On the wall of the studio where I taught my first Nia classes hung a small print that read:
Come home to yourself.
Home: a place where you are accepted and loved for who you are. A place where you can relax. I’m sure that was the artist’s intent.
But every time I looked at it, I thought, what if home isn’t a relaxed place where you can be yourself? What if there is tension at home? Struggle? What if there is anger, resentment, criticism, bullying or even violence at home? What then? Then where do you go?
In a scene from Beyoncé’s visual album, Lemonade, a circle of women move (are they dancing or writhing?). They wear white dresses with long sleeves that extend far past their hands. Their sleeves are tied together.
Poetry is tied to the music and images:
“I tried to change, closed my mouth more.
Tried to be soft, prettier, less …awake.”
Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live. — Jim Rohn
If your body is your house, it’s a rental.
A rental that you didn’t choose.
And you can’t move. It’s the only rental you’ll ever have.
There is no landlord to fix things up if you go on a rampage and break the windows and tear down the walls. There is no cleaning crew that will come in if you neglect the place for decades and fill it with hoarded up bacon and chocolate bars.
It’s up to you to do your best and take care of this place you’ve landed but even that can go too far. You can obsess about how clean it is or what kind of paint you put on it. You can decorate it with expensive boots and dangly bangles but that doesn’t make it a healthier happier place to live.
Some people will judge you by the house you live in. And while it may be an important place, it isn’t who you are.
As Nutritionist Michelle Allison says,
…your body is the space within which you exist. It’s the material assertion that you have the right to exist in this world, that you have a place in it. It’s the concept of ‘home’ — not a house, a thing to be remodeled at whim, bought and sold — but a cherished, adored, childhood home comprising memories both sad and sweet.
The physical structure needs care, of course, but it is the feeling of home that matters the most.
Two years ago, I created the routine Brave, focusing on body love and gratitude. Your body. As it is. Right now. Loving and valuing everything it allows you to do. As I said at the time (you can read my original post about it here), I’ve been working on this routine since I was 14.
And my work on it is evolving. While I appreciate what I’ve done so far on the Brave routine, already I want to change the name… and the approach.
The word Brave feels girded and armored. Brave feels tight, like an inhale with no exhale. Brave feels tough and defiant.
If I were to name it again, I’d call it Home ~ a place where you feel at ease, relaxed and secure.
We are given these “houses” to live our days in and my invitation as we return to this routine is to create a home in your own bones. Imagine yourself as an 8-year-old getting off the school bus to go home. Is she walking into a place of kindness or criticism? Can he relax there or is he not allowed to eat a cookie while sitting on the couch? Is it a place where she feels loved and important or ignored and annoying?
Take care of the structure, absolutely. Care for your body-house in a way that honors all that it allows you do to and feel and be. But more than that, create a feeling of welcome and ease in that place. Create a home. Pay (at least) as much attention to the thoughts and foods and activities and relationships you allow into your body-home as you would choosing the art or dishes or carpeting for your house.
Consciously create the home that you want inside yourself, the kind of environment you want to live in. You can’t choose the structure, but you can choose what it feels like within that structure.
Make the space inside your skin a home that you love to be in. Make it yours. Make it a place that you would run into from the bus.
If we’re gonna heal, let it be glorious. ~ Beyoncé, Lemonade