The primary time intimacy coach Amina Peterson took a very good take a look at her personal vulva, it was impressed by Betty Dodson’s apply of learning her personal genitals within the mirror. The expertise reminded Peterson of the very starting of The Vagina Monologues. Within the play, a personality mentions that girls would possibly go years with out their very own vagina. It’s hidden away “down there,” tough to see and generally tough to face. What resonated with Peterson was this resistance: We may look, however we don’t.
When she considered it on a bigger scale, she realized not solely can we not take a look at ourselves down there, however we regularly don’t take a look at ourselves in any respect. That’s when she began doing mirror work, a apply of spending time along with her physique within the mirror to higher respect and honor herself.
Right now, Peterson guides purchasers by means of mirror work as a apply of self-intimacy and companion intimacy. (You possibly can see the apply in motion on our new Netflix sequence Intercourse, Love & goop.)
The Worth of Mirror Work
By Amina Peterson, as informed to goop
In our tradition, your self within the mirror with reward and appreciation is taken into account immodest. There’s nearly a connotation of its being vile or shameful. Typically the one model of ourselves that’s thought of acceptable shouldn’t be trying however placing on make-up or doing all your hair in order that your look is all proper for different folks. Should you take it to a different degree, the place you’re honoring your self—seeing your physique as an actual physique, as yours, as useful, as worthy—it’s frowned upon.
Once I was first confronted with mirror work—the apply of trying within the mirror and actually seeing your self—it was difficult. It went in opposition to every thing I’d been informed all my life about how I ought to see myself and the way I ought to see others. Mirror work strikes us out of this house the place our magnificence is for different folks to eat and never for us to comprehend. That’s very true for girls and femmes.
Once I speak to folks about struggles that they’ve in intimacy, a number of it’s about being seen. Intimacy is a lot about being witnessed. And a number of us battle with being witnessed by others as a result of we don’t even permit ourselves to witness ourselves. If I’m unable to take a look at myself, how am I going to permit my companion to take a look at me? How am I going to get to an area the place I expertise true intimacy with a companion if I’m afraid of self-intimacy? If I’m scared that anyone else will see one thing that I don’t permit myself to see?
That problem can transfer us out of intimate areas and stop us from creating true intimate ties. All the things stays surface-level. We do it with the lights off. We hope nobody notices that we’ve got all these feelings. We wish to be liked simply sufficient, so if we may get by with the love we get, that’ll be sufficient.
However once you begin doing mirror work, you get to broaden your capability for love and intimacy. It turns into much more than we in any other case permit ourselves to have.
Learn how to Do Mirror Work at Dwelling
There’s one factor you could need to do mirror work: a full-length mirror in which you’ll see your complete self. The remainder is non-compulsory however will allow you to get probably the most out of your apply.
1. Set the house.
Even you probably have solely just a little little bit of time, deal with this as one thing necessary and useful by clearing the house bodily and energetically. You need to deal with your self and honor your self inside a temple-like setting.
Guarantee that your house is clear. Get your garments up and put them away, or no matter you’ll want to do.
Cleanse the place. I like to make use of smoke to assist clear the air. Use no matter calls to you. Some folks like incense or resin. Others select yerba santa, sage, or palo santo. I prefer to burn cinnamon or a candy incense like ylang-ylang to name in some female power, particularly if I take advantage of one thing with very masculine power, like tobacco or blue sage, at first of the apply.
2. Put together your physique.
Ideally, you’re capable of take a shower or a bathe earlier than doing mirror work. Now’s the time for these tremendous scrumptious soaps or scrubs that you just had been gifted and had been saving for one thing particular. Gentle a candle. Take your time. Spend a while afterwards oiling and moisturizing your pores and skin, luxuriating over your self, and permitting your self to really feel into the second. Then put your gown on—I like folks to put on a gown or a sarong so that they aren’t combating their garments within the subsequent step however have one thing to cowl themselves with till they’re prepared—and go stand in entrance of the mirror with intention.
3. Step in entrance of the mirror.
Disrobe in entrance of the mirror. After which merely take a look at and see your self.
Acknowledge your self with out judgment. Acknowledge your self from head to toe. The gray curls, the wrinkles, the furrows, the rosacea, the rosiness in your cheeks, the fullness of your lips, the colour in your pores and skin. Perhaps I’m noticing that one among my areolas is bigger than the opposite. I do this with out judgment. I’m simply seeing it. You progress by means of your complete physique like that. Not judging, simply seeing. Usually, after we look within the mirror, we have a tendency to right away understand sure options as unhealthy—particularly if it’s one thing that’s modified, and much more so if it’s one thing that’s modified as we’ve gotten older. We discover what’s saggy or dimply, or if one thing isn’t as full because it was once, or if there’s a brand new wrinkle, and we choose ourselves for that.
Supply your self some reward and affirmations. It’s highly effective to take away the concept that one thing is incorrect with any of what you’re seeing. The primary affirmation I take advantage of is: “I see you.” Like, “I’m witnessing you. I see myself.” Transferring on from there, it’s about going with what you are feeling. After we’re not judging, we will transfer out of the considering mind and settle into the sensation thoughts of the physique.
Now I can witness myself and say one thing form, praising what I see in my pores and skin and hair and enamel, like:
“I’m grateful for these breasts.”
“I’m so grateful for this physique that has moved me by means of childbirth.”
“I really like my physique. My physique is robust.”
“This smile is brilliant and welcoming.”
“I’m not symmetrical, and it’s excellent.”
“I’m right here. I’m worthy. That is my expertise proper now, and it’s nice.”
4. Prolong the apply.
This work helps create a extra loving, intimate relationship with your self. Typically I’ll ship a consumer into this work repeatedly, the place they do a ritual round this work each week: choosing up their space, taking an exquisite tub or an expensive bathe, establishing their candles, and cleaning their house to be very intentional about mirror work as a venture. The physique craves ritual. And after we begin engaged on ourselves, discovering areas the place we will ritualize our personal self-care, our personal intimacy work helps the physique keep in mind that that is necessary to us.
That is an act of self-worship. Should you take a look at my titles wherever, it’s all the time Goddess Amina. And I consult with my purchasers as gods and goddesses and divine beings. It’s necessary for us to be worshipped—by ourselves and by our companions. We simply need to find out how. And this apply helps us find out how our god self desires to be affirmed and appreciated and accepted and liked.
EDITORS’ PICKS FOR A BATH-TIME MIRROR WORK RITUAL
“The Martini” Emotional
Detox Tub Soak
Pores and skin
Double Layer Wrap Gown
Version 02 – Shiso
Restore Physique Butter
goop, $55/$50 with subscription
Amina Peterson is a healer, a intercourse doula, and the founding father of the Atlanta Institute of Tantra and her personal therapeutic apply, Fearless Giving. Her work focuses on intimacy teaching, Tantric intercourse training, sacred intercourse, somatic bodywork, and sexual revolution and activism.