Noticing Fat

“Hello darkness my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again.” – Simon & Garfunkel

Amidst an otherwise still moment of gazing through a window at dunes that lead out towards the beach and a feathered blue sky, I notice a whisper from a dusty corner of my mind.

“You’re getting fat.”

My right hand that was resting at my hip floats over to graze my belly, and then my thumb and index finger find a bit of skin to pinch. My gaze remains over the ocean.

I am hungry.

I turn towards the kitchen and walk to the fridge. I open it. Yogurt, fruit, leftover chicken.  Nothing draws my attention.  I turn to the snack drawer and survey a selection of granola, nuts, bars, and crackers.  Same thing.

Hoping to bring consciousness to my choice rather than picking mindlessly from available options, I tune in to my hunger curious about what it is I really want.  I shut the drawer and sit down, settling my gaze back out over the ocean.

For someone who was once plagued with acute anxiety around food and my body, times like these are sparse these days. I frequently marvel at the ease with which I eat from a diverse range of satisfying options.

Today, however, this old friend peaked out from under the woodwork.

The visit got me thinking about “fat,” and how absurd it is – or at least how my relationship with it is.

Somewhere in my psyche decades ago, I took on the belief that fat was so bad that I was willing to at one time put my life at risk to prevent it. Really.

On this otherwise lovely day, a fear of fat creeps in. And with it, comes confusion, self-judgment, and a body position that is folded in on itself.

I notice that when I feel fat, I am grabbing my belly or looking down at it. My shoulders are hunched over. It’s a stance of shame and unworthiness.

I consider for a moment what I’ve learned about my body and its wisdom.  I consider the ways the body talks – through injuries and sickness – helping us to discover better choices for our overall wellbeing.

Thoughts start to churn about the significance of a woman’s belly – about my belly.   The center of gravity, the dantian, the creative center, where we conceive and grow babies.

I turn to Google for a moment and type in “dantian” and read:

“…the term dantian is often used interchangeably with the Japanese word hara (腹; Chinese: ) which means simply “belly”. In Chinese, Korean, and Japanese traditions, it is considered the physical center of gravity of the human body and is the seat of one’s internal energy (qi). A master of calligraphy, swordsmanship, tea ceremony, martial arts, among other arts, is held in the Japanese tradition to be ‘acting from the hara’.”

Masters act from the belly.  Human life begins in the belly.  I place my hand back over my belly and breathe.  


  1. Jeff on March 21, 2018 at 11:17 am

    hells yes to hara. a beautiful description of a visit that led you to some wonderful ponderings …

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