Saturday was glorious and sunny; the whole city is buzzing with infectious olympicness. We spent the afternoon in a rowing boat on the lake, in the middle of Regent’s Park. Followed by a spontaneous ice-cream and a wander through the trees: it has become an annual date for us. And this year was epic.
I wore a sleeveless flowery summer top over jeans. Which is not particularly eventful in and of itself. But how I felt in that outfit, in my body, marks a spasmodic shift in my little cosmos. There was no clothes drama, no anticipated stress at being out in the park on a hot day. I didn’t need to adjust my top or worry about the bulking effect of a layered outfit, I was not concerned with my thighs rubbing together or the shame of eating an ice-cream in public followed by the overwhelming guilt and need to atone. I was a woman in the park on a date with her husband.
The thing is, I have ALWAYS been a woman in the park on a date with her husband. But having let go of the shame and the guilt and the fears and the endless, exhausting obsession with food and weight and the size of my thighs, I was so much more in the park. With all of that other stuff no longer taking up space in my head, I noticed the way the birds chatted to each other, how the geese flew around the lake in great swirling loops, while the gulls sat on posts and yelled ‘MINE!’. I felt the breeze on my skin that smelled of sunscreen and rose perfume. I melted with empathy for the little boy on the lakeside path watching us wide-eyed, who was super-sorry for an earlier indiscretion, the punishment of which involved no boat ride for him. And my ice-cream was full of strawberries and tasted of awesome.
The whole experience was amplified because all of me was all there.
I am in new territory. This body I am inhabiting is now officially the smallest body possessed by adult me. But also, I am now officially, the most me ever. I feel sure that these events are both utterly connected. Turning inward and being mindful, has enabled me to wake myself up. I don’t feel frightened by anything I can feel or remember feeling, I am beyond any feeling. Bigger than. Vaster than. And so there is no reason anymore, to turn to food, shopping, drinking et al, because these experiences keep me from being present.
From being alive in my own life.
‘Wherever you are, be all there’ ~ Jim Elliot