Today as I was getting ready for my day, I considered the "fight" with my belly. Let's start with some history. Most of my life I have been very disciplined about working out. Until peri-menopause I had overly sufficient yang energy (the very active energy that helps us create physical movement). Thus, it was a natural inclination to have a physical routine of some kind. When peri-menopause arrived in my later forties, and my inner system began its roller coaster of change, not feeling well enough to work out consistently was a disappointing and often frustrating change. Thankfully, my body regained a new equilibrium in which I have consciously regenerated an active routine that suits my energy level at this point. The need to remain sensitive to the energy I have each day for physical activity remains vital to having what I would consider a "good" day. My body seems to have made its passage through the extreme changes and produced a softer, looser version of itself. And my belly has become quite sensitive to exercise and consumption. It is attempting to keep me on the straight and narrow, literally.
My musing this morning was my consistent attention to my belly and how comfortable I am there in my body each day (or not). As my mind and heart considered this daily activity, what popped up was, "Oh - this is a metaphor for this stage of life. No wonder the wisdom of the body has created hormones and chemicals to bring our attention there." My deep inner knowing illuminated my day!
So what does this mean? The belly is the seat of our action. When we are in touch with our belly energy, it helps us respond well from our gut instinct. Immense wisdom resides there. Our fine attunement to "spirit" vibrates at the solar plexus, just above the belly. The energy of our relationships that connects us to life vibrates deeper, just below the belly in the pelvis. Thus - the belly wisdom. If we would willingly tune in to this place of our being, we would eventually learn to read the wisdom that the belly is consistently sharing.
I recall when I apprenticed as a Tai Chi instructor. During the early period of my learning, as my teacher helped me tune into my belly, I became aware of how "tight" that area of my body was. It literally took years of practice to learn to let go and relax into my belly. All the messages of having a flat belly that women (and men) receive through the culture, as well as the indirect messages of not having affirmed what I was instinctually reading from my belly, caused me to close off to my belly wisdom. Today, I choose a softer belly, a relaxed connection to that vital place in my body that helps me navigate my life happily, as well as serving as a tuning fork when I work with clients and connect to the energy of my surroundings. Thank you belly.
Perhaps if you are struggling with your belly and what is happening there, this is an avenue to consider. I offer some questions to play with: * How are you closed down to the wisdom of your belly? * How are you attempting to control its size versus honoring it's calling? * How might we, as a culture, let go of the need for flat belly, and instead embrace soft, gentle belly that offers essential knowledge about how to direct our lives, when we discover how to read its wisdom? * How might we end the fight with our bellies, and instead offer gratitude each day for the miraculous innate intelligence of the human body? * What change might you make today in the direction of creating a closer connection to your belly wisdom? * What new change might you add tomorrow, and then the next day, and continuously, until you have a deep and full understanding of how your belly is speaking to you?
Mid-life is the natural time when we are inclined to re view our life actions and make peace with them. Perhaps our physical body is naturally calling us to attend to the belly, where the history of our actions resides energetically, where, when we get quiet enough to hear it, lies the wisdom to make peace in all the ways our being is calling to us to. No wonder our bellies keep wanting our attention. Today, I lay down the gauntlet.