There is something that I don’t quite know what to do about in my life that I think about an awful lot and have put a whole lot of energy towards for a long time. I am wondering now if I can somehow put a space around it, like I have been putting spaces around other parts of my life. I don’t know when or if those spaces will fill in, but I am feeling good about the openness I am creating. I have learned in the past few weeks that the spaces I am making aren’t empty, they are just open, and they have a quality to them. I think the quality is love. Because that is what I am on a journey toward at every moment in my life and especially now that I recognize it, I am on a journey toward love. Which brings me to the point of this post. There is a closed space in my life where I am not opening for love. And that space is in my relationship with my very own body. My innermost and most heartfelt desire for myself has always been to live my life as my most clear and beautiful self. I express my thirst for beauty a thousand different ways in my life and I have gotten pretty good at recognizing it when it touches my heart. I am a believer in beauty in all of its forms. I am also a believer in self-acceptance and self-love. For all people and especially for women. I am the mother of a daughter, and I want her and all the women that follow us in our family to love themselves unconditionally. I want them to feel strong and powerful and absolutely beautiful in their bodies at all stages of their lives. This is what I believe in and what I want. And yet I struggle. Daily. With the scale. With the softness of my belly and the padding on my hips. With my clothing size. With my image in the mirror. That struggle is not love. I know it. But I still want this pared down version of myself. I feel like I will never be my most clear and beautiful self as long as I am this soft. This round. This heavy. It’s not just that the world won’t see me that way unless I fit into the normal range of the BMI charts. It’s that I never, ever want to allow myself to see me that way until I have earned it. Until I am perfect in some way that I have defined for myself in some far-away reaches of my mind that I am not even conscious of but still devote myself to. I wonder how to create a space of love around my relationship with my body. I think all the walking and yoga and conscious eating I do is a part of it. When I am able to do those things for love and not as punishment for feeling too fat. Which has long been a slippery slope. But one I have gotten better at navigating. Meditation and prayer and positive thoughts and affirmations are other parts. Choosing to dress in clothes that make me feel good is another. Recognizing my body for all it does for me and how it alive it feels helps. But I feel like there is something else I need to create a space for that I am still missing. And maybe if I am able to find that missing piece I will be able to move beyond this place I have been stuck in inside my body for so long. Maybe I will be able to be an example for my daughter in a way none of the women in my family were able to be for me. So I am claiming it now. A space for my body. A wide-open space that is filled with an incredible beauty all of its own. A space for softness and kindness and a space for movement and joy. A space for heartbeat and breath. A space for loveliness. A space for love.