Well Now Explorer January 2021

Live zoom session Mondays  07:00 – 8.30pm.https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85804373584

Meeting ID: 858 0437 3584 Passcode: 078019

Email questions for live session: lucy.aphramor@gmail.com

Activity One

Radical Body Love 

A range of different terms get used to disrupt everyday body oppression and replace this with liberatory thinking.

I use the term ‘body respect’ because I think respect signals the need for social accountability that can be missed by other terms.

That said, the transformational leader and activist Sonya Renee Taylor talks about radical self love as the route to collective liberation.

Sonya founded the digital organisation The Body Is Not An Apology and wrote a book by the same name. 

 You can hear her talk about radical body love in this podcast.
There’s more on body respect in lesson 8.

Activity Two

Strategies for Building Body Respect

A world that sticks to the rigidity of all-or-nothing thinking doesn’t foster awe and respect for our bodies, or other people’s. Instead, it teaches us to compare bodies in a judgmental way where even ‘perfection’ comes at a cost. It sets us up to be non-accepting of difference. This creates unjust power imbalances in society that begin to seem normal and ‘ just the way things are’. With all this body bashing it’s not surprising our sense of body respect is bruised at best, and somewhat battered at times.

  • Can you write an A to Z of strategies to nurture body respect?

This can range from hanging out with people who help you experience self-worth, planning things that bring you embodied pleasure, to activism and overhauling the entire education system!

We can discuss your ideas in the live zoom call.

This is a list of recommendations shared in the live call for lesson 6. There might be something useful here!

Activity Three

Pleasure and Body Signals and Sensations

This is repeat from lesson 5. I think I might have overloaded that session so I have added it again as it’s a useful exercise to try if you haven’t already, now or at some future date.

When I asked you to conjure a meal you really enjoyed, I suspect you described it in sensory terms i.e. taste, texture, temperature, smell, appearance. You might have also added who you were with, an occasion, and other details.
In previous lessons I’ve suggested it can be helpful checking in with our bodies and naming emotions and sensations. Here’s a list of  body sensations to complement the earlier list of body feelings (that were mainly emotions).
Practicing noticing and naming sensations can help us figure out the many layers of our body story. You might want to add words to the list over time. 

Activity Four

Healing and Learning While Copingcolourful illuminated sign that say 'opne'

Dealing with put downs when no-one else speaks up

What about at the doctors? If this is a problem, can you imagine using something like this letter? Well Now doctor’s letter and summary statements 

How can we interrupt stigma with family and friends ?

Can you start with this letter to a friend and make it into something you could use?

It can be helpful to understand the difference between the hurt of wounded feelings and the hurt that is the harm of oppression.

Need some inspiration with a difference? Try this book on Pleasure Activism.


Activity Five

Thin Privilege and Fat Bias

What we feel is shaped by circumstances. (Another way of saying this is body signals are a social construct.) Knowing this can help open up new ways of finding meaning and understanding. 
In a cultural thought system based on separation (like reductionism, and binary thinking) we learn that body sensations arise ‘purely’ from the body. We can then treat them as uncontaminated absolute truth. This makes it tricky to know how to interpret  body signals to binge, or body signals related to a trauma response, for instance.
Body signals count. What you feel is important. The body is a source of vital information for you to understand what’s happening for you. At the same time, we feel what we feel because of our life histories and because of what we have learnt in our cultural upbringing. Our bodies are never separate from society, our bodies are never separate from our minds. Body signals are not ‘pure’, useful yes – and also open to scrutiny, but not a reliable source of some ultimate inner wisdom.
Some really strong sensations and emotions are misplaced, such as shame. Body shame is always misplaced. As is any shame connected to eating or wishing our body was different.  
What we feel is shaped by circumstances. (Another way of saying this is body signals are a social construct.) Knowing this can help open up new ways of finding meaning and understanding. 
Sensations link to heaps of inter-related realms including sensuality, feeling safe in our skin, feeling safe with touch, needs, sexuality, desire, appetite and more.  It can be helpful to be aware of this and explore anything that feels relevant when it feels useful to do so.
As I’ve already shared, understanding body sensations can be hugely helpful in navigating trauma symptoms and responses too. Body awareness also enables us to experience feelings of deep or even sacred connection in other ways, such as connection to the land, or a lineage.

Shirley shared this photo in the zoom call  

MCLEOD GANJ, HIMACHAL PRADESH, INDIA – 1996/03/01: The Dalai Lama on an exercise bike at his residence in McLeod Ganj. His doctor recommends daily exercise, but the Dalai Lama admitted that there are too many days between each practise. Previously he has had problems with his digestion but these have been cured by changes in his diet. (Photo by Gerhard Joren/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Activity Six


This is a random assortment of resources. If there’s anything I’ve mentioned that you’d like a citation for, or more information about, please let me know and I’ll do what I can to find a source or make a suggestion.

  • Fat, Pretty, and Soon to Be Old: A Makeover for Self and Society. Pub: A.K. Press (2019) By Kimberly Dark (scholarly, memoir)
  • Heavy: An American Memoir. By Kiese Laymon. Bloomsbury 2018 (scholarly, memoir)
  • Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body.  By Roxane Gay. Pub: HarperCollins (2017)
  • Keith Jarrett ‘Emotional Cellulite (A Song of Grief and Courage)’. Poem In Selah. (2017) Burning Eye Books.
  • Andrea Gibson. Spoken word poem. The Nutritionist.
  • Recovery in the Bin. https://recoveryinthebin.org. A UK based critical theorist and activist collective. Website including links to free articles.
  • Critical Psychiatry https://www.criticalpsychiatry.co.uk/index.php. A network primarily for psychiatrists, psychiatric trainees and medical students with an interest in psychiatry.
  • Critical Dietetics https://criticaldieteticsblog.com Including an open access journal (i.e. free). A place for critical inquiry and exploration on dietetics that welcomes all relevant scholarship and engagement.
  • Audre Lorde on The Masters Tools
  • Hallmarks of White Supremacy 

Activity Seven

A Reminder to Go Gently

Remember, some of these questions might land deeply and feel unsettling. It’s fine to be unsettled – we need this for change to happen. It’s also true that there’s a point at which we can be too unsettled to engage with learning, which clearly isn’t helpful. We need a steady place in ourselves to return to (the body awareness exercises will help with this) as we adjust to new ways of being with food, emotions, knowledge and so on. small cat sat showing belly facing forward on sofa 

The most important thing for the learning and healing that’s happening here is that you explore your feelings and beliefs. This means being able to engage, and this means pacing yourself.  Don’t worry about doing everything that’s suggested, amount doesn’t matter. It’s more important that you can be present with whatever you do, even for a short time and even for a tiny amount.

Last question, what are you looking forward to? Have you got any treats planned? If not,  now is a great time to put something in your diary!  

See you soon ~