Note: [Join Stephanie Rose Bird on June 3, 2017 for her workshop Cerridwen’s Pig at Life Force Arts Center.] I am what many people would call an Earth Mama. As an avid butterfly and wildflower gardener, herbalist, natural product designer, landscape painter, botanical arts instructor, companion to four animals, wife and mother of four children, I amply fit the profile.
Bringing my children into the world, nursing them and watching them grow are the pride and joy of my life. The problem is, I have been growing and expanding exponentially with each child, averaging a 60-pound weight gain per child. As a young woman, I found it relatively painless to lose the 180 pounds gained with the first three children, but my late in life baby was an altogether different story.
If you thought it was impossible for any woman to wear a few more hats, think again. In addition to my mothering roles, I am also a healer and shaman. These blessings help me cope with the more challenging aspects of life. When I had trouble casting off those extra 60 pounds, I turned to the realm of magick, nature and goddess-lore, to find support that doctors and nutritionists did not supply.
Now, when you have 90 pounds to lose, you know that you are in it for the long haul. I decided to get help around the house in the ways I knew best. I spiritually-cleansed my altar and added some special flowers and foods as offerings to my ancestral spirits. I planted a few of my own vegetables and herbs amongst my flowers, so that I could tend to them and watch them grow. Perhaps the most special places in my home though were the kitchen and bath.
My kitchen became like a holy shrine to my weight-loss. I discarded unhealthy foods and began replacing them with special herbal teas, seeds, nuts, berries, veggies and legumes. I meticulously cleaned and sanitized the cutting board, sharpened the kitchen knives and put fresh flowers on the windowsill to offer gentle support. The stove and refrigerator were cleansed (inside and out) with a combination of lemon and orange essential oils, baking soda and white vinegar. I posted eating guides concerning the glycemic index on the fridge and cabinets.
No domestic goddess, I did my best to keep things neatly arranged, not a small task with such a lively household. Finally, I called up the goddesses of health and hearth respectively Xel Chel and Hestia to keep my kitchen energy positive and reinforcing. I looked above my sink at my collection of dried corn and thanked the Corn Mothers, goddesses of fertility and harvest. The goddesses remind me daily that food is a sacred symbol of fertility, the fruit of a great harvest. Food is something to be shared, savored and enjoyed but never something to be greedily devoured to excess, without giving thanks.
Of course, eating live whole foods is not all spiritual; they require energy in preparation and acquisition. I dug up my old health-conscious magazines and cookbooks. My juicer was cleaned and I invested in a high-powered blender for fruity protein drinks. I returned to my health-food haunts. I dusted off my bike and began riding, instead of driving to get the food, sometimes when there was only a few things to buy I walked, carrying the groceries in a backpack. I increased the intensity of my household cleaning, not content to limit this great energy to the kitchen. I begin to garden more and spend more time outside with my children. All of this not only kept me busy but it burned calories and left less time to sit around ruminating over impending failures or emotional injuries from the past. It seemed like my days of freedom had returned, moreover I was winning the battle over food—it didn’t consume me, I consumed it, with purpose and joy.
The bathroom became a shrine of sorts as well. With the ample water and tea consumption, I was constantly in and out of the bathroom. I wanted it kept aromatic and appealing so I began cleaning it too with tea tree oil and lemongrass. Lighting incense is now a daily activity, especially the lovely Nag Champa from Thailand. Nag Champa helped me suspend judgments; I simply contemplated my progress. I took numerous baths, sometimes several times a day because water is such a powerful place of grounding and centering. I created my own sea salt blends in honor of Yemoya-Ologun, Nigerian orisha (spirits) of the sea. This made each bath a relaxing, sensory treat, as my Yemoya-Ologun blend includes eucalyptus, lemon verbena, peppermint, bay leaf, lavender, baking soda, Dead Sea salt and plenty of the muscle relaxant, Epsom Salt. A few seashells, stones, botanical soaps and natural products had transformed my bath from a place for doing business to an aromatic oasis in my home.
The bathroom was quickly transforming into a sacred personal space for thanking my body.
Following are a few personal affirmations that you might consider adopting:
- I thank my body for being the perfect temple of my soul
- I thank my body for being capable and strong
- I thank my body for its willingness to learn new habits
- I thank my body for letting part of itself go
- I thank my body for welcoming and supporting change
- I beg my body, please allow this transformation to be complete
I found these affirmations to be perfectly suitable accompaniments to soaping up my hands, rinsing my body, applying scented lotions and oils or simply as I’d recline and relax in a bubble bath. The subtitle of the book is: Be Relaxed, in control and Calm. That is my wish for you, as you go through its pages, and beyond, on your spiritual journey towards the wellness you seek.
Now that I’ve shared a little of my personal journey with you, I invite you to take the journey of connection to Earth Mama. The journey is towards wholeness, completion, health and self-realization. Come along; bring your sensible weight-loss program, read Earth Mama’s Spiritual Guide to Weight-loss and work steadily toward meeting your personal goals.
Stephanie Rose Bird is a Chicago area author, specializing in alternative spirituality, magick and mind, body, spirit connection. She is also a fine artist, working primarily with painting, and works-on-paper, inspired by nature. Her magickal books include: Sticks, Stones, Roots and Bones, Four Seasons of Mojo, A Healing Grove and the Big Book of Soul. Follow her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stephanierosebirdauthor/ or Twitter: https://twitter.com/StephanieRoseBi and visit her website: www.stephanierosebird.com for more on her work and upcoming events