September 21st is observed around the world as the International Day of Peace. Joan Gregerson is a writer, a teacher, a member of my writing group, the author of Tuning Into Inner Peace: The Surprisingly Fun Way to Transform Your Life, and a purveyor of peace in general, ramping up to September 21st with a free online course, The 29-Day Inner Peace Experience. She devotes today, Day 16, to Gratitude. I’m especially happy to have her here today because Gratitude transforms my life on a daily basis, in ways both big and small — “The good sense to be grateful” often makes the list in my Gratitude Journal, and in my opinion we can’t find our way down the path to peace without it. Please welcome Joan and her Barney Rubble feet. As she says, “The first step in making a better world is learning how to become more peaceful ourselves. Together, we can create a culture of peace!”
I Love You, My Barney Rubble feet
By Joan Gregerson
Like many people, by the time I got to the age of 40, I had decades of body critiques filed and at the ready. Look like a boy. Big nose. Droopy boobs. A spare tire. A double chin. A long torso. Thunder thighs. I didn’t think of myself as pretty or ugly, just painfully plain.
Raised Catholic, married young, and working as an engineer, being plain seemed to work in my favor. I definitely did not attract attention because of my striking beauty. And sexuality, well, it was just better all-around if no one ever brought that up. As far as my appearance, I wouldn’t say it was self-loathing, more just self-nothing, or self “meh”-ing.
So, when I started reading Louise Hay, You Can Heal Your Life, I liked it when she said you should love yourself. You should look in the mirror and say, “I love you!” and “You are beautiful!”. Hmm. Okay. I tried it. It was weird at first. I’d say, “You are beautiful”, and then I’d argue back, “No, I’m not!”, and that would go on for awhile. But over time, I got used to that.
I followed Louise’ advice and with a bit of practice, I could look at in the mirror, and say, “You’re beautiful!” and smile. Guess what, I really was. I really am.
Then, I got to the part in the book where Louise Hay said that you have to be kind to your body. And tell every body part that you love it and are thankful for it. Ah, sweet. “Thank you, my body! I love you, my hands. I love you, my brain. I love you, my eyes. Thank you, my heart and my lungs! You are so useful!”
I was down with all that.
Keep going, she wrote. Appreciate all parts of your body.
“Thank you my breasts, vagina and clitoris.” (Okay, I can agree.)
“Thank you, my hips.” (Well, there’s a lot to thank!)
“Thank you, my bladder. I love you, my urethra.” (No, I don’t!!!) I love you, my colon! (Ewww, disgusting!!! Yuck!) I love you, my anus. (Noooooo!!! I definitely don’t!)
But, then I realized, what am I, crazy!? Why would I hate any part of this complex miracle that allows me to function, to live! I laughed out loud when I realized how silly I had acted for decades. I had been constantly grossed out by this elegant, sophisticated gift of my body.
Nowadays, I pretty much daily thank my colon, my sphincter, my anus and the whole gang for a job well done.
But, as things go, there’s often one more layer.
Earlier this summer, I was getting ready to go to a party and I wondered if I should forego sandals. These feet which have been nicknamed “Barney Rubble feet”, 8-double-wide blocky, with the broken toe that lilts off to the left, and a bulbous callous that juts out of the sandal. Ah man, that could actually gross someone out! Ruin my whole outfit!
But then I felt the love. Feet! You’re amazing. You’re a walking history of my life. What would I ever do without you? You are my wings. I’m proud of you. Thank you.
I love you, my Barney Rubble feet. Let’s party!
Joan Gregerson first met Michael Thomas on the same day that she told him that if he and his sister were good, they could have a snack before bedtime. She then raided the refrigerator before his parents got home, as all babysitters must do.
Now, Joan looks up to Michael because he is taller and he is everything she wants to be: prolific, funny and fabulous. Michael and Joan are two of the members of the Open Book Writing Group, who co-wrote the book Tasty Year: A Food Anthology. Unlike other writing groups who are all about critiquing, this group gets together to drink coffee, nibble appetizers and encourage each other to simply “Keep Writing.”
This blog post is part of Joan’s free eCourse The 29-Day Inner Peace Experience, with teachings based on the book, Tuning In to Inner Peace: The Surprisingly Fun Way to Transform Your Life.
For more about Joan, visit her website at http://www.PositiveEnergyWorks.com.