In cultures that experience four seasons, fall has traditionally been considered a sacred time. In certain earth-based traditions, November 1st is actually considered the true New Year and the last day of the year, October 31st, is understood and celebrated as a day in which there is a thinner veil between the living and the dead. This is a time to grieve and mourn and re-member those who have passed on before us but also to celebrate their lives and the lives that WE are still lucky enough to be living!
The contemporary way that Halloween is celebrated in the United States trivializes and commodifies this ancient and healing tradition though it does get one thing right: the joy. Despite our dominant culture’s association with death as a negative, hateful thing that we should always be trying NOT to think about… October 31st and November 1st come to remind us of our own mortality and to be grateful for the living that we get to do while we get to do it. Far from being a wholly somber practice, there is celebration in knowing that we are part of a cycle of natural life and death that started long before our existence and will continue long after we cease to exist.
Part of the reason that Diet Culture is so successful in pushing its agenda is that we have been thoroughly separated from this natural, earth-based cycle and from the reality of our own mortality. Diet Culture promises ever-lasting life if we can only learn to control and dominate our bodies into thinness, which of course (in Diet Culture) is the marker of supreme health. If we engage in the practices of Diet Culture, we are told, we can stop the aging process and live forever.
But Body Liberation has to be Death Positive which (though, “death positive” may sound scary) just means accepting that death is a reality and, if we are lucky, so is getting older.
This week’s UNLEASHED invites you to play with these ideas, with this moment where the wheel of the year turns and we are reminded again that we are earth-bound creatures who are meant to live unique lives with multiple, intersecting identities that each deserve body respect, body acceptance and body kindness.
is an NSCA-Certified Personal Trainer; an ACE-Certified Group Fitness Instructor; a certified Yoga Teacher; a Certified Intuitive Eating Professional; and a degree-holding Health, Fitness Specialist. She lives in Frankfort, Michigan and owns Every. Body. Fitness and Yoga Studio.