She is frequently blue, very often black and blue, because she is always walking around with her head in the clouds. Early in her life, as a child, trauma caused her to disconnect from her physical body. She told her therapist that it was as if her spirit were floating ahead of her with her body bumping along on the ground behind her. This realization came to her in a dream and she was shocked. She had always had trouble with her weight, but it was her body that had the weight problem, not her. She saw them as separate entities, her body and herself. When her therapist said, not unkindly, "Olivia, what you are doing is a socially acceptable form of suicide," it shocked her to her core. She stood in front of the mirror that night, naked, and poked herself gently with her finger, surprised to feel the soft flesh of her stomach. She turned this way and that. She was nearly 50 years old and she was meeting her physical body for the very first time.
"Hello," she said shyly, and she looked in awe. Tears ran down her cheeks, this time not tears of sadness but tears of love, she felt a tenderness toward that which she had refused to recognize as her own. Her body had been subjected to so much abuse she did not believe that it was something that she could love. Socially acceptable form of suicide. Good Lord. She was not suicidal, she didn't want to die, she just wanted to rid herself of that which had caused her so much pain. She hid from it, she thought she had grown past the abuse, but it was there, lingering in her body still. The biggest shock of all was that the abuse was continuing, but this time it was self-inflicted, she was trying to kill it, and in doing so she was killing herself. The unrelenting pain was not the result of childhood abuse, it was a result of that which she held onto, however unconsciously. It was on that night that Olivia decided to take the first steps toward loving herself. She turned this way and that. She looked at her large dimpled thighs, her very large hips and bottom as she called it, only this time she looked at them as if they were a curiosity separate from herself. When she looked in the mirror she never saw herself as heavy because she had healed and grown enough to love herself and she was growing into the place where her spirit could no longer take the journey without the rest of her. Her body and soul needed to meet one another and make friends.
She began the journey that night, but it would be a long one because it was less about what she ate than the integration of these two parts of herself. It was a bumpier journey than she would realize and often it frightened her, but as time went along she began to change color, slowly, ever so slowly, and she found herself wrapping her arms around her body, hugging it, her heart expanding to encompass it. Her tears dried and she knew that she would make it, some way, some day, somehow.
It was on that night that she truly understood that having compassion for others without having it for herself was not true compassion, not in its fullest sense, for she had to love herself in order to love others, to understand them, and if she was to be of service to others she had to start with herself. She fell on her knees and prayed.
Olivia talked a lot about the present moment, but she could only be present if she let go of the past and tended to the now. She remembered the line from the Dr. Seuss book that she had read to her children, read so often she had memorized it. "The time has come, the time is now, Marvin K. Mooney will you please go now." It was Olivia's time to go, to leave the place of the land of disconnect and travel to the land of integration. What a strange and wonderful world she began to find as the two halves of herself began to come together. She was no longer black and blue, she was all the colors of the rainbow, and for the first time in her life she felt beautiful inside and out. It was when she began to walk in the world as a whole woman, heart, mind, body and soul woven together as one that she could do the work she was born to do. She looked at others, now, with true compassion, and she never looked back again. Divine acceptance of herself was the key to the door she had never been able to unlock. She opened the door and went inside. She was home.