Sometimes I feel like I don’t belong anywhere-like I don’t have a home.
I’ve spent the last few months living in the town I moved to to be with a guy who I’m no longer dating. It’s beautiful, but lonely here.
I visit LA often because I have lots of friends there, but crashing on my friend’s couch is a constant reminder that “this is not my home.”
When I go back to the East Coast it feels great to be at my parents house and hang with my family. No one loves me more in the world than my three DiAltos. And I love adventuring into NYC to catch up with some of my favorite people – but still, neither of those places are my home.
The truth is – home is not a place.
Sometimes I forget this and get lost in my search for a home.
That is why this picture means so much to me – because this right here is my only true home, and I love her.
Now, before I get into the story I’m going to share with you here, I want to invite you to find yourself in it along the way. I know you have a desire to love, accept, and express yourself. We all do. Yours may not be around a photo, or your body, or maybe it is. Just be open to discovering the thing that’s welling up inside of you, that’s deeply connected to who you really are, that’s waiting to feel safe enough to be revealed.
Here we go.
I’ve been holding onto this picture, waiting to muster up the courage to share it on my blog for
Back in April I was meditating one morning and felt an undeniable nudge that it was time to share, so I posted it in Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map group on Facebook.
Here’s what I wrote in that post:
“In Feb 2011 on the first retreat for Marie Forleo’s Adventure Mastermind our surprise adventure was a boudoir photo shoot with Christa Meola. This was NOT something most of us were comfortable with which was exactly why it was SO magical. When we got our photos, there was one that I loved so much, I couldn’t really express why at the time, but now I know it’s because it was the visual embodiment of my core desires to feel wildly feminine, free, and connected. I wanted to blog about the experience but I *knew* my mom would flip out if I posted a half naked photo of myself on the internet without giving her a heads up. The conversation turned into a battle that lasted a few days and I gave in. I never posted the picture. The way that made me feel reminds me of that quote about being folded that I know I’ve read somewhere in The Fire Starter Sessions. This morning during a little meditation, the image came up and the words, “Never ask permission to express your soul’s desire.” So! while I’m not exactly ready yet to post it super publicly, this felt like the perfect place to sneak a peek. Thank you for the space. Commence unfolding…”
The full quote I was thinking of is this, “I want to unfold. I don’t want to stay folded anywhere, because where I am folded, there I am a lie.” -Ranier Maria Rilke
Hits you in the guts, doesn’t it?
When I hit send on that post I had no expectation or attachment to what the response would be. My only intention was a selfish one – to completely honor myself.
And holy shit, when I tell you this was one of the BEST decisions I ever made, I am not exaggerating because what happened next was magical.
A complete outpouring of LOVE.
Here are a few comments that not only that moved me to tears but reflected back to me the power and responsibility I have as a woman and a leader to inspire action through my openness:
- -Everything about this is exquisite and so achingly raw and authentic. Love, love, love, mad respect, and a boatload of gratitude to you, Elizabeth DiAlto for sharing!!
- -As you step forward into your own authenticity, actively shedding the shame skins of so many thousands of women and their lineage you truly give so many more women permission to be themselves to be transformed.
- -Congratulations Elizabeth DiAlto and Thank you for sharing your story. The photo is stunning because it translates your message and desires beautifully, but it also speaks to the deeper issues most women face embracing their feminine and loving who they are, no matter what shape or size. It must be so liberating to share this…Major Applause!
- -I am grateful you had the courage to share this image! It instantly surfaced a groundswell of energy and desire in me. And I immediately wrote 2 important letters to share the image with 2 important women whom I feel need to receive the flame in their chests as much as I.
- -Elizabeth! I LOVE, LOVE your post! I am one of your followers. I was introduced to you by one of our mutual friends. I’ve read your book. Point is that your followers would resonate with this post so much. After all, my body issues (real and made up) have lots to do with those voices of others (notably my mother’s). Thank you for sharing your beautiful photo with us, as well as your poignant message!!!
Fuck me. I thought my little heart might explode.
I’ve been unfolding ever since with lots and lots of help. The journey of being a woman, falling in love with our bodies and owning our power is not something that can be done solo.
When left to our own devices a lot of us punish, blame and deny our bodies under the guise of some moral code of modesty or a delusional claim that we are taking care of ourselves.
We cover up, we hide, we shrink to make other people feel comfortable.
We diet, we force ourselves to workouts we hate and all other kinds of things we don’t enjoy in pursuit of happiness. (Silly.)
Fill in the blank (you know your own story), “When I __________, I’ll be happy.”
Lose 10 lbs.
Meet the man of my dreams.
The list of things that don’t actually matter goes on and on. What matters is how you feel. What matters is knowing who you really are and allowing yourself to be that woman.
I’ve spent the last few days scared shitless to write this blog post because I remember feeling two distinctly different things when I first laid eyes on my photo.
This is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.
I shouldn’t feel that way about a picture of myself.
While we’ve taken many strides as a gender and a society, we’re still operating with lots of tacit patriarchal agreements. One of which is the preference for women to be in constant pursuit of self-esteem, but very careful about expressing it once they acquire it.
I suspect if we polled a group of women the majority would rather be labeled as “slutty” or “promiscuous” over “attention seeking” or “full of herself.”
The latter of course being the labels we receive (from some, not all) when we do dare to embrace and express our true power, greatness and beauty – so much of which comes from our BODIES.
In her book, Red Hot and Holy, Sera Beak quotes Teri Degler who said,
“Even of all those women who are comfortable with emotions, very few are comfortable with the feeling of wild, surging power…the trick is to realize that we do indeed embody this power and then to become comfortable with the way this feels. We need, in other words, to come to a place where we can sit and quietly hold this great power in our bellies.”
YES. YES. YES.
The last thing I want to share with you is an exercise I do every morning that helps me love my body and connect to her more deeply.
-When you wake up, stand in front of the mirror in your underwear, topless or completely naked.
-Put your hands on your body in some way – I usually rub my belly, cup my breasts (I hated them for years, so now I like to make up for it by showing them some love on a weekly basis), stick out my ass, or sway my hips a little.
-Instead of picking yourself apart (which may be your natural inclination), just observe your body like a work of art, look for the details and intricacies.
Since I’ve been doing this everyday for quite a while, I notice things like how the shape and feel of my breasts changes with my cycle and the tone of my skin changes with the seasons. I’ll notice a new freckle or how my muscles are changing shape or taking form.
Get to know your naked self.
Once you get comfortable doing this practice, you can take it a step further by finding something new to admire on your body everyday. Even if it’s a small space like your collarbone, the space just above your belly button, your ankle.
All of it matters.
All of it is yours.
All of it is home.
Never ask permission to express your soul’s desire. – Tweet it.
Exploding with love and gratitude,
If you enjoyed this post, I’d be honored if you share it. We need more women on the body love team.
You may also enjoy the following books:
Awakening Shakti: The Transformative Power of the Goddesses of Yoga by Sally Kempton
Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
The Way of the Superior Man by David Deida
Red Hot and Holy by Sera Beak
And this blog is a must follow:
I love everything about this. Kudos to you for adding this beauty into the world. The photo and the message you’re sharing. Proud of you, hottie mama.
Thank you so much, M!
Beautiful writing, Liz. I certainly resonate with that feeling of being lost in the search for a home. You’ve brought up a great message – for women, yes. And also for men. Great job.
Thanks, James. While obviously written for women, I’ve had some really beautiful, mature and appreciative responses from men. Feels awesome 🙂
So. damn. proud of you for this. I remember that photo shoot, that photo, and the argument with your mother….so, so, so glad you came back around. Maybe you just weren’t ready then — but you are now. Love to you. xoxo
(and thank you for the link!)
That was my exact thought before I hit “publish” …there’s no way I could have written this post back then. Timing is always perfect.
Love back at you xo
What a gift for today…thank you. These two phrases: *“Never ask permission to express your soul’s desire.” * and this *What matters is knowing who you really are and allowing yourself to be that woman.* touch me deeply today and will stay with me for a long time. All week I have been creatively “stuck” because what I want to create and share is not “butterflies and glitter” on surface, but is beautiful within, and my heart is screaming yes, please…but my mind is stuffing it back down. Of course, all day, I keep receiving external affirmation…yours is quite powerful and presented in a way that resonates well. Thank you for sharing!
First, I love that your name is Joy and that’s clearly what you want to create/give to the world. So fitting. The mind is so crafty – love knowing my post was helpful for you 🙂
Beautiful photo and words that really resonate. What you write about is how I want to feel – I want to discover what it is welling up inside and I want to know more about who I really am. You’re so right when you say
“We cover up, we hide, we shrink to make other people feel comfortable.” It’s time to get away from that and embrace our true selves. Thank you so much for sharing this post today.
welcome to the body love team, Elizabeth…cultivate that curiosity, girl!!
This is beautiful and powerful. I really connected with it and I feel honored to have read it. Thank you for trusting yourself and sharing. I look forward to more from you.
thank you, Melanie!
Girl! Love, love, love.
“While we’ve taken many strides as a gender and a society, we’re still operating with lots of tacit patriarchal agreements. One of which is the preference for women to be in constant pursuit of self-esteem, but very careful about expressing it once they acquire it.” Spot on, sister! Brava for being vulnerable, authentic and brave. Beautiful post.
If you liked that you will love this, Michelle …
Liz, that was so FANTASTIC. I commend you not only for having the courage to share this, but most of all for creating a group where other women can do the same. You ROCK!
thanks, Josh. The group is pretty magical.
You and this piece are immensely beautiful, thank you for sharing. I’m a massage therapist & for a long time I have not spoken my truth about my body and what I think about honoring, loving & expressing ourselves (thinking I should just stick to massage related stuff). I recently just said fuck it! I have a voice & what I have to say a lot of women (and men) need to hear!
Also, I think boudoir shoots are one of the most empowering things a woman can do for herself! It was my gift to myself two years ago for my birthday, and then this year I convinced my man to do a couples shoot instead of traditional engagement photos, which was just as empowering & beautiful!
I agree with you, Bobbi, that a boudoir shoot is one of the most empowering things a woman can do for herself. I was so grateful for this surprise because it’s probably not something I would have ever signed myself up for voluntarily!
Liz, that’s a beautiful picture and I relate to the feeling of being in search of “home”. Your photo and the message of this post left me with the reminder of a quote I once read…”Women are meant to be delighted in…” We are just simply coming to a point where we are taking the lead and being the first admirers. Thanks for sharing your story, I enjoyed reading it.
Ooh, I love that, “Women are meant to be delighted in.” For a minute it sounds like we’re objects, then you realize no – it’s a gift for everyone involved to relish and be relished. Yum.
Wow. This is absolutely stunning, I’ve just read your words three time to let them really sink in. That photo – PHWOAR. Thank you so much or sharing so beautifully Liz, this is one of those posts I know I’ll come back to. xo
thank you Rachel, LOVE hearing you read it over and over. I have, too. haha.
Absolutely gorgeous outpouring of your truth and stunning photo of your outer beauty which reflects your inner beauty.
I resonate with it on so many levels and I have been hiding photos of myself for over a decade! The photos are of my spine that, according to my friend, ” is curvier than a question mark”…….My spinal deformity was the cause of so much mental and physical pain but it is also the reason I discovered yoga and not just mainstream yoga but the wild and feminine kind. I am getting closer and closer to sharing my photos and now with your courageous post I feel the inspiration to do the same peaking. THANK YOU! We need to share our stories and our photos. Continue to shine Liz! We love you.
Sara Shivani in OZ.
it’s insane the permission we give others by sharing ourselves. It may not be everyone’s calling but boy does it carry a major healing effect. thank you, Sara!
I LOVE THIS POST. We are allowed to reveal our beauty to the world. Thank you for having the courage to show your self.
thank you, Amy!
Your story and that gorgeous image was really inspiring to me. I too have been going through a process of refusing to water myself down, though mine has had less to do with a body issue, and more to do with a personal journey, I can relate. I often feel we are our own biggest barriers to experiencing joy, not some fleeting happiness, but joy, something constant. Best of luck in your journey, it looks like you have found something authentically your own and have taken that incredibly personal thing and shared it with others, which is both inspiring and beautiful.
Thank you for letting me know you can relate, Andrea. This was a scary thing to put out in the world!
You, you, you…so raw, so beautiful, so OPEN.
Freedom, my friend, freedom.
YES. Can’t wait for real life catch up time in Dec <3
There is such power and freedom in discovering our true selves, loving the divine light within us and letting it shine. Recognizing our vulnerabilities gives us the courage to live a more beautiful and authentic life. Thank you for having the courage and for shining a light for others.
mmm…yes. Feels so good. thank you!
Liz, you are on fire! Wowzers! I am loving watching your journey as a strong feminine voice in this insanely complex world. Thank you for sharing your inner and outer beauty with us. I am so inspired by your words and image.
Ooh, thank you Andrea. After my break up one of the words I kept using over and over again when I spoke about what I wanted more of in my life is “fire”…goosebumps to see you use it!
you. are. beautiful. inside & out. thank you for being brave enough to share your truth – it’s refreshing and inspiring beyond measure!!
ps. saw your other post abt salsa – would love to get together at a social in LA sometime! xo
Hell yeah!! Find me on Facebook. I’m moving up to LA next weekend and salsa is at the top of my list to get into my weekly routine..
Wow, This is amazing on SOOOO Many levels. It’s vulnerable, sweet, powerful, badass, courageous, and everything in between. I want to be like you when I grow up! Bravo!
haha, what a great compliment. Thanks, Jo-Na 🙂
I love that you found you. (((O)))
me too. Thank you!
On my wedding night, the first thing I did was to ask my new bride to lay completely exposed on the bed and let my eyes drink in her beauty. It was a first for me and it exploded her world. She had never felt so vulnerable and I never so wealthy. 25 years later, she has yet to realize what true power she wields. She could still completely conquer me at will if she knew and appreciated herself.
Thank you for stirring my memories and passions, even though that was not your intent.
As the father of two beautiful daughters, I have hope that my girls will be able to passionately explore and express themselves in productive, healthy ways like you are in your writing. Forgive me if I pry too deeply, but why was it your mother’s voice that conversed in your head and not your Dad?
Just in case you need a dad to say it, good job Liz. I am proud of you. You are doing so much to help so many.
This is beautiful. It’s incredible how we can see things in others they don’t see in themselves. Your question is a good one and it made me think. I guess my mom is just a bit more vocal about her fears and worries than my dad is. Although we (my brother and I know), because he’s said it- that if anyone ever did anything to us, he’d be in jail. haha. Both of my parents are amazing. My brother and I often talk about how it was annoying growing up to be the family with rules and curfews and stuff, but we’d rather have that and never wondered a day in our lives if we were loved. And we understand now that every parent just wants to protect their babies. Even to this day, why do you think my mom objected? She’s worried about crazy people in the world and my safety. Appreciate the conversation, David 🙂
This truly brought me to tears.
I’m one of those people who always said “When I, ‘lose weight’ I’ll be happy.”
Here’s the thing…I LOST all of my baby weight, but instead on focusing on my accomplishment I moved onto hating the way my stomach looks – saggy and wrinkled from being stretched out so many times.
Your post gave me the nudge I needed to ditch the negative self talk and embrace how amazing my body IS.
My ‘saggy, wrinkled’ belly gave me 4 beautiful children. There are women in this world who struggle with fertility and would gladly trade places with me in a heartbeat. I’m complaining about a problem that somebody else would kill to have.
I’ve slowly been changing my negative thoughts, but your post catapulted me into a whole new way of thinking.
For 2014, I’m going to celebrate what my body has given me (and continues to give me) by lifting myself up, rather tearing myself down.
Thanks for the post <3
Mariah, thank you for sharing your story with me. Last week in the private FB group I asked the women to show some love to a part of their bodies they don’t like very much and SO MANY said stomach! So many moms, just like you were ashamed of the stretch marks…as a non-mom I can’t relate (yet), but it was really beautiful to see them come to the same realization you did here, that those marks are the gift of a really beautiful experience. I found this meditation if you’re interested in sending even more love to your belly: http://monkinthecity.com/happiness-focusing-on-the-belly/
It must be fate. My ‘resolution’ for 2014 is to start meditating! Thank you <3
I am sure that this post was terrifying for you to put out BUT it was so real and raw and down to earth that it caught me off guard. You said out loud what many women think daily. Kudos to you, Liz. The world needs more courageous people like you. You have inspired me today to honor ALL OF MYSELF, not just the parts that are “acceptable” to put out there.. Thank you.
I appreciate this so much, Lauren. Comments like yours are why I will continue to write, open up and share myself even when it’s scary. Lots of love 🙂
Followed Christa Meola’s link to your blog, which I enjoyed reading. Very well written and beautiful what you said. One thing I would like to say about one thing you mentioned. You said, “We diet, we force ourselves to workouts we hate and all other kinds of things we don’t enjoy in pursuit of happiness. (Silly.)” I would say, eat a healthy diet, do exercise you enjoy and all other kinds of things you enjoy in pursuit of health. Because without health, it will be very hard to find happiness.
When I was growing up, if something was going around, I caught it (colds, flu, bronchitis, mumps, measles, etc.), had an ulcer, diagnosed with nervous stomach, and on and on. Then I studied nutrition, switched to a healthy diet, added supplements – now I get sick maybe once every five years, and the other problems are gone. I always exercised, but because I enjoyed it. Racket sports, hiking, and bike riding.
Hope you continue to find happiness and enjoy all life has to offer, including, of course, great health!
I’m with you Tony. After hearing Kris Carr speak at an event in 2010, I cleaned up my nutrition big time and I’ve been sick like 2x since.
You may also enjoy this post: http://wildsoulmovement.com/enjoyment
I am a firm believer in the power of enjoyment, too.
Thanks for the comment!
Ok first Liz – how much do I <3 that beautiful photo?! SO <3!!!! Second, GREAT share in post. Then 3rd, "Oh color this whole moment synchronistic" -2 of your 6 closing recommendations are also in my "short list" of best evers…and a 3rd one you mentioned I JUST "discovered" today and thought to maybe get. 🙂 XOX and thank you Universal Yumminess for your grand yet again synchro. xoxq!
none of this surprises me. Big hug, Chel. thank you!
I found your post via Renee Heigel… Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow! Beautiful post, beautiful words, and amazing photo. So glad you decided to share. I can so relate to the feeling of, “I shouldn’t feel that way about a picture of… (or anything else positive about)…. myself.” For so long we’ve been hiding in our own shadows!!! Thanks for spreading the message of self-love and appreciation.
Thank you for a beautiful post. I consider myself blessed to be able to communicate the beauty I see, when I admire my lady’s naked body, in such a way that she enjoys and bathes in my adoration rather than being shy or turning away. I hope I communicated this well, it’s not an easy thing to speak. I feel it though. Thanks again for sharing!
You have absolutely beautiful hands.
And a beautiful soul.
I admire and admire your courage to follow your heart regardless of what everyone says… I completely understand the struggle that you went through as well. I went through it this year when I decided to write my memoir and turn it into a book. My family were not super happy about it but I did it anyways and the book will come out in 2014. I am still scared but I know that I must follow the divine voice within.
Cheers to the feminine power