creative joy, 2012, trust your vision

One of the things that happens when we feel bad about our bodies is that we don’t let ourselves enjoy life.

It’s as though, suddenly, a physical flaw renders us worthless, and we truly believe that we need to punish ourselves. We need to deprive ourselves of joy.

Then we’ll understand the seriousness of the situation.

Then, we’ll definitely do what we need to in order to lose weight or get more muscular or change ourselves in some other way.

But, as I’ve written throughout the years on Weightless, joy, play and calm do not show up after you’ve lost X amount of pounds, after your waist has gotten smaller, after you’ve stopped eating dessert for a week.

And, if you do get a glimpse of them, they usually vanish, and new worries appear: How do I maintain this weight loss? I’m so hungry. I need to go to the gym every day or I’ll gain weight, right? I need to have X number of calories, and no more.  

Instead, consider taking the focus away from punishment, shoulds and deprivation, and place it on fun and enjoyment and relaxation.

In her book The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativityauthor Julia Cameron includes an exercise “to excavate our own pasts for the shards of buried dreams and delights.” While answering these prompts, she suggests being “fast and frivolous.”

I think this is a powerful exercise, not just in breaking through creative blocks, but in building a more joyful life, independent of our looks or the number on the scale or the dessert we devoured or didn’t.

So forget how much weight you want to lose, or what you want to look like.

Focus away from your negative thoughts (let them pass like clouds; tell them to take a break or take a hike). And answer these prompts in your journal. (Remember, answer them quickly, jotting down whatever pops into your mind.)

  1. “List five hobbies that sound fun.
  2. List five classes that sound fun.
  3. List five things you personally would never do that sound fun.
  4. List five skills that would be fun to have.
  5. List five things you used to enjoy doing.
  6. List five silly things you would like to try once.”

After you’ve listed your responses, the next fun part is figuring out which hobby, class, skill or silly activity you’d like to try this weekend.

Your life starts this second, regardless of how much you weigh or what you look like or how you feel about your body.

(Ideally, you feel comfortable in your own skin and accept and appreciate yourself. But if you’re not there yet, that’s OK. Remember, you can let nourishing actions lead the way, and your mind can catch up.)

Embrace that, and embark on a few adventures.

Giveaway: Don’t forget that Mara is generously giving away one spot in her powerful e-course, “Born to Celebrate.” You can enter the giveaway here!