Tag Archives: shame

The Butterfly Effect

Life is short. If you doubt me, ask a butterfly. Their average life span is a mere five to fourteen days.   -Ellen DeGeneres
My vision collage this year emerged in the shape of a butterfly and included images of many fellow people in my “tribe.” So I decided to name it “Butterfly tribe.” I then got to thinking about how I could, like Gretchen Rubin in her Happiness Projects, have themes to focus on each month. This is your cordial invitation to join me in the year of

THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT

 thisrsz_1heartbutterflymandala

The butterfly effect is a term from chaos theory that refers to a small change resulting in large differences in a later state or place. Each month I will be making small changes in different areas.

Here are the areas:

  1. Vision (January)
  2. Clarity (February)
  3. Make A Plan (March)
  4. Cultivate Creativity (April)
  5. Connect (May)
  6. Honor Sensitivity (June)
  7. Receive Support (July)
  8. Embrace Change (August)
  9. Play (September)
  10. Romance (October)
  11. Health (November)
  12. Release Shame (December)
Each month I will be writing about the small incremental changes I am practicing in these areas and recommending books or action you could try if you would like. Where do you come in? You are invited to join. If each of us make small changes, they MAY result in large differences. Also, in a tribe, people can learn from each other. For example there may be some spring chickens in this tribe that could teach me about how the heck to “tweet” during May.
Change (recovery, parenthood, living your vision) can be hard. It can be even harder when we attempt to do it alone. I have created a few ground rules for myself and you, should you choose to accept, in this butterfly project:
 butterfly

1. It is ok to choose the level of your participation, to make mistakes, and to change your mind.


2. You do not have to do it alone.

3. Stay engaged with the process (and notice when you would rather not).

Butterflies are fragile. They collapse easily and don’t survive well alone. They need each other, they need heat, and they need light. 4th generation monarchs, the ones that travel to California
and Mexico and live for 180-240 days, travel together for astounding distances. They do this together and then, when they hang in the trees, they do it together. So when you feel alone or collapsing in shame or sick and tired of being sick and tired, Do not give up. In the words of Richard Bach,

What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls a butterfly.

Bellies

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     This is my son’s belly. He is very proud of it. He is also proud of his poo and pee. He lives in a shame free land (so far). I will protect him from shame for as long as I can. He is in Erikson’s “Shame vs Doubt” stage exploring the question “Is it ok to be me?” He happily runs around, showing off his belly, exploring this question. I will fiercely fight for him to hold onto the truth that lives in his belly that it is not only ok but ESSENTIAL that he be himself.

     I remember 15 years ago very early in my eating disorder recovery thinking in the midst of horrible body image distress “My belly is so fat- it looks like it is pregnant!” It wasn’t pregnant- it was full of shame, anger and unexpressed emotions. It was FAT: Feeling Are Thick. It was also nowhere near the size of a pregnant belly, having lived the reality, I now know. If I were to talk to my younger self now, I would say, with great compassion and fierceness, “Honey, you are nowhere near to having a pregnant belly. You want to see a pregnant belly? HERE. Now. What is in there that needs to be birthed and expressed? Get it out because it is not only ok but ESSENTIAL to your recovery and your life that you be yourself.” My older self has learned that. And my belly is now (mostly) free from shame and anger having receivied many apology letters for how I abused it and having been listened to much more frequently over the past decade and a half.

this belly

I’m not going to say it wasn’t difficult with body image postpartum (see “Dear New Mama” and “Does being a Mommy make me look fat?” previous posts). However, I AM proud of my Mama belly. I grew a child in there. Yes, my belly looks different in a bathing suit because I GREW A CHILD in there. Wow. That is pretty miraculous. Thank you belly.

A friend of mine sent me this video postpartum. It is well worth watching the celebration of a woman’s body and belly.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfOBGQpG9fA&feature=player_embedded#

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