Botticelli Belly

Imagefor all the C-Section Mamas

I love my Botticelli Belly

one year ago

brought my treasure forth

nearly nine pounds

cut the strings that make me young

and gave me that jiggle

nowadays after he’s drunk with dairy love

he plays my tambor

blows raspberries

waits for my giggle guffaw

‘til the belly gives a bonus shake and wiggle

I wrote this after my son was born in an effort to appreciate my body at that exact moment. A friend told me recently that she was reading one of my favorite authors, Anne Lamott, who was writing about body image.  She decided to call her thighs “the aunties” and give them names.  She looked at them like the eccentric aunts whom you love, but maybe they are a little embarrassing sometimes.  I know that when I looked at my belly’s stretch marks during the time of this poem, I thought, these are race tracks, yes, race tracks of love. If you are interested in rethinking your body image, become a facebook fan of the Body Image Movement founded by Australian Taryn Brumfitt or check out her website. She had been doing amazing things in the world to radiate love.

In my previous post, I talked about Self-Care September.  We are almost there.  I invite you to pick something to do for yourself on a regular basis and practice it. For example, it took me months to watch this 10 minute video about 10 mindful minutes of daily meditation—trust me it’s like no other, the guy juggles and will make you feel like you can do it.  Since I started that daily 10 minute meditation nearly a year ago, my physical manifestations of stress have disappeared. Stress still occurs, yet my reaction is different.  And here’s the clincher: all you have to do is breathe.  You are already doing that.

Or maybe you are going to use September to make a year’s worth of doctor’s appointments for yourself.  Or maybe you want to go back to school, but can’t afford tuition right now. Why not finally master math, science or learn about the arts and humanities for free?  You can enroll in Khan Academy where this non-profit online learning resource led by MIT and Harvard graduate Sal Khan walks you through any number of concepts in 17-20 minutes.

Or take some time to dream about that vacation you want to take and actually make a savings plan, vision board, a declaration to go.

I believe in you.  You believe in you. Take September to start anew.

The Sun, a Monster and Spring Bikes in Bloom

Monster by JL Villarreal
“Look over your shoulder. It’s not there. We carry it all inside us.” –Natalie Goldberg, Writer

At thirteen years old, I transferred from a parochial Catholic school to an intense, academically challenging, amazing Quaker school. There was a teacher there who told me during a studio art class, “That’s not the sun, silly.” And from there, I did not stick with visual art for almost two decades. Though I did lots of creative things, in that moment, I let her shut down my vision of what I could draw and paint.

In my late twenties and early thirties, I just started buying paints and taking photos. I was always writing.  My first painting was an abstract of the sun called “That’s not the sun, silly.” It was my defiant step into the world of visual art.  Since then, I have participated in several visual art group shows and even had a solo photography show which also featured large installations of poetry.  

I share my story to invite you to step into your courage. 

Is there some area at any point in your life where someone told you that you were not good enough? Or perhaps you didn’t have the formal education so you don’t count your talents?  Did you stop trying? Do you still long for it? Take one step to try.  See what happens.

I’m happy to post my son’s painting titled “Monster” and to celebrate the public art installation I witnessed on the way to work. Art is everywhere!

Tonight at midnight, the contest closes for my blog followers.  Do you want to win a box of personalized inspirating gifts just for you?  Details are here: http://wp.me/p2Kzj7-8W

Art Bikes on Franklin Street, Chicago, IL

Art Bikes on Franklin Street, Chicago, IL