Each time I open this page to write, I allow myself to become distracted by something else, social media, harassing my daughter or… anything. I tell myself it’s because this subject isn’t the right one, maybe I don’t have anything really interesting to say about it (and perhaps that’s true, you be the judge), but I think mostly it’s because deprivation is something that I know far too intimately. Even writing that gave me a floppy feeling in my gut.
In my gut. Of course, how appropriate. My most intimate knowledge, or so I thought, was that of depriving myself of food. Not in the anorexic way, but in the way that I believe is all too familiar to the majority of women in North America. “I’m off carbs!” or “No dairy!” or “I’m gluten-free… not celiac or sensitive though…” But the deprivation that I think I’m really sitting down to write about is the deprivation of your acknowledgement of your powerful and prosperous self.
I went to the spa with my daughter today to cap off her summer vacation and start the school year off on the right foot; I figured that some salt-water floating, saunas and nature would fit the bill. While we were in the infinity pool at the beginning of the day, we were lounging next to two women and because there weren’t a lot of people around, I could clearly hear their conversation. The topic was how and what they despised about their bodies. It was so misaligned that I had to move to a different part of the pool. The thing is though, that this conversation happens everywhere, all the time. I was at a gathering with some women in July and the opening conversation between a trio that hadn’t seen each other in a while went like this:
Woman 1: Oh you look fabulous!
Woman 2: No I don’t, I’ve gained a ton of weight, my pants don’t fit!
Woman 1: Well you think that’s bad, just look at this gut of mine! I can’t even hide it in this flowy dress!
Woman 3: Let me tell you how disgusting I AM!
I’m not making this up. I finally chimed in and told them to stop being so mean to themselves. But – I am guilty of the same type of dialogue. For years it was running unconsciously as background programming, at the gym, seeing the fitter, jacked women with 6-packs, at meditation looking around and telling myself how unconnected I am, at business events, seeing how much I am not there yet. For years what it prompted me to do, was to berate myself internally and turn to internal punishment tactics, to… deprivation. I’m not fit enough, time to cut out ~insert trendy food to cut out here~, go to the gym MORE, deprive myself of the critical rest days, get exhausted, get injured, get even madder at myself because I can’t push as hard and watch the cascading effect it has on my relationships, my business etc.
The definition of deprivation is: The damaging lack of material benefits considered to be basic necessities in a society. One of its antonyms is Indulge.
Let’s unpack that one for a moment; INDULGE. What does that evoke in your being? What comes to mind when you hear that word? Does it make you feel a bit naughty? Ohhhh, I’m going to indulge in some chocolate, shhhh, don’t tell. When I do a Google search of the images associated with the word indulge, I am shown a myriad photographs of people (mostly women) shoving desserts into their faces, not just eating them, but cramming them into their mouths by the fistful, or looking longingly at desserts or pictures of cupcakes. HOWEVER, one of Merriam-Webster’s definitions of this charged word is: To take unrestricted pleasure in.
When is the last time you took unrestricted pleasure in something? Anything?
Almost every woman I work with is depriving herself of something. Do you want to know what that is? It’s connection to her Truth, her Spirit, her Soul. Deprivation of basic nourishment doesn’t always mean food; it’s the dialogue in your head, the actions you take towards your goals, the mantra that is the undercurrent of your life.
The thing with deprivation is that in its wake, there is always a rebellion. Deprivation cannot be sustained in the body or in spirit and continue to live purposefully.
Where can you take steps to indulge, to take unrestricted pleasure in yourSelf? Where can you indulge your inner dialogue so that you finally hear the response from yourSelf? What do you suppose she would tell you if you actually listened to her? Do you really think it would be a conversation about how to deprive yourself to greatness? How to deprive yourself to your most powerful and prosperous self? I don’t think so. I think it would move more along the lines of, nourish me, love me, hear me, hold me, acknowledge me.
Can you hear her? Maybe it’s time you do.