I was gifted with a 'float' (FloatCalm.com - great place, awesome staff) for my 45 birthday. I have avoided the idea of going for a float even though I have heard how much it can open the mind, due to my fear of claustrophobia. But when I was pushed to go by receiving this gift, I realized that this could be a great way of moving past my comfort zone, as a way truly of celebrating my birthday. Go big or go home, right? So today, as the beginning of a weekend of pushing myself past my comfort zone, I went.
I was a little worried about how I would feel, being 'one' with the water and supposedly not being able to feel where my body ends and the water begins. Would I want that alteration of consciousness? I have alterations in consciousness all the time by channelling SAM, but I knew this would be a different experience. I was game for trying.
What I found instead of 'being one with the water' was an awesome surprise of learning to 'be one with myself as the fat chick'. I was expecting to lose my feeling of my heavy body, and then be upset when I came out of the tank to feel all the weight of my excess fat back on. I had this sensation when I was pregnant and doing water aerobics, my baby belly being buoyed by the water and at the end of this hour, walked out of the water and feeling the weight of my belly return. It was a depressing feeling, no matter how much gravity had to do with it. That feeling and memory has stuck with me for 17 years.
However, my float experience didn't disconnect me from my body enough to feel the weight change. What happened instead is I heard my heart beat so clearly (thank you, ear plugs) and my breath, and I became one with my body, every fat inch of it. I realized as I floated, how stupid it was to be caught up in fearing 'the heavy feeling' even if it was what was to occur when I came out of the deprivation tank. My body was a miracle, just in its very nature, regardless of its size. This was the body I have chosen to create, is it not? Every pound of flesh that has been gained has been gained by my choices. It was my choice to do this 'social experiment' of gaining my weight, really delving into the depths of my addictions to sugar/food and seeing where it took me. I CHOSE my body. So why am I not wanting to feel myself in it?
Not sure what happened in that deprivation tank of 90 minutes but I came out loving myself. And a step closer to loving my fat self too. Not only did I as the fat chick float just like everyone else (the miracles of tonnes of epsom salts, don't ya love chemistry) but I became grateful for being alive by this experience, rather than focusing on my physical weight.
Social experiment or not, today reminded me that focusing on my body as something that is approved or unapproved of by society, is a grand distraction. I need to remind myself of my epiphany of health. After a few years of my experience with the weight gain, exploring the different ways I was treated by both men and women, I felt I had learned all that I had needed to learn. "Okay, time to get the fat suit off, I've learned that it's about health and not what weight you are anyway, okay, let's get the weight off now." One of the lessons may very well be health, and of course I knew there were lessons in self-love, but today I realized that I have not truly reached the goal of self love for my body. I may love my body, but I don't love my 'fat body'. If I had, I wouldn't be regretting the potential 'heaviness' feeling I would feel after floating for 1 1/2 hours, would I? I have been tolerating my body, in my efforts to 'get the lesson'. But I have not loved my fat body, just in its very nature for allowing me to be alive playing this game of life, and in acknowledgement of what I have chosen to weigh in this current time frame.
So I suppose this starts now. New territory for me. I had joined Weight Watchers a few months ago and had lost 10 pounds and all of a sudden found myself at a standstill. I realize now, after feeling that 'oneness with my fat chick' that it's because the focus is still about losing weight. The focus has not been about loving myself, or getting healthier, but losing weight because of the societal belief that I am not enough the way I am. It's okay to have gained this weight to learn your lesson that you don't feel as healthy, but to stay this way? Well that surely can't be the lesson!! Can it???
Weight Watchers' motto is even 'beyond the scale', but they are not quite there. The focus is still walking into that room and getting weighed, so no matter how much they focus on other things (and they are WAY better than a decade ago about having a more balanced approach), the subliminal message still is that you are only succeeding if that scale needle is going to go down as you continue to show up there week to week. So is it really beyond the scale?
I hit my plateau of weight loss because I went in to Weight Watchers as an attempt at gaining health, good food recipes, but lost my focus. After I started losing weight and getting rewarded and commended for losing 1 or 2 pounds per week, I let my consciousness shift to become about the weight loss again. Not the health, not the quality of life, but about making sure I would come back next week with another 'goal' reached (whatever that was). The WW Leaders were doing speeches about how our goals need to be more than just about the weight loss per week, but about how we feel, the baby steps of exercise, but I wasn't buying it. And why not? Because everyone sitting in those chairs (95% women) were needing to hear that speech because they were upset that they had only lost .8 lbs that week even though they had 'done everything right'. Too much of the focus was still to pep the women up about looking past the weight loss itself (which is great that they are teaching this now), but the collective itself, were still beaconing off "I am not worthy because I didn't lose my 1-2 pounds this week." Somewhere, this unconscious collective thought process got back in under my skin, even though i didn't think it was. And as as result? I've rebelled, not wanting to sit among the women in that collective, feeling bad about themselves because they had hoped for a 2 pound loss, but the scale said otherwise. I don't want this to be about the weight I lose, or the magic number that is 'my goal'. No matter what is being said by the leaders, the actual weighing and recording it and getting stickers for every 5 pound loss belies all else that is being said. I let myself get soaked back into the lie. (damn it)
How did I kid myself into thinking that this was going to help me achieve my self-love in an extremely overweight body as well as health? I used the wrong resource in attempts to learn the lesson. And as a result, couldn't go farther than a few pounds before my body/mind rebelled.
During the float, I wasn't thinking about any of this. I was enjoying the feeling of being a mermaid, as I felt my hair flow in the water back and forth like seaweed, as I moved my body ever so slightly to see if I could feel the difference between my skin temperature and the water temperature. My float was not about attempting to achieve an out-of -body experience. Ironically, my float gave me the in-of-body experience that I have been avoiding since I was fat. SAM says I 'grounded into my body' today. For the first time since being 60-100 pounds overweight.
So it seems my explorations with being fat are NOT over. If this is the first time I've really grounded into my body since gaining all of this weight, then I have really not loved 'the fat chick'. Toleration is a far cry from loving oneself. So okay then, it appears that exploring the world from the perspective of this heavy-weight body is yet to be done. I guess I will be experiencing the plane ride to California this month wishing my hips were smaller because the width of the seat is too small. I suppose walking around all day at Disney in an overweight body is going to be more cumbersome than if I had lost the 20 pounds i had hoped to lose by the time my trip rolled around. Seems my Essence has a different plan. My inability to love myself as fat, means I will be 'fat' for longer. I will have to prepare for Disney family pictures with my double chin. I have clearly NOT gotten the lesson. I was only willing to love myself if I would lose the weight, with the lesson having been 'health'. I really didn't get it.
Here's to learning the true lesson, the depth about self-love, even when others see you as unlovable and unacceptable due to your size. What a grand journey to have to find a true love for yourself anyway, in spite of the brainwashing in society. I thought I was there months ago, in understanding, but my float today showed me clearly I am not. I am yet still a work-in-progress on this theme.
I will definitely be getting my bigger, cellulite booty back in that float tank though. If this step towards appreciation for my fat body could come out of 90 minutes, what could come out of a bi-monthly float? This gal is about to find out.
Happy floating peeps, I highly recommend it. And happy loving yourselves too. I hope that any and all that are reading this are truly happy with their bodies and can truly say they love themselves in their bodies, regardless of their flaws. I look forward to that divine experience of self-acceptance myself.
Not. There. Yet.
to be continued....