Wednesday, March 31, 2010
EmBody Talk: Jo Lynne Valerie, Paranormal Author & Metaphysical Wise Woman
Jo Lynne Valerie and I clicked right away. We share similar pasts, and we've both come to similar conclusions and created happiness for ourselves.
Jo Lynne, for me, stands out as a never-get-ruffled, do-the-hard-work Creative Soul and Mother. Just read her tweets for a week, and you'll be introduced to a classy, unique woman, who will inspire you and make you giggle. My favorite combination.
Jo Lynne Valerie is an Award-Winning author of Paranormal Fiction, magazine columnist, and the former editor of print publications Nature’s Wisdom Magazine and Full Moon Rising Magazine. She was a writer for a PBS television show on holistic health, which she eventually co-hosted. Jo Lynne Valerie is known for the metaphysical classes she teaches both locally and online, including Numerology, Cosmology, Aromatherapy, Intuitive Development, Tarot, and Shamanic Meditation.
Ms. Valerie offers regular newsletters to readers via e-mail, consisting of holistic and spiritual tid-bits and musings from her writer’s life. Her website is www.JoLynneValerie.com, and her highly interactive and personal blog can be seen at www.JoLynneValerie.blogspot.com. She is also active on Myspace, Facebook and Twitter.
What is the first story that comes to mind when you are asked how you feel about your body?
I have to say, Christine, it's not a story that comes to mind when I'm asked that question, but rather my personal opinion of how women's bodies are viewed in our culture. This is sort of a hot spot for me. I've written about it and spoken publicly many times, regarding my view of this issue. In my opinion, there is just far too much emphasis put on the body, which I know is really the shell for our true being. Women are pressured by the media, by the opposite sex, and by the voice in their own minds - to look a certain way. That 'way' is often objectified: a sex object.
Yet at the same time, as the former Editor of a holistic health publication, I know obesity in our country is at an all time high, posing and creating very serious health risks. So it's important to take care of our bodies and to manage our weight. Particularly in our culture, where fast food (which means salt and sugar) and processed food (which means horrific hidden ingredients), is so abundant.
But I think cultivating a healthy and balanced view of one's body is quite a different topic from cultivating a healthy and balanced diet, although the two are related. In all, to answer your question, I'd like to see women feel less pressured for their bodies to look a certain way, and more motivated to cultivate healthy bodies.
Do you weigh yourself? Why or why not?
Great question! I don't weigh myself. This hails back to something my fitness trainer told me 2 1/2 years ago when he was helping me get into shape. At that time, he advised me to judge my (healthy) weight according to how well my clothes fit me, as well as the size I was able to fit comfortably into. He informed me that during weight loss, we can trade fat weight which is undesirable, for lean muscle mass, which is very desirable. So a woman may weigh 150 pounds and need to work on her body's balance and health - OR - conversely, a woman may weigh 150 pounds and be in great shape.
So no, I do not weigh myself; I know that if I'm wearing a certain size and things look and feel good, I'm doing well in the area of healthy weight management.
How do you like shopping for bathing suits and/or jeans (or any article of clothing)? How do you feel during the experience and after? What do you typically do about the feelings that are brought up?
(laughs) Well, I've had very different experiences, at different times in my life! Shopping for an outfit after I'd just had a baby was not so much fun. Nowadays, I enjoy it. :) I really enjoy fashion, so shopping for clothes has always been a lot of fun for me.
However, because I am a busty girl, I have had challenges in the past. It used to be hard to find clothes that fit me everywhere. Back when I was attending lots of fundraising events and broadcast galas, I found myself in need of evening wear, sometimes gowns. I would have to buy a gown several sizes too large, then have it tailored down, in order for the dress to fit my bust as well as it did the rest of me. It was frustrating.
I've had the same experience at a well known lingerie store, as it only carries pretty, fashionable bras such as the ones in their advertisements, up to a certain cup size. The larger cup sizes they do carry are very limited and not at all pretty. I find this to be a form of discrimination. Particularly because my cup size is not outrageous at all! Due to professionalism and legalities, I'll decline to name the store, but I will mention this same store asked a new mother, who'd gone into a fitting room to try on some garments and then lingered to nurse her new baby, to leave the store - and that incident made national news. I now shop at a privately owned boutique for all my lingerie. My lingerie looks great, I delight in browsing their posh shop, and they serve wine to their customers. Who can top that?!
(Blisschick here: Have to interrupt a second and say WOW! How ignorant about the nursing mother and DOUBLE WOW to a privately owned boutique where they serve wine!? I want one of those!!!)
What unattainable/unrealistic Rules do you have for your body? (For example, some women believe that only a certain size is acceptable or that certain foods are “bad.”)
I know what you mean. I once knew a woman (this is going back many years) who related that she refused to buy a pair of jeans above a size three. I don't recall what I actually responded, but I do recall what I thought - I remember thinking I'd just learned how utterly insecure and delicate she was. I couldn't imagine not giving myself permission to be human, or putting that kind of horrific pressure on myself! To me, realizing that our bodies change as we go through cycles, age, or transition from one stage of life to the next, is a sign of maturity and self acceptance.
I do not have any rules for my body such as the one I mentioned above; my only rule is that I feed my body good food it can interpret as fuel or medicine. I make sure the food is delicious in order to delight the taste buds - we are intended to enjoy food, after all, otherwise it would taste like sand! :)
Because I have always been very passionate about holistic health and as my spirituality is key in my life, honoring my body with healthy, medicinal food that is also delicious, makes me happy. :)
When have you felt best about your body? or When do you currently feel best about your body?
I felt fantastic the summer I worked with my fitness trainer! He really pushed me, but in a good way, to give my body what it needed to be toned, fit, and strong. The mind-spirit connection was wonderful, during that time. It was also great that my kids got into the routine of yogurt and berries with granola for breakfast and salad for dinner a few nights a week, too!
For me, because I'm petite (5'1") but big busted, I look and feel best as a size 6. I'm there, now. :)
What kind of movement does your body crave or do you not notice this craving?
I am a cardio girl! I adore cardio, much to the surprise of many. I can get my cardio from good, smart walking, or I can hit an elliptical. I also adore aerobic exercise. I also like circuit training, for what it does. Left to my own devices, I'd never weight-train at all (circuit or otherwise), but I learned how important this is for health.
For spiritual exercise, I practice a combination of Hatha-Vinyasa yoga at least twice a week. I have also practiced Tai Chi, and as I write this, I realize I'd love to get back to it. :)
What story would your body like to tell if you were able to listen?
What a beautiful final question. I have been there, Christine. My body has communicated with me under very desperate circumstances - and I've had to listen.
When I was Editor in Chief of Nature's Wisdom Magazine, I was running the magazine (which was a tri-city print publication with a full staff), communicating three times a week to film our holistic health television show in studio for PBS, and I was running The Natural Food Cupboard as well as planning all magazine-related events, of which there were many, frequently. In time, that break-neck pace manifested as high blood pressure - in the stroke zone. I had to slow down, stop some things entirely, and make my health my priority.
It was an incredible learning experience, a powerful wake up call, and an awe-inspiring testament to the power we have to heal ourselves, with the help of good, natural things, of course. *winks*
Thanks for having me, Christine! This has been a most sublime pleasure.
I love Jo Lynne's emphasis on eating food that tastes good and is good fuel for her body. As I dance and workout more every day, I find this is the key to not succumbing to old habits of disordered eating.
Feeling great is my primary motivation now. The fact that new clothes are being purchased that look great is a total side effect.
What's most important is that I remain strong and injury free so that I may continue to dance for the rest of my life.
Thanks for sharing your bright and sparkling wisdom, Jo Lynne!