As I've grown older and going through the changes as a post-menopausal woman, I can't say that I have escaped body image issues through my years or that I was that artful at not passing this on as a young Mum. I'm sad about this. Yet it's so common. Even with the best of intentions, somehow our children absorb it, if not from the overculture around us. It's almost like the curse of our culture.
Well I am surrendering to this process of aging. I've just had to surrender... and just let these unloving judgements be completely dismantled. It’s a choiceless choice ... the body just ... is aging ... and it is still beautiful. I am learning to accept the rolls and bubbles, even laugh about it - and love the lusciousness of more curves.
I think this is not just an issue for women, but also for men. I see some men also feeling deflated as they reach their mid-years - about their sexual performance, about their stamina and looks.
In her ground breaking book 'Women who run with the Wolves', Clarissa Pinkola Estes says -
"There is no "supposed to be" in bodies. The question is not size of shape or years of age, or even having two of everything, for some do not. But the wild issue is, does this body feel, does it have right connection to pleasure, to heart, to soul, to the wild? Does it have happiness, joy? Can it in its own way move, dance, jiggle, sway, thrust? Nothing else matters."
When we view the body from the outside we are only ever caught up with how it looks. When we enter the internal world of this incredible luscious vehicle that our feminine soul has incarnated into, then oh my god - how exquisite, how delicate, how sensual, how fricking awesome!
These days, I feel good on the inside. I know more of who I am - I encourage myself to trust the deeper messages from within - I appreciate the perfect functioning of my body more and more every day. I am loving me more by making choices that support my heart and joy.
Years and years of Slow Conscious lovemaking and bringing awareness into daily life as much as I can, has changed me on the inside, bit by bit, little by little.
Taking time to slow down, to relax more in your body, you begin to access a deeper peace beyond the critical mind. It's when we discover that love exists within, not outside of us. When you turn your awareness inward, and discover how to enter a layer deeper inside, you become more appreciative of this amazing body and delight in following the impulse of your body's instinctive movement, even in every day life. When you feel yourself from the inside, things change.
When we start to take the time to give value to the subtle within, pleasure naturally rises and love is the by-product.
THIS is a game changer - to feel yourself from within - this place where it makes NO DIFFERENCE what size or shape your body is. THIS is pure joy - THIS is pure delight. There’s a whole universe in there waiting to be explored, felt, touched – one that transforms you from the inside – effortlessly.
Now that’s healthy for every woman. And man. Once you have understood how to access that, with or without a lover, that memory is in your cells. It never leaves you. You just close your eyes and go in and there it is, again and again.
Well it's easy to talk about this stuff and maybe I can hear you say - 'Yeh I know I know. Later I'll do that.' This is the one big mistake that we all make - leave it for later.
Later never comes because it is always in the future - now is the only moment there is - and this moment is brimming with choice. So let's do whatever we can to support each other to not fall into the pit of self-hatred and shame. And LOVE whatever is showing up and let's just be grateful we have a body to exist in - it's really pretty amazing!
Have YOU been too hard on yourself, self critical and judgmental about your beautiful body? Do you need a little help to flick that switch and give your woman's body some loving self care?
Womantime Retreat is almost here - it's time.
P.S Your body is not broken. Menopause is a gateway, a privilege, a time to embrace change with grace and step into a life that is empowered, loving and alive. This is your birthright as a woman. You have been waiting for this all your life... Buy my book Tantric Sex and Menopause on Amazon AUS, Amazon US & Amazon UK.
Time to slow down, to nurture, to listen, to replenish your heart, body and spirit. We look forward to seeing you there. Call Janet on 0428 726 849 if you'd like to chat about it.
If you need support in your relationship, Janet is available for private mentoring. Apply here.
Janet holds transformational workshops and retreats for women and couples and is co-author of the upcoming book, Tantric Sex and Menopause with Diana Richardson.
An abridged version of this article was published in the April 2017 edition of Holistic Bliss Magazine.