Our Bodies are BeautifulBlog June 18, 2023
Last Monday evening, the LAC hosted its first conversation on the topic of bodies and all those troubling, beautiful, and confusing thoughts that bubble up when we think about our own bodies. Kate, MaryBeth, and Blanche guided the discussion with care, compassion, and warmth. One of the participants volunteered to share her thoughts about her experience. Thank you, Elaine, for capturing your reaction to the evening.
“Does it ever stop?” I asked the group during our first evening conversation. The topic was health, body image, weight, nutrition. You might be asking, “stop what?”
Those thoughts. The thoughts like, if I eat that, will it matter in the a.m.? How much exercise do I need now that I’m 53? Are lifting weights the answer to all my questions?
The questions are numerous and go on, and on, and on.
However, this particular night, I got the answers I was looking for.
The women in the LAC were kind, compassionate, empathic, and thanked me for being vulnerable. Oh, did I mention I cried? Yes, I surprised myself by how emotional I felt.
I felt safe and heard as I sought answers.
The woman across from me said, I may not be able to answer it all, but I want to give you hope. Hope that you will feel better about yourself and your issues.
One of our leaders asked us to hold a rugby ball as our “talking stick” so each woman, while holding the ball, would have the space she needed to be heard and seen. No one interrupted and we all listened attentively.
Many other topics came up and we continuously held space for one another throughout the evening.
I am so looking forward to connecting with these women again.
I also could feel the effort and time that was put into bringing us all together. The leaders of our group were grateful we were all there and really wanted to help each woman who showed up that evening. It wasn’t therapy, but it felt cathartic.
I highly recommend joining the LAC. I feel so grateful to have a local community of women to share intimate thoughts and experiences without judgment.
Thanks for sharing your words, Elaine.
I don’t typically solicit for funds via this email, but the mission of this program, #WEOUTSIDE, is so close to what we care about as an organization that the fit felt right. Plus, I’ve been volunteering at the Expo on a weekly basis and I see the huge need for these kids to get outside in a constructive and healthful way.
My friend Jess who has been a great supporter of the LAC for years called me last week looking for ideas on how to support a program that she’s involved with. She’s the Executive Director of the Southern Maine Conservation Collaborative and is helping two other non-profits to support a wonderful sounding endeavor for Portland-area immigrant youth ages 13-25. The program is hosted by Maine Association for New Americans (MANA) with support from the Maine Appalachian Trail Land Trust. It’s a summer program called #WEOUTSIDE. There will be weekly trips throughout the state and an opportunity for participants to experience the beautiful outdoors of Maine while connecting with immigrant leaders and peers, with a focus on creating a safe space for healing and creating or redefining a relationship with nature.
Initially the program was designed as a small pilot project, but has scaled up to meet enthusiastic demand from 60 of Portland’s most recent arrivals, including many unaccompanied minors and youth temporarily housed at the Expo with no summer plans.
They hope to provide each of the 60 participants with rain jackets, hiking boots, water bottles, and day packs, and are seeking financial contributions to cover these needs. They have a big fund-raising goal of $17,000 and as you know, every donation counts.
If you’d like to support a kid getting outside this summer, please consider a donation. Donations can be made online at MANA’s website: https://mana-maine.org/donate (use the “leave us a comment” box to specific the WEOUTSIDE program) or mail a check made out to MANA to 1311 Washington Ave, Portland, ME 04103, with a note that the donation is for WEOUTSIDE.
🚢 We just scheduled our next LAC adventure! We’ll take the 4:30 p.m. Casco Bay Lines ferry to Peaks Island, walk the island, and then eat pizza at Il Leone (delicious wood-fired pizzas). There’s a return ferry at 7:45 p.m. and another at 8:45 p.m.
Upcoming Community (not all LAC) Adventures – These are not LAC adventures (except for the ones that say, “LAC”). These are adventures we’re sharing that are put-on by other orgs. If you have ideas for the calendar or want to organize an LAC community adventure, please send me a note.
🌿 April-November: AMC Trail Work opportunities
🌿 June 19-21: Maine Audubon’s Creating Like A Mountain: Deepening your creative connection with the Maine Woods
🌿 June 20: Maine Audubon Book Club: Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Shape Our Minds & Shape Our Futures
☀️ June 21: Libby Hill Longest Day 5K
☀️ June 24: Rumford Gravel Bike Race
☀️ June 25: Sebago Lake Triathlon
☀️ June 25: Empowerment Self Defense at Rising Tide with Prevention. Action. Change.
☀️ June 24/25: Queer Intro to Whitewater with Packraft Maine & Kindling Collective
☀️ July 1: Lakes Environmental Association, Paddle Battle
☀️ July 4: L.L. Bean 4th of July 10K
☀️ July 5: Two Maine Mermaids Full Moon Dip
☀️ July 9: Casco Bay Islands Odyssey SwimRun
☀️ July 14/15: Lewiston/Auburn Riverfest
☀️ July 15: Carrabassett Backcountry Cycle Challenge
☀️ July 22: Maine Summer Adventure Race
☀️ August 10: LAC Adventure to Peaks Island