I started this email to you in May. I wanted to explain my absence. Especially when I have so much I can support you with.
But then daycare closed again. And again. And our beloved Coffee developed eye ulcers. And it was a time of “when it rains it pours” with house stuff. And then my peri-menopause insomnia returned.
I bet you too feel the exhaustion of “and then”.
In the April reader survey, stress, stress eating, and collective grief were some of the most reported challenges. The last few years have been relentless in personal and collective reckonings.
A common survey response theme:
“I feel uncomfortable in my body and feel ridiculous that I am focused on this when there is so much else that is so much more important to deal with.”
I sooo get this.
I felt this way about my own weight struggles in the 9/11, U.S. invasion of Iraq-era and I was volunteering to get out the vote for the 2004 election. And today’s world issues feel much more urgent and complex.
Yet what I’ve discovered is that tending to our body discomfort is not ridiculous.
It’s the opposite. It is essential. ..with a root-cause resolution approach.
Because this discomfort can move us from ideas about what we value to better embodying those values. And this values gap matters deeply right now.
Let me provide a personal example to explain…
Aside from the acute stress above, I’m also rising from an Underworld-esque Motherhood + Menopause transition (super fun doing both at the same time).
My cells and values rearranged and are rearranging.
My body discomfort was a piling on of attention to this values gap: exhaustion, plantar fasciitis, insomnia, low immunity, peri-menopause symptoms, and 30 pounds of post-pregnancy weight.
This was just the chronic stuff. Let alone having COVID, another mysterious virus, and then….
To the untrained eye, this might be “aging”, “just what happens in peri-menopause” and “diet culture” (because I wanted to lose weight).
But I knew what my body was telling me is what it always tells me when I’m uncomfortable in my body:
Your old life doesn’t fit. You are being called elsewhere. What used to work with your food, body, and life, is changing.
For me, the predominant pain in my life wasn’t food. Rather, I was battling overworking and adjusting my expectations for myself. I kept pushing despite being burned out. And I could no longer overwork as a new Mother. #captainobvious
Yet overworking was my only remaining vice since my own Truce with Food. And, it was the only thing I had control over with a new baby and insufficient childcare.
But that sliver of control changed everything.
I used my own Truce framework to address the gap between knowing what I should do, yet wasn’t. In this case, why couldn’t I slow slow down?
I’m seasoned enough in my relationship with my body to know it has more knowing than I can yet verbalize. And, I especially need to pay attention to being uncomfortable in my body because that means I’m at an important crossroads.
The long and short of it is I had to confront that while I rail against Capitalism and its’ destruction of our health and the Earth, I embodied Hustle Culture’s “always be productive” and “busy” values. So much that I thought they were me, my “type-A personality”.
In reality, I was perpetuating the Capitalistic values I claimed to oppose.
Because these values brought me a successful and meaningful career, financial security, freedom, and recognition.
I had to examine:
Are these values really me?
Or are they what other people told me were important?
Is busyness and always being productive even necessary for the fulfillment I’ve come to expect from my life? In other words, could I have success without burning myself out?
We are all (hopefully) in a time of a great reshuffling of our values.
We all need to get clear on what most deeply matters to us. Because what we’ve been told to value is making us and the planet sick.
Values clarity and honesty requires our body feeling clear and comfortable.
It’s difficult to hear the truth when we are in pain, stress eating, and/or burned out. It’s even more difficult when the culture at large, even the “noble” culture oversimplifies body discomfort as “diet culture” or perhaps worse, “normal”.
For me, I had to get clear on ‘What is enough?” with my finances and Mothering. Because Capitalism orients us towards unfettered growth. This means you can never work, accomplish, or be enough.
I was able to self-author my own “enough success” value for this phase of my life. As someone whose been hustling since I was 12 when I started a babysitting business, this is a massive shift.
I work way less now. I enjoy my life so much more as I don’t always feel behind. In slowing down, I savor what I do have. I’ve uncoupled career and life success. I have the energy and capacity to parent Eça the way I want to and really enjoy him.
Will I make less money? Maybe.
Will I have less opportunities? Maybe.
Less recognition? Maybe.
But what I measure now is different:
Do I have enough money? Yes.
Am I fulfilled? Yes. And I feel more holistically successful in my life, both in my work and non-work success.
Do I trust myself to figure it out if the winds of enoughness change? Yes.
These “metrics” matter more to me because ultimately, that feeling of “enoughness” is what I think we are actually after with more success.
And the side-effect of my new “enough success” definition was being able to tend to my body. I resolved the issues I was having, including a 20 pound weight loss, during the most stressful period of my life.
Today, I feel more alive and comfortable in my body than before becoming a Mother. I just did a personal record (PR) of a 145 pound deadlift and back squat! I’ve never lifted that much weight in my life.
The values of rest and slowness have emerged; I’m learning how rest is its own form of divesting from patriarchy and white supremacy
(Join me in this free call with Jordan Maney from Rest Labs to learn more).
Feeling comfortable in my body means I have more energy, capacity, and insight to contribute to my local community and neighbors, which is a most potent place for social change. I have the motivation to get to and chase Eça around our farmer’s market, which supports local farms and economies.
I’ve deepened my understanding of the complexity of the political issues I care about, including finding more of my own blindspots. I have more capacity to lean into the issues I care about, rather than turn away (and realize you can’t care about it all. Pick your thing and go deep). I volunteer with Vote Forward when Eça naps.
This is one small example of how your body battle and collective change aren’t either/or. It’s both; they are interconnected in so many more rabbit holes than just this example can illustrate.
If you’re uncomfortable in your body, deepening your understanding beyond “it’s just diet culture” and working through your own values gap is part of your work to do.
Because whatever your body struggles, you will be forced to understand capitalism, white supremacy, and patriarchy more deeply. Diet culture, the U.S. medical system, and most of the wellness world (including how body positivity has been commodified), are nesting dolls of these bigger systems.
And these unsustainable, sick systems have set the norms, values, and how we define those values. And they are the root cause of so much of your stress, stress eating, and body issues. Because they don’t support life, let alone holistic health.
As you learn what works for your body, you will better understand how to orient towards life and vitality. Your own values will shift. This freedom will increase your stamina and motivation to dismantle these systems for collective liberation because you can relate to the pain and heartbreak they’ve caused you.
This is how humans work. A great example of this is Shannon Watts, who discussed on Insatiable back in 2017 that how as a parent, leaning into the horror of gun violence after Sandy Hook is what motivated her to start Moms Demand Action to stand up for gun responsibility. Our common humanity is what connects us.
Getting clear on your part requires a clear and comfortable body. It’s usually the obstacle and the path. And lest not we forget, feeling physically strong translates into feeling more courage and resilience, which we will all need from here on out.
I don’t have a simple hack or steps to tie this up neatly. However, my hope is you have a different perspective to consider.
Because we are in a time when the people who are unjustly uncomfortable about and in their bodies need to say “No more.”
Ok, that was a lot.
But I have childcare this week…
(Awkwardly transitioning, unless you’re a Myers-Briggs ENFP)….
On May 22, I crossed 30 years as a cancer survivor. I’m creating a special Insatiable podcast episode to honor and reflect on such a profound milestone in my life.
Do you have any questions you want answered on my 30 years as a cancer survivor? If so, hit reply to this email.
If the daycare Gods and Goddesses agree, the podcast will drop on July 27.
I’ll be in touch to let you know the episode is out.
I appreciate you being here. I’m looking forward to being back in consistent contact.
P.S. If having a values gap driven body discomfort resonates, here’s the Next Step in addressing your values gap.
P.P.S: Are you a practitioner ready to uplevel your practice rooted in the values gap of your clients? All the while expanding your reach without burning out? Join my upcoming SMART Goals: How they Sabotage Eating and Exercise Goals and What Works for Deeper Coaching Impact workshop.
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