For some, the onset of summer means the frustrating experience of trying on last year’s swimsuit…or possibly worse, the experience of shopping for a new one. Gazing into the mirror we may judge ourselves for becoming still less recognizable as the physical person we once were.
Our physical bodies are always changing, and not always in ways we like. But acceptance and loving ourselves can do a lot to help us transcend any feelings of inadequacy which arise as we study our changing physical self in the mirror.
Beyond choosing to honor your body by practicing healthy eating, regular rest and exercise, a positive respectful mental focus is an important ingredient for well-being.
Relax and enjoy this simple meditation if you choose:
Sit quietly for a moment and as you focus on your breath, begin to notice the simple pattern of breathing in and breathing out, breathing in and breathing out. Now, reverse this in your mind–you are breathing out and breathing in: out, now in. Notice how thinking differently about the flow of your breath changes the feeling of breathing.
Allow your breathing to calm your body and become mindful of the gift of oxygen that is everything to your body. Increase your awareness of how breathing happens automatically throughout your life.
Imagine how oxygen travels through your body and mentally flow inward with the air until it reaches your toes. With gratitude, think of all the places your feet have carried you. Imagine for a moment what it would look like if you could see your footsteps trailing behind you for a lifetime. Pause to reflect on the way learning to walk happened almost on a reflex level.
Now follow a breath into your heart. Stay here a bit and allow warm feelings of love to radiate out. Feel gratitude for the love. Think of all those you have touched and who have touched you. Speak softly to yourself and thank your heart for the connection to others. Express love for yourself in this safe, private conversation where you are free to feel and acknowledge the gift of your life and the magnificent intelligence of your body.
Follow a breath into your hands. Image your hands growing warmer and warmer with vital energy radiating from your heart. Raise your hands to your head and face and lightly massage the energy from your hands into your brow, your cheeks, your face. Softly speak to yourself, “I love you. I love you just as you are and I honor the great beauty in the miracle of life that is me.”
If tears come, allow them. If joy prevails, revel in it.
Allow your system to calm and relax; bring yourself to a point of balance, a place of peace, and allow feelings of love to fill the moment.
When you are ready, return your thoughts to your physical location. Carry the warm feelings of vital energy and love for yourself, just as you are, with you throughout the day.