the world needs your lightness: a letter to my body image students on our last day of class

the world needs your lightness

And so we are done.

But here’s the thing:  you are not done (and neither am I).

That is, once you have accepted it, the great miracle and joy of life.  The thing about life is that the shape of it is always changing.  You are always changing.  We grow up and think we can create this one life where we choose our people and our pleasures and just exhale into it without anything changing but the day of the week.  We think we can force life into the shape that we want if we are just good enough or pretty enough or smart enough.

If there is only one thing that you hold onto as you leave our shared sacred space, it is this: you are already enough. Everything about you is worthy and good and important.  You matter not because of the size of your body, the length of your hair, the color of your skin, or whether or not you have your degree.  You mattered the moment you opened your eyes onto this world and you will matter long after you close your eyes to this world for the last time.

That is the irony of realizing that nothing is permanent.  The lack of permanence is not something to dread but something to celebrate and embrace.  If you ache for change, if you want a world that is different, if you want your world to be different, it is all possible.  All it calls for is for you to bring your sweet heart, strong soul, able body, and sharp mind into union together to yield the action that you have been dreaming of, to give the world what you were most meant to offer it right now.  Do that over and over again, and you have found the purpose of life.

There may have been a time where you doubted the brilliant beauty of the union of all of you in concert together.  There may have been a time when the organic nature of everything caused you panic.  But here is what you now know deep down inside if you will allow yourself to remember it:  the organic nature of life is where all its beauty is.  The organic nature of you is where all your beauty is.  When things are static, they gather dust, they lose attention and meaning, they evaporate from our consciousness.  Vitality is not found in the thing that never changes.  Vitality is found in the thing that is always changing, always growing, always journeying.

And you, beautiful you, already have everything you need within you for that journey.  You have everything the world is asking of you deep down inside.  Maybe you didn’t realize that it was significant enough to give, maybe you didn’t realize that just as it occurs to you that you need a shift, your heart, soul, and body are prepared to offer that to you if you will only get still enough to listen to the wisdom you hold deep down inside.

Be ready for you, dear one, because the world is hungry for what you have to offer. 

On the first day of class, I shared a letter with you and in it, I said that I hoped that on our last day together, you would leave this space with your eyes up, ready to recognize and greet those who approach you not just because you know that other souls should be seen but also because you understand that to hide your soul from us is to deny the world of one of its greatest gifts- you.

You have so much to offer.  I am so humbled by what I have witnessed in you.  And I am buoyed by what I know you have to give.

Show up.  Shift.  Shine on.

You are so bright, and the world needs your lightness.   

At the end of each semester, I write my students a letter that is unique to their class.  This was the letter for my body image class this semester.

Want to read some past letters?

We hunger to be known.  

Answer the call into your own greatness 

Radiate Love 

Do the world’s work 

And here is the letter I share with them on the first day of school.  

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