I was trying on a pair of my favorite jeans the other morning and I just couldn’t get them on. It was frustrating and I really felt awful about myself. I stood in front of the mirror and began to cry. Looking down I saw a jiggly belly and rippled thighs that expand in all directions. I want to expand my horizons and boundaries but this was not what I had in mind!

These experiences are painful, so why do we do it to ourselves? Why don’t I just fill my closet with pants that fit me and make me feel good about myself? Well, there’s a science behind this that has something to do with anger and adrenaline. Anger in the body is experienced as tense muscles, tightness in the skin, a closing off of our boundary to the world (to protect us) and to get ready for a fight. It’s powerful in its force. But it’s also actually addictive. Our neurobiology rewards us in adrenaline rushes and alertness. It’s becomes thrill-seeking and triggers dopamine reward centers in the brain. It boosts ego. Actually a lot of people who exercise intensely are affected by this because it also works in reverse…consciously tensing muscles, hardening the body produces the same biochemical result. This is where my old pants size comes in. I have to suck in my gut and tighten my body just to attempt to get in to them. That action of tightening and tensing causes stress, tension and anger in me. Which is addictive I guess???

And maybe that’s why Trump’s featured so prominently in my daily life, making 2017 an intensely angry year for me. I wake up everyday dreading what Trump might say or do next. His words and actions have defined by reactions. He angers me. He makes me harden myself to the world. But these feelings of anger and stress are to the body like rust to metal. It closes out cell walls, tightens our muscles and skin, limits our thinking and makes seeing choices or being open to different possibilities more difficult. In other words it does not support a healthy intelligent, supple body. In other words, I am only hurting myself and limiting my potential for change.

So I am ditching Trump and my old pants size. I am not going to react to every little thing he says or does. I am not going to punish myself for my ever changing body. I am going to find moments or experiences in my day that balance me out. I am going to choose to soften my body to allow openness that supports the other emotions of compassion, kindness and hope. It is these feelings I want to nurture. You see, these emotions support us in a different way, by reducing blood pressure, promoting suppleness and allowing for cognitive flexibility. In our world we face many unprecedented challenges. It’s going to take a different way of thinking about things to solve them. It’s going to take a different way of being in our bodies to embrace them. I am going to continue working to make my community and my world a better place. I am going to continue to fight for human rights, but I’m not going to get sidetracked by all the noise out there, and I refuse to shadow box anymore.

Join me! Let 2018 be the year you truly embrace you! Get rid of those damn pants and STOP LISTENING TO THE LOUD MOUTH IN THE OVAL OFFICE.