By Sheila Kelley


Reposted With Permission By Sheila Kelley S Factor


Oh my body, my body, my sweet ‘girl’. My relationship with my body was a rocky one most of my life, but it has been repaired after a long, hard climb. When your body moves like liquid and bliss, your judgmental mind ceases to judge. That’s what I’ve discovered through S Factor fluid feminine movement. Love of, compassion for, pride in, my body – something I never imagined I would ever come to.

One person who helped me truly see my body was my hub-man, Richard. He didn’t realize he was helping me; but, in 1999 as I practiced dancing for the film, Dancing at the Blue Iguana in his office, I watched him watching me as I swung on the pole or circled my hips at the wall. I noticed him experiencing visual nirvana. It was so fascinating. Then I began to notice his eyes watching me all the time… well, watching my body that is. I would be speaking to someone at a party and his eyes would follow my arms and hands as I gestured, describing some tale I was telling. Then I began to notice men all over the place, out on the street, in the shopping mall, watching women with pure appreciation – and I mean ALL women. Men would watch women of all sizes and shapes and ages, and there was awe in their expressions. Of course, there was that little thing called lust in there, too, but beyond that, underneath it, was the eye of an art connoisseur.

I remember in college hearing my dance teacher say, “Your body is your temple. Treat it that way,” in an effort to get all of us dance majors to stop eating donuts for breakfast. I didn’t get it. I mean, I understood intellectually what she was saying but I didn’t understand it viscerally or emotionally. I never implemented it because I don’t own a temple and wouldn’t know what to do with one if I did. A temple? It’s too austere, non-feeling, and immobile. How can you feel for a temple? How can you nurture a temple? How can a temple breathe and move and, most importantly, dance? So I stuck with my Snickers and Coke for lunch through college (the thought of it now makes me kind of woozy). What I needed was an analogy that moved me.

After I grew up and eventually started teaching S Factor, I saw each and every one of my student’s bodies stunningly emerge into the great creatures they were meant to be. I was awestruck. Their bodies were so sweet and beautiful. Each body seemed to breathe on its own, feel on its own, and have its own personality separate from that of the woman who lived in it. It was then that I began to see my students’ bodies as their gifted children. I grew fiercely protective of their bodies and became their advocate.

The great gift I received through the accumulation of S Factor, my students and my hub-man’s eyes was that I, too, began to see my own body as a gifted child and my entire relationship with ‘her’ changed. First, I began to think of my body as ‘her’ instead of ‘it.’ I stopped saying crappy things about her and even tried to stop thinking bad things about her. I saw the vulnerability of her and grew protective of her instead of hard on her. I listened to my body when she was tired and let her rest instead of pushing her too hard.

I encourage you to give it a try, to consciously see your body like your very own gifted child. Treat her the way you would your own flesh and blood. (After all, she is!) The change in your behavior might be subtle and almost unnoticeable or it might be earthshakingly eye opening, which it was for me. Either way, it will affect you.

Forget your bank account, your house, and your jewelry. Your body is your greatest asset. She’s your girl, your confidante, your best friend, your baby, your lover, your nurturer and your slave. She does things for you that you don’t even think about or necessarily appreciate. She houses you, gives you a home on this planet, tastes your food, cries your tears, breathes for you, pumps your blood, hears the good and bad news, smiles for you, communicates for you — she’s vulnerable, your body. She only wants to make you happy. She only wants to keep you alive. She will do anything you tell her to do within her range. She only wants to make you love her. She only wants to make you proud of her.

And what do we do for her in return? We criticize and judge. We stare at her in the mirror after a shower and think how big our bellies are getting, how ugly our cellulite is or how jiggly our butts are. We slough off compliments like dead skin. To: “What great legs,” we reply: “Oh no, they’re too thick,” instead of a simple “thank you” and a proud touch to the leg. We sometimes keep food from her or shove too much in her, depending on our mood. We put things in her mouth to make us feel good when we’re having a bad day because we didn’t get the promotion at work that we wanted so badly. However, it is those things (doughnuts, coffee, Snickers bars, cigarettes, potato chips, etc.) that ultimately make us feel bad.

Worse than that, those things hurt our ‘girl.’ If we’re pissed off about something, we should deal with it head on rather than taking it out on our bodies. It’s the person who didn’t give us the promotion that we should be shoving the cookies at, not our precious bodies. Before we feed, judge or criticize we need to ask, “Would I do this or say this to my child?” If we call our bodies “fat,” “ugly,” “too skinny” or “too jiggly” it’s a form of body abuse because our bodies absorb that negativity and shrink, just like a child would. Kind of a sobering thought, huh?

We have gifts to learn from our male counterparts and S Factor, like how to love and appreciate a female body. We need to admire, praise, nurture and worship our bodies. Think about it. We, as women, are the greatest nurturers, lovers, and compassionates. We, who feel so deeply for others, now need to turn that sensitivity on ourselves. Find your empathy for this glorious miracle of a body that has carried your old soul around this planet for 20, 30, 40, 50 or even 60 to 100 years? Your body deserves a damn medal, woman! Medal of honor, medal of bravery, and medal for manual labor (needs no explanation). It’s not easy keeping us alive.

You run the world, girl, and that body you live in is taking you along for the wonderful ride of life. It’s the only body you are ever going to have. The choice is yours: love her and protect her or stay trapped in the vicious circle of self-judgment and criticism. Your body is a walking miracle, a wild work of art of major proportions. Treat her that way.