Saturday, February 28, 2009

Owning My Run: A Woman's Perspective

“The human body is the best picture of the human soul.”
Ludwig Willgen-

I have finally found the words that explain why running is an act of power for me. When I run I have complete ownership of my body. I feel safe in that womb of sweat and movement…as if insulated from the world around me. Each breath that I breathe is mine, each step that I take is intentional and every thought that passes through my mind is available to me and only me.

When I run I feel beautiful, powerful and real. The pieces of myself that I share throughout the day are all assimilated back into one beautiful tapestry…one amazing piece of experience that is mine and mine alone.

Lately I’ve been putting a lot of thought toward living my life intentionally. And running is a tremendous part of that experience. There is a magic evoked when I run. The physical-ness of it provides me with a powerful reminder that my body is capable, powerful and MINE. Every time I run, I make a statement to the world, “I own my action, my body, my thoughts and my experiences. I am intentional.”

A fundamental outcome of my work with young girls through Girls on the Run is to provide an experience for our girls to help them recognize and embrace their gifts and intentionally create a life that will move them toward their greatest human potential. One component of that is teaching them to honor their bodies through the act of running. However, we live in a culture that far too often does not honor women’s bodies, but instead objectifies them. Today, I have decided that , I am a Woman-ist!

I am declaring right here and now that I will intentionally make efforts to honor my body by:

1.) Doing my best to improve my awareness of body-hate or body-age talk. This means when I begin to say or think something about my appearance that is negative in content I will take a few deep breaths and replace those words with ones that honor something I value and respect about my body. I will share these words with others when appropriate.

2.) Greeting people with a comment that focuses on their internal strengths rather than external appearance. “Wow, you are one happy woman these days. I’m glad to see that you are doing well.” “Wow, you are definitely putting your best self out into the world. How are you feeling these days?”

3.) When I hear another woman speaking negatively of herself, I will find something positive about her to share, right then and right there! I will honor her by providing positive words rather than focusing on negativity through dismissing it or bonding over it.

4.) Putting my money where my mouth is: I will intentionally seek and choose products that use advertising strategies and images which honor women. I will ask myself, “Does this advertising strategy shame me or lift me up? Does this image demean women or honor them?” I will make a conscious effort to purchase products that utilize marketing strategies that lift me and my sisters up.

5.) Choosing to encircle myself with publications and music that honor women’s bodies. I will turn away from many of the magazines that line the grocery store check-out lane and choose publications that honor me, my body and my daughter’s body. I will choose publications that tell the stories of strong women, healthy women, REAL women. I will listen to music which elevates my soul, expresses the beauty and wonder of our femininity and honors the female image.

As I write, I feel a well of emotion. Everyday our girls are bombarded with harmful messages that we as a gender continue to support, perpetuate and cultivate because we fail to fully examine the detrimental effects of these images, media and products,.

Today, I claim my intention to remove these items from my emotional, mental and physical desk and make room for the positive female images, media and messages that I’m quite certain will become more obvious, more visible and more prevalent, if I am intentional about seeking them.

1 comment:

  1. My little girl is going to be joining a Girls on the Run program in Cleveland this month. It sounds amazing. Thank you!