Photos by Jobi Otso.
Love, in its natural form, is effortless.
The body is everything and nothing.
A vessel for experience, a way to be present.
I can choose to be here, in my body.
What would it take for me to love myself unconditionally?
To accept and embrace all the ways that my body feels and moves... to allow sensation, not to hide from any one feeling.
Not questioning or doubting my body, not despising it in any way.
Expressing myself. Allowing the natural processes and rhythms of the body.
Finding a state of peaceful awareness in my yoga practice, and in my life.
Adopting this loving quality not only on the days when I feel energetic and bright, but also when I feel depleted or uncomfortable.
When I see myself in the mirror for the first time in the morning, saying how incredible, this body instead of picking out flaws. When I am trying on clothes and feeling bloated and judgmental, considering that I am not my thoughts and also that I will not be remembered for my outfits.
Releasing the tendency to shame my body.
Healing pain at its root cause, instead of seeking a method for numbing.
Choosing, also, to enjoy my body. To indulge every sense, and to linger in the experiences of bliss. Embracing my sexuality, my vulnerability, my very humanity.
Anyone can tell me I am beautiful. Anyone can say, I admire you. You are lovely.
What matters is that at the end of a long day I can stand in front of the mirror and say, I am beautiful and feel that resonate, from the crown of my head all the way down to the soles of my feet. I love myself.
Placing my hands over my belly, feeling my own strength. Breathing all the way into the solar plexus, deep into the core, even down into the root chakra.
Noticing the balance of muscle tone with softness throughout my body. Curvaceous hips, soft skin, a receptive quality. Embracing my identity as a woman.
Expressing my identity. Showing my most naked, vulnerable, true self -- the authentic me.
It is both terrifying and exhilarating to be present in this way.
To exist in my most natural state, which is love.
An uncomplicated, unconditional love.
As powerful as the vigorous current of the river, as solid and unchanging as the boulders in the creek bed.
I have been given this one wild and precious life.
I choose to live it, awake and alive, in this beautiful body.
Note: This post is the start of a series about body awareness and acceptance. As someone who has struggled to love and accept my body, I'm choosing to write about this topic as a way to understand my own experience, to love myself unconditionally, and to inspire love in others.