude is presented.
And then, it’s truly up to us to gratefully step up to the plate.
For right in that earth-gifted bounty or moment of time, we are to recognize, without hesitation, the very “secret” that sets us free from that dreaded “body hate,” once and for all.
That being: “Wow is this truly special! And that’s a mighty good thing. Because I’m special too.”
Author: Laurie-Beth Robbins
Image: Author’s Own
Editor: Catherine Monkman