Musings

I Love Boobs!

I love my boobs and boobs in general! I’m not a lesbian (not that there’s anything wrong with being a lesbian) and I love boobs! Whew! There, I said it. My naïve bubble that all women love their boobs (and boobs in general) popped a few days ago when a woman pointed out that women have different relationships with their boobs. What, not all women love their boobs or boobs in general?

I certainly have a different relationship with my stretch-marks-in-plaid tummy. It has been a source of concern for many years. I posted the below pic on Facebook to make peace with my squishy mom belly and it worked, mostly. Some days I still hold my hands at my hips pulling taut my rippled skin, much like my mom frequently lifted her skin up at her temples simulating a facelift throughout my childhood. Most days though, I forget to be obsessed about it. And on good days, I thank my tummy for a job well done (love my kiddos!) and call it beautiful.

tummy

It turns out that upon reflection, I haven’t always loved my boobs or boobs in general. I just have a short memory, one downside to living in the moment and another side effect of a lifetime of discrediting my feelings. I started binding my boobs with bras when I was in sixth grade. As a pretty colored ribbon runner during adolescence, winning the pinks, purples, and if I was lucky white awards, I wore sports bras that bound me as tight as Mulan. Yes, it is possible for a small boobed gal like me to be even flatter. Somehow it was wrong if my boobs bounced, even when my whole body was bounding like a graceful gazelle through gorgeous grasslands. No wait, that’s my runner’s high imagery. In reality, I was the one often struggling with the beet red face, static boobs, and 80’s bloomers. Okay, everyone else was wearing the same unattractive polyester uniform bottoms.

My first boyfriend (FYI high school friends, I never dated an Eagle) told me to “get over it” when I said it felt “weird” when he touched my boobs for the first time. I spent a good portion of my life not only out of touch with my feelings, but also out of touch with my body. The “Our Bodies, Ourselves” instruction manual that my college friends handed to me along with a mirror and a flashlight helped, but could not work miracles. Truth be told, my boobs physically hurt for much of my life. PMS was painful. My boobs hurt with or without a bra. But being true to not being true to my feelings, I called my boobs “sensitive”. I did not wince when putting on clothes because my boobs were sensitive. I winced because they were painful.

My boobs no longer hurt since starting to heal with the GAPS™ (Gut and Psychology/Physiology Syndrome) protocol. I hope my two daughters never experience boob pain. By eating nutrient dense, gut healing foods they stand a good chance at having happy boobs. But more than being pain free, I hope they love their boobs. My oldest daughter is rather uptight about her boobs and boobs in general. She didn’t want me leaving the house to go to a middle school track meet dressed in the below pictured shirt because it showed too much cleavage. Really? What cleavage? If I had cleavage, I might want to show it. Needless to say, when writing this blog post, I derived much joy from sharing its content with my oldest daughter and scoring an eye roll or two. Hey, don’t knock it. After parenting for almost 16 years, eliciting eye rolls from my kiddos is one of life’s simple pleasures.

boobs

I hope my daughters never bind their boobs with bras. On October 13, 2013, I removed my bra in front of a group of female holistic nutrition students (now practitioners) to encourage participation in the bra-free day of the pink movement. Not one other woman in the room set her boobs free, not even the one singing “Who let the girls out?” to the tune of “Who let the dogs out?” with me. These are knowledgeable women who understand that without a free flowing lymphatic system, toxins accumulate and lead to disease. It must be because women have different relationships with their boobs and/or because they believe in the support myth. The support myth is that boobs will sag if you don’t wear a bra. Elizabeth Vaughan, M.D., explains, “Sorry, bras might make your breasts sag more. You have ligaments in your breasts. They are designed to hold your breasts up. If you wear a bra for years – or, worse yet, wear a bra 24 hours a day for years – these ligaments will atrophy (get weaker and smaller). The good news: If you stop wearing a bra these ligaments should get stronger and you should find your breasts perkier within about three months.”

Sadly, even the head holistic nutrition instructor expressed disdain for her boobs. Women DO have different (and complicated and changing) relationships with their boobs. For all of you who have lost part or all of your boobs due to cancer, I’m so glad you are alive! As for me, I am 2 ½ months of being bra free, emphasis on free. When the lymphatic system is flowing, the spirit sours. I am happier now than ever. Of course, it’s easy to work the layered look in the cold weather months in Minnesota. I’ll let you know how I fare with layers in the summertime. Why layers? Because as much as I love my boobs and my nips, I don’t want my nips to show. Funny, eh?

I hope you will consider your relationship with your boobs and show them some love. And if you love your boobs, in the words of Sting, “Free, free, set them free!”

Note: I chose to use the word “boobs” when referring to breasts in this post because “boobs” is such a fun word. I initially started calling my boobs “the girls” at home, but this only confused my family. I constantly had to clarify when I meant boobs and when I meant my daughters. Ha!

Musings

River of Gratitude

Two images guide my life’s journey. One is a river, popping up in memories, songs, and quotes with messages and meanings for that I’m grateful.

I grew up near the Rio Grande River in Texas. I recall going to a natural area along this river, probably when I was in high school. While a conservationist/ranger/someone was talking, I took a mental picture of that spot where the river curved, void of trees, yet beautifully stark and rugged. Throughout the years, this mental freeze frame frequently offers me an unknown comfort. I’m grateful for the peace of the river.

I now live near the Mississippi River in Minnesota with a greater sense of connection to flowing rivers and the flow of life than ever before.

all rivers

I’m grateful for the sense of connection that feels like a much needed, long anticipated healing hug.

My physical and spiritual journey is opening to the nourishing river of life reminding me of the hymn, “I’ve Got a River of Life”.

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I’m grateful for wholeness and abundance.

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With my body, I love and encourage lymphatic movement. From yoga, to massage, to hydration, to exercise, to going bra-free over a month ago (yay!), I feel free. Following nine years of stagnant lymph and being unable to cry, the flow of my lymph corresponds with a new sense of spiritual and emotional release. My long fed fears of scarcity and unworthiness stagnated like debris in a river, blocking my progress, leaving me stuck. Releasing these fears, I frequently feel and visualize the rush of the energizing current of gratitude, creativity, and abundance while Carly Simon sings along to the soundtrack of my life.

I’m grateful that now I often feel awake with the flow of dreams, desire, and intuition.

A Facebook friend shared a quote from the Inward/Outward Project about the Great River of Being –
“If we can let ourselves go in prayer and speak all that is in our minds and hearts, if we can sit quietly and bear the silence, we will hear all the bits and pieces of ourselves crowding in on us, pleading for our attention. Prayer’s confession begins with this racket, for prayer is noisy with the clamor of all the parts of us demanding to be heard. The clamor is the sound of the great river of being flowing in us.”
I’m grateful that prayer is both quiet and noisy. I’m grateful that life is that way too.

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I’m grateful that the river is timeless and so are we.

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I’m grateful for the flow of life. Go with it!

The second image is a butterfly.

Musings

OUT OF THE POOL!

“OUT OF THE POOL! BOTH OF YOU, OUT OF THE POOL, RIGHT NOW!” screamed the mom in the Erin Brockovich movie upon realizing her girls were swimming in toxic water.

I have “OUT OF THE POOL” moments. “OUT OF THE POOL” moments are adrenaline charged “AHA” moments and often elicit a sinking, urgent fight or flight feeling. Like when my boys tested off the chart for aluminum, a toxic metal. Yes, aluminum is a toxic metal that you do not want accumulating in your body or that of your loved ones. Large amounts of aluminum have been found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s. I had listened to the ever so helpful and cheerful aluminum foil television advertisement ladies. Per their recommendation, I was storing and reheating leftovers in aluminum foil. Heavy amounts of toxic metals are found in people with autism. My son, at the time, had just been diagnosed on the autism spectrum. My “OUT OF THE POOL” moment meant a flight from and removal of all aluminum foil. We’ve now lived aluminum free for almost 10 years. No aluminum foil covering a cardboard star at the top of our Christmas tree, no aluminum in our baking powder, no aluminum in our deodorant, and certainly no cooking or storing food with aluminum foil. (Note: My oldest son is no longer on the autism spectrum due largely to dietary intervention and detoxification.)

Other “OUT OF THE POOL” realizations include the harm of low and no fat diets, toxic cleaning and personal care products, and the more pool/water related dangers of chlorine and fluoride, both neurotoxins.

So what is sounding the sirens this time?

Bras. Yes, bras. Channeling my inner Lorax, I speak for the boobs, “Off WITH THE BRAS!” From a Brockovich perspective, the bra is the pool trapping toxins in the lymph fluid in the breasts. Toxins lead to disease. Whereas toxic metals are linked to autism and Alzheimer’s, toxins in the boobs are linked to tenderness, fibroids, and breast cancer. The lymphatic system is a detoxification pathway without a pump. It relies on physical movement for the lymph to move. Bras do not allow for movement crucial for eliminating toxins.

As my Facebook Happy Nourishers know, I went bra free on October 13, 2013, per the pink movement, in grand fashion. I stood in front of a Nutritional Therapy Association class as a group leader and removed my bra while chanting, “Who let the girls out? Flap, flap, flap, flap.” (A parady of the Baha Men song about dogs.) I personally know how important it is for the lymphatic system to flow after 9 tearless years. That’s right. I was unable to cry for 9 years. Last summer I started executing self lymphatic massage after watching massage therapist Heather Wibble on YouTube. With self and professional massage, homeopathic lymphatic drainage support, practicing yoga, and focusing on hydration, I am happy to report that I am able to squeak out a few tears now.

But on October 14, 2013, I wore my bra again. And again on October 15, 2013. Why? I was conforming to an uncomfortable lymph stagnating and toxin trapping contraption perpetuated by the beliefs of society and the undergarment industry. Well, not anymore. On October 16, 2013, I benched the bra. After three days of freedom and continued mind blowing “OFF WITH THE BRA!” research, I don’t foresee going back. Tomorrow I will attempt to do three hours of exercise letting them all hang out. Actually, I will wear a tank top (or two) underneath a baggy t-shirt because I don’t want people noticing my liberated girls. Even with feelings of self consciousness, I feel amazingly free! Freedom of lymph is often spiritually connected to freedom of the soul.

To wrap your brain around unwrapped boobs and to counter any “buts” that you might have (believe me, I had them too), please peruse these FAQ’s at BraFree.org:
Aren’t bras GOOD for my breasts?
But women have worn bras forever…right?
Do bras cause breast cancer?
Do bras cause fibrocystic disease?
But I wear a bra so my breasts won’t sag…
Why do my breasts hurt at the end of the day?
Why are my breasts painful just before my period?
Should I wear a bra when I exercise? My breasts bounce a lot.
My breasts are HUGE. I couldn’t possibly go without a bra!
What will my boss say if my nipples show?
How can I keep my breasts healthy?

This “OUT OF THE POOL!” and “OFF WITH THE BRA!” moment stirs a fight response for women to regain their health and wellbeing! Join the movement for movement! Show support for no support! Let me know how it goes.