I talk a lot about the significant role diet plays in not only physical health, but mental, emotional, and even spiritual health. However, I don't talk often about the affects in reverse. How much of our mental, emotional, and spiritual health effects the physical. I have witnessed and experienced the fact that even the best diet will do little if the mind, heart, or the soul are ill.
I get the opportunity to work with individuals one-on-one to improve their health, talk about goals, and their struggles. In those moments, insecurities are brought to the surface, shame rears it's head - either because it's hard to ask for help or because they fear they won't ever change. Real, raw emotions are sometimes shared...and it is beautiful. It is healing.
"If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding shame can't survive...You are imperfect, you are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging" (Brene Brown).
I recently had the opportunity to be on the other side. I got to share my story, feel vulnerable, and insecure. And it was beautiful. My friend Lainee Biehl invited me to be part of a project. Project Raw. No posing, nothing special. There was only one rule: you had to be real and raw. I said yes for a few reasons, but mostly because I have learned that even though vulnerability can feel scary, it's beautiful.
"Vulnerability is about showing up and being seen. It's tough to do that when you're terrified of what people might think or see." (Brene Brown...again).
Here's what happened....
My naturally curly hair used to fall in large chunky ringlets, but my curls were sacrificed to the range of hormones during each of my four pregancies. Now they fall in unruly waves that either look like mermaid hair on a good day or an 80's perm on a bad day. It was raining as I went to the studio for my Raw photo shoot. There was nothing more raw and real than my hair that day, but I didn't mind. I had already decided that this experience wouldn't be about how good I could get myself put together (I'd been doing that for a long time). I wanted this experience to be more about letting go, being seen, and experiencing myself.
I sat on a stool in front of a black background and started feeling, talking, and letting go.
Kintsukuroi: "to repair with gold"; the art of repairing pottery with gold or silver and understanding that the piece is more beautiful for having been broken.
"Not only is there no attempt to hide the damage, but the repair is literally illuminated. ...the viscisitudes of existance over time, to which all humans are susceptible, could not be clearer than in the breaks, the knocks, and the shatterings..."(Christy Bartlett)
And there was my moment. I was able to see all the brokenness and shattered pieces, and then in the same moment see the precious gold illuminating the imperfect.
We all have breaks, knocks, and shattered pieces. Sometimes we cause the damage ourselves, sometimes it's caused by others, and always there's the unfortunate wear and tear of earth life. The broken reveals our humanness, but it is so much more valuable. When we open ourselves up to accepting all the cracks, then we also open ourselves up to being mended. God is the artist who made our fagile lives, just like a piece of carefully crafted pottery. If all we can do is hand Him our imperfect vessel, He can fill in the cracks and repair the shattered pieces with gold.
The repair can't be made with faulty material though - distractions, superficial things, numbing agents that come from food and addictions. It can't be accomplished without the right material and the right skill. The Master's skill.
The remarkable thing is that the damage, the imperfections are still there. Only now illuminated and made beautiful, unique, and whole again. Just like the body needs to be cleansed from toxins regularly, we also need to keep our spiritual, mental, and emotional self clear of toxic beliefs, perceptions, and attitudes. This experience was like a spiritual and emotional cleanse. Whether or not you consider yourself spiritual or not, consider this...
"To be spiritually minded is to view and evaluate our experiences in terms of the enlarged perspective of eternity" (Dallin H. Oaks)
Spend some time doing a spiritual, emotional, and mental cleanse along with detoxing the physical body. It is beautiful. And so are you.