Ahimsa (अहिंसा): non-harming

I am more than a number on the scale.

I am strong.

I climb mountains.

I hike for hours and see places others only imagine.

I kayak along rivers and around lakes, seeing mink and beaver at play and sunsets that take your breath away.

I am strong.

I am more than a number on the scale.

I wish these were the affirmations I say on a daily basis, but lately they are far from my mind. Instead, I have been beating myself up, berating myself for not being able to lose “those last ten pounds”. I have analyzed every morsel of food that enters my body for its fat, sodium and calorie content. I skip hiking because the elliptical is a “better burn”. And I love hiking…

This time of year we are bombarded with weight loss schemes. You can’t pick up a magazine that doesn’t tell you how to lose “8, 10, even 15 pounds!” By just walking. Perhaps I’m noticing it more right now because a girlfriend dropped off a bag of magazines. Fitness, Self, Prevention, Whole Living. I’ve been spending my evenings going through each one, gleaning information of all kinds. The theme of them all (except Whole Living which I truly enjoy) is weight loss: every magazine, website, television commercial emphasizes the importance of being thin and more importantly, how to get there. This exercise routine, this “super food”, this trick of the trade…all focusing on the importance being your ideal “weight”. There is infomercial after infomercial on how you can do this plan and see visible results in 90 days or “your money back!” You can be buff. You can be thin. You can be happy! Somewhere along the way we’ve grouped thin in with happy. You can’t be happy if you aren’t thin. People will like you more. You will wear all the latest fashions (skinny jeans? Please! I gave those up in 1985.) And it’s not just thin, you have to be the ideal weight. Drop pounds…lose weight… there is little on being strong (unless it’s a gym workout being sold) and healthy. Usually I only read “Yoga Journal” and now I remember why!

As I look back over the past year, I have to remember that I’ve lost 14 pounds, 10+ inches, and have climbed my first 4000 footer (4832 to be exact). I can do a side plank and the plow (in yoga) and am working hard on the shoulder stand. I am flexible. I am off all medications and I have cut my migraines in half. I am more calm, centered, and less stressed. That’s damn good for 11 months!

I want to judge my life on the mountains I climb, the happiness of my family, the people I call friends, and the good I do for the planet (and the people who inhabit it). I find it hard to believe that anyone will look back and think, “gee, if she’d only lost those last 10 pounds she would have been a better person.”

So this morning when I got ready for work I dressed in my favorite Levis jeans (they aren’t the smallest pair in my drawer, but they are the most comfortable!), one of my favorite hiking tops, and laced up my hiking boots. They are reminders that I am strong! I climb mountains! I am more than a number on the scale.

2 thoughts on “Ahimsa (अहिंसा): non-harming

  1. Erin Cote says:

    You are so right! Why isn’t this the stuff we read in magazines? Affirming our strengths and attributes and those beautiful shoulders, that while they may not look as good as we hoped – hold more than most can bear!

  2. Julie Orrok Slack says:

    We tend to forget our inner strength (and outer strength unless it’s “ripped”) when we judge ourself in front the mirror. We forget how much we can put our bodies through every day and we take it for granted. Ask anyone who can’t climb that mountain anymore or even walk a flight of stairs. They would care less what the scale said if they could just be healthy again.

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