Embrace

Last summer we took our kids to a waterpark. It was a stinkin’ hot day and we had a blast zipping down slides and cooling off in the wave pool. At one point, my husband and the older kids decided to try a toilet-bowl style ride geared for an older crowd, so my littlest and I stood at the bottom waiting for them to poop out into the basin below.

As we watched the riders happily splash down in front of us, little K pulled on my arm and pointed to a child exiting the water nearby – “Hey mommy, I don’t like that girl” he stated . “Why not?” I asked. I’d never seen her before. “Because she’s fat” he answered matter-of-factly.

I just about fell over backwards! Body image has been the monkey on my back for as long as I can remember, and I’ve worked hard to overcome my own insecurities and to foster an environment of acceptance and kindness within my own family. And goddamn it – no child of mine was going to shame someone because of the shape of their body!

I knelt down and spent the next ten minutes lecturing my son about the beauty in all body shapes and the importance of never, ever judging other people. Trust me, he got an earful. He listened intently, then ran off with his siblings to enjoy another slide. “Crazy kid” I mumbled to myself. I figured he must have picked up that nonsense on television.

Then a few months later I had dinner with a group of girlfriends- all of them brilliant, beautiful women with high-powered careers, incredible families, strong opinions and the passion and means to affect change in the world.

And yet. Our conversations that night kept coming back to the same thing – body image. We shared stories of how weight has impacted our sex lives, and contributed to feeling too physically disgusting to appear naked in front of our spouses – even with the lights off. We talked about caloric intake and the restrictive cleanses we’d endured – all the while feeling sick and deprived. We discussed our boobs (too small, too big, too saggy) and our butts (too big, too small, too saggy) – and we even dissected our individual diets and compared notes about what foods and drinks (or lack thereof) would help us achieve thinner, happier, sexier, less-wrinkly versions of ourselves.

As I laughed and commiserated and chimed in, something struck me: that friggin’ monkey is still clinging stubbornly to my back. Because for all of my lip service about acceptance and self love – a really big part of me still believes that being thin is equated with being better. And the fact that I have droopy post-nursing boobs and a squishy belly – in my own mind, ultimately means that I am losing at womanhood..and at life.

Then I came across a “before and after” photo on social media that changed my whole perspective. Taryn Brumfitt posted side-by-side images of herself posing with a muscular body-builders physique (before) and then with a softer, curvier body (after). It was revolutionary!

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Here was a woman actually showing off her curves, and rolls, and stretch marks. Proudly! Her impish smile belied the fact that she was actually HAPPIER with her less-toned and heavier body. My mind was blown.

I learned that Taryn had gone on a crusade to  uncover “why poor body image has become a global epidemic and what women everywhere can do to have a brighter future.” She turned her findings into a documentary called Embrace “A funny, touching, at times gut wrenching but above all, life changing documentary, the heart of Embrace is Taryn’s story. How she went from a body hater to a body lover. From being devastated by her perceived ugliness to proudly posing nude for the whole world to see.”

I downloaded Embrace as soon as it was released and sobbed my heart out through almost the entire thing. I could relate to so many of the women in the film who shared feelings of inadequacy and failure when discussing their bodies, and I felt inspired to make a change.

So can I do it? Can I move my body in an effort to be strong and healthy without obsessing over the calories I’ve burned, or whether or not I’ll be able to squeeze into my old jeans after a long run? Can I enjoy food without worrying about each and every bite? Can I show my children that I am a confident and fully-actualized woman no matter what size my body is? I honestly don’t know. But I am willing to try. And Embrace is the perfect place to start.

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I am beyond thrilled to be co-hosting a special community screening of the life-changing/perspective-shifting/monkey-on-back-destroying documentary Embrace – right here in Burlington, Ontario.

Please join me and my friends Sue Abell and Joelle Cooling on Thursday, June 1st at 7pm at the Art Gallery of Burlington . Tickets are $10 and are available for purchase by contacting me directly at lori@vaportek.ca, or by emailing Sue at sue@treadpowerfully.com, or by visiting Joelle’s clothing store at 457 Brant Street in downtown Burlington.

Come and enjoy a glass of wine, a bag of popcorn and an opportunity to fully love and embrace your body. Together – we can be part of a movement to create positive global change. Let’s Embrace!

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A Swift Kick in the Butt

“Realize you are on this Earth for a reason and the world needs that special gift that only you have.” Marie Forleo

Have you ever felt like you have a ton of potential inside that you are not able to fully actualize out into the world? Do you dream of being a writer, a pilot, an actor, an inventor, a humanitarian, an entrepreneur, a parent, a farmer, a blogger, a yogi, a chef, a teacher or a marathon runner? Have you ever started meditating, working out, creating a vision board or writing in a gratitude journal and then abruptly abandoned your plan for self-improvement? Do you feel like you are living your life to your highest potential? If you were diagnosed with a terminal illness tomorrow, how would that impact the way you live out the rest of your life? Would you take more chances? Follow a different dream? Rethink your current situation?

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I recently finished reading and re-reading (and re-reading) the amazing book “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield and I have spent a lot of time pondering the questions above and thinking about what stops me from taking the necessary steps to boost my career and my life to the next level. According to Pressfield, “Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.”

Oh yes, Resistance. There were more than a few of these tactics that I could relate to including: procrastination, fear, self-dramatization, self-doubt and rationalization… to name just a few. Pressfield makes a case that every single one of us faces Resistance in some form or another and that it is literally the most toxic force on the planet.

“How many of us have become drunks and drug addicts, developed tumours and neuroses, succumbed to painkillers, gossip and compulsive cell phone use, simply because we don’t do that thing that our hearts, our inner genius, is calling us to do? If tomorrow morning by some stroke of magic, every dazed and benighted soul woke up with the power to take the first step toward pursuing his or her dreams, every shrink in the world would be out of business. Prisons would stand empty. The alcohol and tobacco industries would collapse along with the junk food, cosmetic surgery and infotainment businesses, not to mention the pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and medical professions from top to bottom. Domestic abuse would become extinct, as would addiction, obesity, migraine headaches, road rage and dandruff.” Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

He makes a very strong case for honouring your own personal calling and identifying exactly what is stopping you from answering the call. He then offers up a number of concrete ways to overcome the obstacles in your path. The most exciting thing about this book is that after reading it, I truly felt like I had some solid strategies for combatting my own Resistance and for simply getting down to work.

I honesty cannot say enough good things about this book. It is short, funny and written in an easily digestible style. It starts out with a clear definition of Resistance and all of the manifestations this enemy of creativity may take in our lives. The second half of the book is devoted to clear-cut methods for combatting Resistance like; turning pro, acting in the face of fear, accepting no excuses and asking for help. And the final section looks beyond Resistance to a higher realm of inner genius and inspiration.

If you are looking for a summer read that will make you think, challenge your beliefs and possibly move you one step closer to realizing your true potential – then pick up The War of Art.

“It may help to think of it this way. If you were meant to cure cancer or write a symphony or crack cold fusion and you don’t do it, you not only hurt yourself, even destroy yourself. You hurt your children. You hurt me. You hurt the planet.
Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.”  Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

Sharing Inspiration

One of the coolest things about starting this blog is the connection I’ve made with other bloggers. Although there are quite a few family members and friends who read my posts, the overwhelming majority of followers are fellow writers and bloggers who take the time to check out my site, subscribe to my feed and offer up insightful and kind comments on the things I write. Fortunately for me, I’ve stumbled upon a supportive community of diverse and inspiring people who have most often started their own blogs just for the love of sharing and to honour the creative process.

One such follower is Tricia over at The Do-Gooder Mama. Tricia is a brilliant woman who has put her career in the non-profit sector on hold to raise her 2 young daughters and as she puts it “ just because I am home raising my totally delectable and scrumptious babies and not contributing to the household coffers in the traditional sense, does not mean I have to allow myself to succumb to Mommy Brain Atrophy.  And so, The Do-Gooder Mama, was conceived.” Her site is chock full of ideas that combine her passions for motherhood and charity and quite often I have been inspired to try out her “do-gooder activities” with my own family.

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A huge thank you to Tricia for nominating me for the “Very Inspiring Blogger Award“. I am honoured.  And the award is even sweeter since it came from one of my peers and someone I admire.

The rules for accepting the Very Inspiring Blogger Award are as follows:

  1. Display the Award Certificate on your website.
  2. Announce your win with a post and link to whoever presented you with the award.
  3. Present 15 awards to deserving bloggers.
  4. Drop them a comment to tip them off after you have linked them in the post.
  5. Post 7 interesting things about yourself.

So here we go! 7  Interesting things about me:

1. I get easily addicted to video games and/or apps on my iPhone (have you tried Subway Surfer, Jet Pack Joyride, Whirly Word or Chicktionary?)

2. Although I’m a plant-based foodie, I really don’t enjoy traditional salads all that much.

3. My husband thinks I’m a class-a-holic because I sign up for practically every class/workshop/seminar that I hear about (and he’s right).

4. I love to go dancing and I’m not afraid to be the first one out on the dance floor.

5. A psychic once told me I was a warrior in another life.

6. I really wanted to call my youngest son “Ewan” but my 2 older kids wouldn’t let me because they said it rhymed with “Pooing”

7. I think “Sweet Georgia Browns” at Purdy’s are hands-down the best chocolates on the planet!

15 Deserving Bloggers:

1. The Pollyanna Plan

2. Live Blissful

3. 365 Days of Vegan Food

4. Cuter Than Gluten

5. Honk if You’re Vegan

6. The Imperfect Nutritarian

7. My Plant-Based Family

8. Fueled By Vegetables

9. Life On The Voice Over List

10. 365 Cups of Kindness

11. Blue Sky Vitality

12. Bloom Lisa

13. Laura’s Mess

14. Journey With Julia

15. Better Bites

Thanks again Tricia and thank you to all of my fellow bloggers who inspire me to keep learning, writing and creating every day!