creative joy, 2012, yellow flower

Every Monday features a tip, activity, inspiring quote or some other tidbit that helps boost your body image, whether directly or indirectly — and hopefully kick-starts the week on a positive note!

Got a tip for improving body image? Email me at mtartakovsky at gmail dot com, and I’ll be happy to feature it. I’d love to hear from you!

According to Jeffrey Brantley, MD, and Wendy Millstine, NC, in their book, Five Good Minutes in Your Body: 100 Mindful Practices to Help You Accept Yourself & Feel At Home in Your Body, many of us experience our bodies in mainly physical ways. For instance, we might focus on the physical traits we like or dislike.

Amid a slew of thin-is-in media messages, we begin to exclusively view our bodies as things to adorn, as things to dress up, as things to mold for thinness. As superficial things.

But we can do better, much better. Our relationship with our bodies can be more profound than liking our legs or disliking our bellies.

So often we forget just how amazing and powerful our bodies are — and I don’t mean the function of our bodies. (Though that’s pretty darn amazing!)

I mean something more spiritual, more meaningful, more awe-inspiring.

In their book, Brantley and Millstine suggest trying this meditation to “awaken a more soulful relationship with your body.”

At the center of your being lives your soul. Visualize your soul as a radiant, golden beam of light near your heart or in your belly. This inner light represents all your beauty, strength, resiliency, and other positive qualities. It is your spiritual core. It isn’t troubled by physical shortcomings or limitations. Focus on this light that represents your soul and breathe into it — imagine the light growing in intensity and radiance with each breath in and out. Nothing and no one can touch or take away your sacred light, which connects you to your body.

I love this activity because it reminds us that our bodies are carrying something incredibly precious and important: Our hearts, our souls.

Thinking of our bodies as vessels for something so meaningful and so profound helps to build self-compassion, helps to remind us to take careful care of ourselves.

It helps us view our bodies as more than things to adorn or manipulate or bash. But an amazing vessel to cherish.

Do you have a deeper bond with your body? What does that mean to you? What’s helped you get there?