Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The "Magic" of the Holidays

(image taken from http://www.layoutsparks.com/1/187496/winter-wonderland-christmas-tree.html)

When I was in college I went through a phase with my body where I had what you'd call a bit of 'magical' thinking. It wasn't that I was totally off my rocker, but I wanted to be able to eat whatever I wanted (a.k.a junk food) and not have there be any consequences. I was curious how much of my weight I could control with my thoughts, and not the physical consequences of the food. If I loved myself enough and sent loving thoughts to what I ate, would that transform it?

I've often heard my clients say how unfair it is that some people seem to be able to eat whatever they want, while instead they toil and experience weight gain, discomfort. I felt the same way. I wanted my body to magically be able to take in whatever I was giving it and just 'be' the weight I wanted it to.

The holidays too are a time that bring up the childlike longing for magic, for things to just turn out the way we want them to. Wasn't it nice as children to make list of the gifts we wanted and see them appear under the tree or on one night of Hanukkah? As we get older we realize that we are the creators of the magic, the buyers and wrappers of the gifts that somehow 'appeared.' We bake the fruitcake and make the holiday dinners. We begin to realize that that the magic is also created by us. It's much like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz pulling aside the curtain to realize that the being she had put on such a pedestal was just a human being not so different from her.

It's a sobering realization, but also an important one when it comes to how we view our bodies. We need to find the right balance between the 'magic' that our love and consciousness can create and the very concrete ways that we can love and care for ourselves, take responsibility for our health, in the physical world. Love does heal all; but that doesn't give us the excuse to behave irresponsibly. We need to find the ways that love can come through our actions, and encourage us to create the body and the world we most dream of.

A client recently observed that when she was younger there was a feeling of seeing what she could 'get' from her body--just as we greedily make our lists for Santa and rummage under the tree. As she gets older, she realizes it's also about what she can give to her body, humbly and with gratitude, for all it does for her. It's a different way of living in our lives, to become the adults who can give as well as take, who can responsibly create the magic as well as revel in it.

This year, as the holiday comes to a close, see if you can find the balance, embrace the way of living that lets you be both a child and a kind and loving parent to yourself and your body. Watch for the part of you that wants your body to just 'take it'--whatever junk you have to throw at it--and still show up healthy and alive. And also watch for the part of you that's willing to do the work with your body of creating what feels better and makes you healthier. How do you embrace the magic and consciously and responsibly create it, all at the same time?

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