I’ve spent the last few months living in the town I moved to to be with a guy who I’m no longer dating. It’s beautiful, but lonely here.
I visit LA often because I have lots of friends there, but crashing on my friend’s couch is a constant reminder that “this is not my home.”
When I go back to the East Coast, it feels great to be at my parents’ house and hang with my family. No one loves me more in the world than my three DiAltos. And I love adventuring into NYC to catch up with some of my favorite people – but still, neither of those places are my home.
The truth is – home is not a place.
Sometimes I forget this and get lost in my search for a home.
That is why this picture means so much to me – because this right here is my only true home, and I love her.
Now, before I get into the story I’m going to share with you here, I want to invite you to find yourself in it along the way. I know you have a desire to love, accept, and express yourself. We all do. Yours may not be around a photo, or your body, or maybe it is. Just be open to discovering the thing that’s welling up inside of you, that’s deeply connected to who you really are, that’s waiting to feel safe enough to be revealed.
Here we go.
I’ve been holding onto this picture, waiting to muster up the courage to share it for
Back in April, I was meditating one morning and felt an undeniable nudge that it was time to share, so I posted it in Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map group on Facebook.
Here’s what I wrote in that post:
“In Feb 2011 on the first retreat for Marie Forleo’s Adventure Mastermind our surprise adventure was a boudoir photo shoot with Christa Meola. This was NOT something most of us were comfortable with which was exactly why it was SO magical. When we got our photos, there was one that I loved so much, I couldn’t really express why at the time, but now I know it’s because it was the visual embodiment of my core desires to feel wildly feminine, free, and connected. I wanted to blog about the experience but I *knew* my mom would flip out if I posted a half naked photo of myself on the internet without giving her a heads up. The conversation turned into a battle that lasted a few days and I gave in. I never posted the picture. The way that made me feel reminds me of that quote about being folded that I know I’ve read somewhere in The Fire Starter Sessions. This morning during a little meditation, the image came up and the words, “Never ask permission to express your soul’s desire.” So! while I’m not exactly ready yet to post it super publicly, this felt like the perfect place to sneak a peek. Thank you for the space. Commence unfolding…”
The full quote I was thinking of is this, “I want to unfold. I don’t want to stay folded anywhere, because where I am folded, there I am a lie.” – Ranier Maria Rilke
Hits you in the guts, doesn’t it?
When I hit send on that post I had no expectation or attachment to what the response would be. My only intention was a selfish one – to completely honor myself.
And holy shit, when I tell you this was one of the BEST decisions I ever made, I am not exaggerating because what happened next was magical.
A complete outpouring of LOVE.
Here are a few comments that not only that moved me to tears but reflected back to me the power and responsibility I have as a woman and a leader to inspire action through my openness:
- “Everything about this is exquisite and so achingly raw and authentic. Love, love, love, mad respect, and a boatload of gratitude to you, Liz DiAlto for sharing!!”
- “As you step forward into your own authenticity, actively shedding the shame skins of so many thousands of women and their lineage you truly give so many more women permission to be themselves to be transformed.”
- “Congratulations Liz DiAlto and Thank you for sharing your story. The photo is stunning because it translates your message and desires beautifully, but it also speaks to the deeper issues most women face embracing their feminine and loving who they are, no matter what shape or size. It must be so liberating to share this… Major Applause.”
- “I am grateful you had the courage to share this image! It instantly surfaced a groundswell of energy and desire in me. And I immediately wrote 2 important letters to share the image with 2 important women whom I feel need to receive the flame in their chests as much as I.”
- “Liz! I LOVE, LOVE your post! I am one of your followers. I was introduced to you by one of our mutual friends. I’ve read your book. Point is that your followers would resonate with this post so much. After all, my body issues (real and made up) have lots to do with those voices of others (notably my mother’s). Thank you for sharing your beautiful photo with us, as well as your poignant message!!!”
I thought my little heart might explode.
I’ve been unfolding ever since with lots and lots of help. The journey of being a woman, falling in love with our bodies and owning our power is not something that can be done solo.
When left to our own devices a lot of us punish, blame and deny our bodies under the guise of some moral code of modesty or a delusional claim that we are taking care of ourselves.
We cover up, we hide, we shrink to make other people feel comfortable.
We diet, we force ourselves to workouts we hate and all other kinds of things we don’t enjoy in pursuit of happiness. (Silly.)
Fill in the blank (you know your own story), “When I __________, I’ll be happy.”
Lose 10 lbs.
Meet the man of my dreams.
The list of things that don’t actually matter goes on and on. What matters is how you feel. What matters is knowing who you really are and allowing yourself to be that woman.
I’ve spent the last few days scared shitless to write this blog post because I remember feeling two distinctly different things when I first laid eyes on my photo.
1. This is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.
2. I shouldn’t feel that way about a picture of myself.
While we’ve taken many strides as a gender and a society, we’re still operating with lots of tacit patriarchal agreements. One of which is the preference for women to be in constant pursuit of self-esteem, but very careful about expressing it once they acquire it.
I suspect if we polled a group of women the majority would rather be labeled as “slutty” or “promiscuous” over “attention seeking” or “full of herself.”
The latter of course being the labels we receive (from some, not all) when we do dare to embrace and express our true power, greatness and beauty – so much of which comes from our BODIES.
In her book, Red, Hot and Holy, Sera Beak quotes Teri Degler who said, ”Even of all those women who are comfortable with emotions, very few are comfortable with the feeling of wild, surging power… the trick is to realize that we do indeed embody this power and then to become comfortable with the way this feels. We need, in other words, to come to a place where we can sit and quietly hold this great power in our bellies.”
YES. YES. YES.
I’m coming to this place and I’d love for you to join me.
Because the process of unfolding and embodying is deeply personal, I’m not asking you to go all public with your body issues, vulnerabilities and darkest fears. But I have created a private sacred space for women who feel this tug of truth in your body – that you may or may not exactly be able to explain, but you KNOW it’s important to you… and you’re open to discussions around what this means and how we support each other as women in accessing this power and connecting to our higher selves.
To join the group click here. It’s free.
If you’d rather not, no biggie.
The last thing I want to share with you is an exercise I do every morning that helps me love my body and connect to her more deeply.
-When you wake up, stand in front of the mirror in your underwear, topless or completely naked.
-Put your hands on your body in some way – I usually rub my belly, cup my breasts (I hated them for years, so now I like to make up for it by showing them some love on a weekly basis), stick out my ass, or sway my hips a little.
-Instead of picking yourself apart (which may be your natural inclination), just observe your body like a work of art, look for the details and intricacies.
Since I’ve been doing this everyday for quite a while, I notice things like how the shape and feel of my breasts changes with my cycle and the tone of my skin changes with the seasons. I’ll notice a new freckle or how my muscles are changing shape or taking form.
Get to know your naked self.
Once you get comfortable doing this practice, you can take it a step further by finding something new to admire on your body everyday. Even if it’s a small space like your collarbone, the space just above your belly button, your ankle.
All of it matters.
All of it is yours.
All of it is home.
Never ask permission to express your soul’s desire. – Tweet it.
Exploding with love and gratitude,
If you enjoyed this post, I’d be honored if you share it. We need more women (and men) on the body love team.
You may also enjoy the following books:
Awakening Shakti by Sally Kempton
Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
Way of the Superior Man by David Deida
Red, Hot and Holy by Sera Beak
And this blog is a must follow: