Project Body Love: the book I never intended to write

Jan 8, 2019


Nearly four years ago


by the light of a candle in the pre-dawn hours,

with a steaming mug of coffee between my forearms as I typed,

I started writing a book.


Unlike so many authors describe

– battles of writer’s block and self-doubt and hours upon hours of staring blankly into the middle distance –

this book

poured out of me.


But it wasn’t the book I wanted to write.


I’ve been writing since I was a very small child: my first writing memories were of me, a pudgy ten-year-old huddled in the corner of the dodgeball court, ducking flying balls as I penned my first novel.

I wrote that very first book on looseleaf paper in a red and turquoise binder that I would hand to my best friend every night: she was my editor, and she would bring it back to me the next morning with the appropriate corrections.

I submitted dark poetry to be published in heavy anthologies for the low-low price of $19.95, and in junior high I wore combat boots, read everything Margaret Atwood ever wrote, and tried to convince my friends to start a poetry club.

I always knew I would write a book, but a book about body love?  I never saw it coming.


Maybe I should have: it’s something I’ve wrestled with my entire life, and writing is my catharsis; it’s how I make sense of the world.

But I thought I would write something,

you know,

more important.

Something feminist, or academic, or literary.

And yet.

A few weeks ago, I sat across the couch from a woman I was with on a retreat.  She had just gotten off the phone with her young daughter.  They had talked for an hour about how her daughter was feeling about her body, how she was struggling to feel accepting and accepted in her own skin.

And yet.

Every. single. woman.  Every. single. powerful woman I’ve met and talked to about this book has confessed to me that she has felt everything from confusion to ambivalence to red hot hatred toward her body.  Every. single. woman.

And so.


Here we are.  Perhaps, then, there is nothing more important than this.


Because how do we start a revolution if we’re too busy

pining over the way we look in the mirror, turning to the side and to the front again,

pulling at our clothes,

running on the hamster wheel of self-loathing?


How do we start a revolution if not by healing the very wounds

that were devised to keep us small?


How do we start a revolution 

if not right here?  

Right now?


Project Body Love: my quest to love my body and the surprising truth I found instead



Available now!



The Becoming Podcast has been on a short hiatus while I focus on writing my book, but oh what a comeback episode I have for you!

This month, I spoke to Toko-pa Turner, who many of you may know as the unofficial patron saint of many of my circles and gatherings because of the sheer number of times I’ve quoted from the wisdom of her book, Belonging.

Toko-pa is a Canadian author, teacher, and dreamworker. Blending the mystical teachings of Sufism in which she was raised with a Jungian approach to dreams, she founded The Dream School in 2001, from which thousands of students have graduated. She is the author of the award-winning book, Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home, which explores the themes of exile and belonging through the lens of dreams, mythology, and nature. This book has resonated for readers worldwide, and has been translated into 10 different languages so far. Her work focuses on the relationship between psyche and nature, and how to follow our inner wisdom to meet with the social, psychological, and ecological challenges of our time.

Here’s some of what Toko-pa and I talk about in this episode:

> The dream that changed Toko-pa’s life, causing her to question her career and, ultimately, her identity

> How we can court our dreams to support us during times of radical transformation – and the reasons so many of us have a hard time remembering and working with what shows up in our dreamscape

> Toko-pa’s perspective on the message of Belonging after the divisiveness our society has experienced in the years since it was published

> What happened for both Toko-pa and I when we fell out of belonging from the ideologies of the “wellness world”

> How to build community when you’re under-resourced

> “The Big Lie” when it comes to belonging, and how we can reclaim a sense of belonging to the greater family of things, as Mary Oliver so famously wrote

Listen to the episode on iTunes


Show Notes

Toko-pa’s Website

Belonging:  Remembering Ourselves Home, Toko-pa’s book

The David Abram video about animism mentioned in the interview

Toko-pa’s self-guided program, Dream Drops

Companion, the program that accompanies Belonging


Also, while you’re at it, if you enjoy The Becoming Podcast, I would be so grateful if you would rate and review, and even subscribe to it on iTunes.  That goes a long way to helping more and more people find and benefit from hearing these interviews!  Thank you so much!