I attended a Fat Liberation class on Monday night. I had never even heard of such of thing and had no idea what to expect.
Even more intriguing to me was the fact that it was held at East Bay Meditation Center in Oakland (EBMC).
EBMC opened it’s doors about five years ago – specifically to welcome those who are often not welcomed at many local Buddhist Centers – specifically people of color; LGBTQI folk (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and intersex) and people whose disabilities make a traditional sit challenging. And, amazingly, all of their programming is offered on a donation basis – insuring that economic circumstances do not hinder anyone’s ability to participate.
What a model for the rest of the world!
So, off I went to Fat Liberation class. After all – in every Buddhist group of which I have been a part of (and that’s quite a number), the people (except for me) were exclusively thin. Very thin. I’ve always thought it rather humorous that all of these thin people quietly sit around breathing. And almost always there’s is a statue somewhere around of a Buddha with a fat belly. But in my experience, many of these Buddhists haven’t achieved a state of non-attachment when it comes to prejudices against those who are not thin (sounds like great material for a future comedy routine : )
So, on Monday night – for the first time in my life, I sat in a room of about 25 people. None of whom were thin. And all of whom were meditating together. No longer “the other.”
It was a very intriguing and healing experience.
I do realize that perhaps the majority of people reading this post are thin. I am writing this post because I believe that the most powerful part of my Fat Liberation evening many be beneficial to you. Yes you.
I challenge you to spend ten minutes of your time expanding your horizon.
Here’s the simple instructions. Find another person. Sit (or stand) facing each other. For five minutes, one person (person A) will ask a question. The other person (person B) will answer. Person A then says “thank you” (and absolutely nothing more). And Person A asks the question again. Person B answers. Person A says “thank you.” And asks the question again, etc. At the end of five minutes, the two switch roles.
Now – here’s the question. “What would it be like if you offered kindness to your body. Just as it is. In this moment?”
When the instructor explained this exercise, I’ll admit. I rolled my eyes. And thought that this was one of the dumbest things I had been asked to do in a long time. But I did it. And I’m so glad that I did. It was so illuminating. And,from the discussion afterward, it was for everyone in the room.
Go ahead. It’s just ten minutes. It may transform the relationship you have with your body.
RhondaJo Boomington is a Southern transplant from North Carolina. She landed in the haven of Berkeley six years ago and never plans to leave. Formerly a fundamentalist who voted for Jesse Helms many times, she now relishes her liberal lesbian life in the Bay Area and is frustrated that Obama is not liberal enough. She has earned a J.D. and an MDiv., and performs in the Bay Area as a stand up comedian and solo performance artist.