Why is it still so hard to accept my body as it is?
Compiled by Carolina Oquendo
NOTE FROM THE COMPILER: Dear Shaumbra, as I was preparing this month’s article, I realized that most of what we think about ourselves and our precious bodies comes from that chatty (and dreary) little voice inside our heads. You know the one, right? The one that can’t shut up even if you offer it a lifetime supply of cookies.
So, to change things up and make the dialog more “digestible” (no pun intended) I’ve cooked up a juicy, and thought-provoking Student Story. Kick back, relax, and prepare to have your mind tickled.
Disclaimer: Side effects of this new approach may include excessive laughter, mind-expansion, and a newfound love for your quirky, imperfect self. Enjoy!
The sun was setting over the mountains, casting a golden glow over the campus. It was one of those afternoons where you could either chill out on the grass or just plop yourself down and bask in the delightful weather. But weirdly enough, the place was emptier than a movie theater in the pandemic. “What the heck happened? Did I miss a memo or something?” I thought to myself as I strutted out of my dorm.
Although I wasn’t exactly starving, dinner time had arrived, and my inner clock reminded me that it was time to eat. Off I went, following the path that led straight to the cafeteria. Food, glorious food! I’d been daydreaming about it for a while now. Maybe it was just my anxiety acting up as per usual, but I refused to dwell on that. I was done with being hyper-aware today. All I wanted was a moment of yummy, blissful numbness.
Strolling into the cafeteria and approaching the counter, I suddenly froze like a popsicle. Uh-oh, decision time. What the heck should I eat? My jeans were conspiring against me, getting tighter by the hour, and my yoga pants had become my ride or die companions lately. All I craved was carbs, 24/7!
Oh, shoot! How am I supposed to be this this embodied Master when I can’t even stick to the same clothing size? Everything I eat just seems to make me expand like a balloon! And the old ‘retaining fluids’ excuse is not fooling anybody. It was difficult to see my reflection lately, and I was seriously considering evicting the mirror in my bathroom.
Lost in my internal body-image drama, I almost missed someone clearing their throat behind me. And I knew exactly who it was. Oh no, no, no! It’s the Master. Why did our paths have to cross today? Now I know why the campus was empty! Is there a Facebook page with her schedule or something? My wisdom levels had hit rock bottom, and I definitely wasn’t in the mood for verbal sparring with her.
Okay, act cool. Take a deep breath, I silently coached myself, determined to salvage whatever dignity I had left and escape with minimal damage. I forced a smile onto my face and slowly turned around to greet her and apologize for my inadvertent line-stalling. But right at that moment, it hit me like a pop quiz on a Monday morning.
I finally figured out what was truly bothering me – and almost tripped over my own feet in the sheer surprise of revelation.
The Master laughed, sporting her signature knowing (and sometimes annoying) smile, and quipped, “Alright, my friend, spit it out! What’s going on in that little head of yours?”
“Master,” I began, gathering my courage, “why is it still so darn difficult to embrace my body just the way it is?”
Her gaze bored into me with an intensity that could rival a supernova. It was clear she was sizing me up, trying to determine if I was truly ready for the wisdom she was about to drop. In that moment, I wondered if it would be easier to offer a half-hearted apology and flee the scene, just like I’d been doing for the past few days. But no, I knew she wouldn’t let me off the hook that easily. Not today.
She tilted her head towards the seating area, silently gesturing for me to follow her. We settled into one of the booths and, to my surprise, she pushed a steaming bowl of pasta and a cold refreshing soda toward me. The aroma danced tantalizingly around me, awakening my taste buds, and triggering a chorus of cravings. And, as always, that pesky, uninvited thought crashed the party: You know there are like a gazillion calories in there, right? Put it down, sister! With a resigned sigh, I summoned my ironclad willpower and kept my hands obediently in my lap.
Casually scanning me from head to toe, the Master began “The human identity has been programmed for human perfection – beautiful body; gorgeous face; impeccable sense of clothing, of course, of fashion; wealth beyond wealth; intelligence above anybody’s; ability to work miracles simply by waving their hands – and, of course, the smell of chocolate chip cookies all the time. But,” she continued, her voice taking on a serious tone, “That is one great big illusion.
“You’ll never reach that state of human perfection. It’s unattainable. You’re never going to ascend in that status.”
“But Master,” I sighed, “I really don’t think I pursue perfection. I just want to feel comfortable and content in my own skin. Is that really too much to ask for? Isn’t that the whole idea behind being an embodied Master?
She paused for a moment, no doubt rolling her eyes internally, shook her head slightly and mumbled something that closely resembled “Oh lord give me patience!”
My body involuntarily flinched, but I was resolute in my quest for clear answers. Squaring my shoulders, I was ready for whatever reproof she had in store for me.
“You’ve been trying to get to know yourself and perfect yourself, make yourself just this pure, holier-than-thou human,” she explained, her voice tinged with a touch of sarcasm. “The Ascended Masters didn’t do it. Why should you? They had disturbances! Issues! Challenges!
“Do you know what eventually caused them to be Ascended Masters?” she asked, her tone dripping with mischief.
Without waiting for my reply, she answered her own question. “Acceptance. They let go of this need to try to define themselves, to find themselves, to know themselves, to improve and perfect themselves.
“They came to a point of exhaustion, of saying, ‘This search, this desperate search, is exhausting. I’m just going to give up. To hell with this whole spiritual path and all of its books and all of its workshops and all of its accoutrements and everything else – to hell with that! I’m done!’
“In that moment of acceptance, then it came together. Then they had a good laugh, every one of them. And then it didn’t matter. It didn’t matter that they weren’t perfect, because they were never going to be.
“It mattered that they accepted. It mattered that they loved themselves, quirks and all. Bad bank accounts, overweight, stupid little tics or strange things you do, your bad temper, your impatience, your lack of real understanding of the spiritual being that you are.
“Whatever you think is flawed, imperfect, whatever you think are the things you have to work on, forget about it.
“And then, suddenly, you’re just being. You’re not trying to perfect anything. You’re not trying to find yourself. Now you’re just being. In that, the creative energies rush in now saying ‘Good! This person’s no longer just trying to figure it out. They’re just doing it.’
“The mind can slow down. The need to try to make things right or perfect or in some sort of delusional ideals of old gurus goes out the window. That’s when you can sit here today and say, ‘I am the Master. I don’t care what they say, I am the Master. I am the Master.’ It’s that simple.”
Simple? I scoffed internally. If it were as simple as tying a shoelace, I would’ve aced it ages ago! Frustration welled up within me, but I suppressed the urge to let it explode. After all, I didn’t want to end up on her probation list or deal with her pet dragon, again. I wanted to shout at her. Human life is anything but simple, and that’s a fact!
I sat there fuming but decided to keep things civil and keep my mouth shut. Absentmindedly, I started poking at the now lukewarm pasta on the plate and then, with a rebellious spirit and a craving that wouldn’t quit, I said, “Screw it!” and took a bite. I knew it wasn’t exactly what I should be eating right now, but holy guacamole, it was scrumptious. A mix of pleasure and frustration played a lively dance on my face, which prompted the Master to snap her fingers, startling me.
“Oi…. Live like a Master. Live how you want to live, not how you think you should live!” she exclaimed, the mischievous glint in her eyes unmistakable.
“I want you to start understanding that all the conventional thoughts, sciences, belief systems are no longer valid. You are not limited to that! You are free to get out of your seat and go beyond mass consciousness.”
I stared at her, partly impressed, and partly pissed. Then I just snapped.
“Master, do you have any clue what I’ve been trying to do all these years with you?” I blurted, unable to contain my exasperation. “I’m doing all this—listening to you, going on long walks, ‘letting go’ of diets and expectations, attempting to escape mass consciousness, ‘allowing,’ working on myself—all so I can finally live like an embodied Master, just like you! And now you’re giving me grief for not doing it right?” So much for controlling my temper and not wanting to deal with her “pet.”
She looked at me, a devious grin spreading across her face, as if that’s what she had been aiming for all along—to rattle me like a maraca.
“Let go all of that work you’ve been doing on yourself,” she said.
“Whether it’s trying to lose weight, whether it’s trying to be a nicer person, whether it’s trying to be more spiritual, whether it’s trying to smooth off the rough edges, be a better parent, be a better partner; no matter what it is, I ask you to let all of that go now.
“Let all of it go, especially the part about trying to be more spiritual, trying to be an embodied Master. Let all of that go.
“There’s no more work to do on it. Now it’s all about allowing.
“It’s about allowing everything that you have been doing, everything you’ve been working on; it’s about allowing all that suffering, all the hardships, all the confusion. Let that go. Now it’s simply about allowing.”
And with those parting words, she sauntered away, leaving me to sit alone at the table, my half-eaten pasta and a detention slip as my sole companions. I stared at them, thoughts swirling through my mind. What the heck was I supposed to do now? Well, I did what any self-respecting student would do: I grabbed my purse and marched straight to detention, hoping the dragon would show me a little mercy this time around.