Surrendering Body Hatred, Fear, and Shame with the Help of The Body Positive—and the Giant Redwoods of the Pacific Coast

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The Body Positive
May 27, 2017

Finding myself at The Body Positive facilitator training last weekend was as much a personal journey as it was a professional one. After almost 14 years of being in the field of corporate wellness and population health management I found myself broken by work that wasn’t aligned with who I was or what I believed. I looked around and saw a field that was harming more than helping, and putting profits above people. Each day got harder, until finally last year I made the decision to leave and pursue my own work as a coach, speaker, and voice for a better way to do this work in our organizations and communities. I thought that leaving my job was the hardest part of this new chapter, but I was wrong.

The hardest part was facing the truth that after years of advocating for health and well being for others, I had spiraled down into my own body hatred and eating disorder.

It was in this place that I found The Body Positive and Connie’s book Embody. And it was from this place that I started my journey to heal. Last weekend, the Be Body Positive Professional Training allowed me to experience the tools I’d been using from Connie’s book in an even deeper way, while providing me with the resources to begin to carry this work out to others. It challenged me and inspired me.

I rented a car on the Sunday after the training to drive from Berkeley to Eugene, Oregon to visit my brothers. I took Highway 101 up through California and along the coast. The drive was purposeful… full of metaphorical and literal journey. As I made my way into the redwoods, I was struck with the vastness of this amazing earth. Of its strength, power, and life. I realized that she could handle anything I didn’t want or need to carry any longer. I pulled over on the Avenue of the Giants and found my way to one of the biggest trees I’d ever seen. I could feel the hum of the roots as they communicated with each other, the soil, and me.

I kneeled down, put my hand on this mighty trunk and I surrendered.

I surrendered the pain and hatred for my body.
I surrendered the fear and doubt that have clouded my life.
And I surrendered the guilt and shame that have blocked me from the divine beauty of who I am.

As I spent the next few days in the hills and on the coast in Oregon, I could feel pieces of me return home. The Body Positive’s work helped me make space for them. The best way I know how to fully express my gratitude for what this organization has done for me is to carry its message and this work wherever I can. It’s to quit playing small and to show up in this one messy beautiful life authentically, unapologetically, and ready to change the world.

—Angie Siebert, Licensed Be Body Positive Facilitator, Wellbeing Consultant, Coach, and Speaker

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