Alternatives to Obsession
Future, Our Choice
you have what it takes to practice The Gutsy Women's Workout in a way that fits
into your day and your life. What difference will it make? What difference will
having more vitality, pleasure, confidence, compassion, creativity, intuition,
and sense of purpose make in the everyday details of your life?
vitality means your life force is flowing more fully and freely the definition
of health and healing. With more vitality, you're more receptive to and savvy
about sensual and sexual pleasure. You're all the more equipped to share such
pleasures in intimate relationships with others.
by vitality and pleasure, you have the confidence to be with family, friends,
and co-workers in relationships of mutual respect. Your heart full to overflowing,
you can be patient, generous, and compassionate with them while still attending
to your own well-being.
and compassion enable you to speak up and out, to express what you know to be
true. Expressing your originality, you also draw on your intuition, coming up
with creative ways to solve problems and introduce innovations at home, at work,
and in your community.
exercises had a surprising effect in my life. I found myself feeling more empowered
and more "myself." I began to confidently pursue things that had previously caused
me great anxiety. Opportunities began to arise and gave me the chance to review
what I really wanted. I found that I needed to realign my intention.
the sense of empowerment I received from the exercises, I would still be stuck,
depressed, and lacking focus. Now I am focused, clear about my intention, confident,
and taking action steps to achieve my dreams. Anna
pleasure, confidence, compassion, creativity, intuition, and sense of purpose
all are qualities and capacities that support you in clarifying your heart's
desire and actually living in alignment with your soul's purpose. When you're
living in such alignment, you're not just following your bliss you're living
That's the bonus of living a gutsy life. That's the bonus for honoring your belly
and energizing the soul power concentrated in your body's center. Taking charge
of your pro-creative power, coming home to yourself, puts you at the center of
your world. And rather than being self-absorbed, you're self-fulfilled. The experience
of self-fulfillment allows you to sense your kinship with creation.
I opened my eyes after the Alignment exercise, I found myself looking out through
the picture window and saw the fir tree out there. My fingers were the tree's
fingers. The tree's light green needles at the tips of its branches were like
fingers, like my fingers. Elaine
sense of kinship with creation affirms your intimate connection with the web of
life. You know, in your gut, that what happens to another creature is also happening
to you. It's not just that redwood tree that's being logged for decks on second
homes; it's not just that river that's being trashed by a factory's waste stream;
it's not just that sky that's being clouded by weather-modifying chemicals. It's
your tree, your river, your sky. Their fate is not separate from yours. A question
then arises: What's your responsibility for protecting them?
and activating your hara power doesn't necessarily mean you'll be walking
the picket lines, carrying placards, or camping outside the president's door.
If that's your choice, firing up your hara power will certainly help give
you the guts to do so. But it's not required.
by being who you are setting the example of a self-validating woman living
in alignment with her soul purpose you're being the change this world needs
if we humans are to survive.
are the dimensions of the ecological crisis occurring across this planet? Scientists
predict that we'll make the planet uninhabitable in the foreseeable future. According
to Deep Ecology activist John Seed, the rate of environmental destruction is so
rapid that unless we spark "an unprecedented revolution in consciousness," no
action that we take now can save us. "Nothing but a miracle would be of any use,"
believe that women you, me, all of us can be that miracle. What
do you imagine would happen if women acknowledged the pro-creative power we carry
within our body's center? We would know indisputably, in our guts, that our bodies
are the earth's body. What degrades the earth the goddess Gaia, as the
Greeks named her damages us. What nourishes the earth nurtures us.
we love our bellies, we open to a tender, intimate connection with the planet.
As we allow ourselves to breathe deeply, we notice the quality of the air. As
we allow ourselves to eat in peace, we notice the quality of food and we care
about the soil in which it grows. As we feel our kinship with the trees, we notice
the fate of the forests.
have been sitting in Gaia's lap for a long time. Now it's time for us to hold
her in ours.
we obsess about our body weight and shape, American women bankroll the cosmetic-surgery
and weight-loss industries with more than $40 billion each year. What else could
we do with our $40 billion?
do you imagine would happen if instead of trying to banish our bellies, we directed
our life force and our money to healing the distress within our communities, our
nations, the world? What would happen if instead of trying to shrink our stomachs,
we used the resources we already have to ensure humankind's survival? What do
you imagine would happen if women took charge of our pro-creative power and claimed
it as our own? We would discover that we already possess the courage, confidence,
passion, compassion, creativity, and insight that we need in order to act on behalf
of the earth and all her creatures.
nearly two years, my grandmother had been coming to me in my meditations. I knew
she was bringing a gift for me, but for eighteen months I wouldn't even look at
what she was holding. When I was willing to look at it, I saw that she was holding
a gold ball of energy. After another few months, I took the ball from her and
I brought it into my belly.
that, everything fell into place. A community development foundation asked me
to be its director. I accepted the job once the board agreed to my plan for genuine
grassroots empowerment. Linda
millennia, women have expressed our pro-creative power by bearing and raising
healthy children. Our pro-creative power has always worked through us to ensure
the survival of our lineage, our family, our tribe. The birth-giving capacity
of our bellies has ensured the survival, and evolution, of the human species.
times, our tribe is all of life. Our home encompasses all of earth. Today, women
have the opportunity perhaps the calling to apply our pro-creative
power to preserving life on this planet.
class tonight, as we were doing the moves, I received a picture of how the energy
was moving. It was like a stone dropping into a pond, producing oval ripples that
radiated outward. With each breath, this energy increased, big waves of belly
energy rippling throughout the room, passing on out of the building, on out through
the whole city.
when we were doing the workout again, there was a point when we were all in sync,
and all fully concentrating within. Here again, we were building up this pond
effect. Each breath, each gesture, each woman was producing bigger and bigger
ripples. Who knows? Maybe our belly energy rippled all the way east to the Atlantic,
north to Canada, south to Florida, and west to the Pacific! Tricia
We cultivate and direct our pro-creative power to generate peace, justice, and
ecological sustainability within every realm of human endeavor. Imagine: We bring
our pro-creative power to bear as we establish new ways to feed, shelter, educate,
employ, entertain, inspire, and govern ourselves. We organize new ways to promote
our health, resolve our conflicts, serve each other, protect each other, and preserve
the life of the natural world.
do we start? We start with ourselves. We value and validate ourselves. We celebrate
our body's center as the chalice of our sacred wisdom and spiritual power.
Our Future, Our Choice
Western culture shames women's bellies, and it's a clever tactic. Shame makes
a woman's belly an uncomfortable place to be.
avoid feeling such discomfort, we're tempted to lose touch with the pro-creative
power our bellies shelter, withdrawing our awareness and abandoning our body's
center. If we do so, what's the result? Conveniently for the culture, we barely
notice that our soul power is leaking away. Then we wonder why we feel so empty
inside, gutted, harboring a hole that nothing can fill and a hunger that nothing
women, myself included, have tried to flatten our bellies and hide them from sight.
We hope that by removing the target we'll avoid the shame and the abuse. We try
to comply with the culture's conventions. Like hostages becoming loyal to our
captors, we cooperate with our own oppression.
when we make our bellies rigid, we cut ourselves off from our core energy, our
pro-creative power. We make our body's center the focus of our self-contempt.
We unconsciously work the culture's violence upon ourselves.
culture entices us to become agents for our own disempowerment. It urges us to
enforce its restrictions on ourselves and each other with diet pills and
weight-loss plans, cosmetic surgery, stick-figured dress-up dolls, and instant-slimming
culture constantly bombards us with directives to belittle our bellies. But the
good news is this:
do not have to torture ourselves any longer.
don't have to make the culture's cruelty our own. We don't have to enforce its
oppression upon ourselves, our friends, our daughters, our sisters.
can choose to cherish our body's center, our center of being. We can ungirdle
our bellies and let ourselves breathe and feel. We can take charge and express
the creative power that we already carry within us.
we enliven our bellies, we can consider ourselves to be cultural pioneers. In
every moment that we honor our bellies, we are revaluing and reconsecrating our
womanhood. We are transforming our culture. We are creating a new world.
is my prayer: May we know ourselves to be sacred beings.
2006 Self-Health Education