Health is unique to each of us. October 10th, 2019 is World Mental Health Day and Pongo Power is launching our own mental health revolution. We call it, "Embrace the Belly!" Where does health come in, when we come to matters of mental health, such as personal identity and how we perceive our bodies physicality?

Feeling healthy, or simply being body-neutral in regard to our bellies, would be quite a step in the liberation of modern humanity. The human belly is hidden, most days of the year in secrecy, even though our bellies are, in fact, much like our arms or legs. The belly isn’t one of the genitals - it is just our belly! We show our hands, wrists, fingers. Why? Because we need them. We use them. But we need our bellies too. So, why all the secrecy and how do we overcome it? Why is the belly shunned so? How do we embrace the belly, rather than ignore it? 

Body neutrality is rooted in acknowledging what your body does (I’m grateful for my body’s amazing abilities, like breathing!) and not how it appears. One of the most powerful women in this arena, Kelly Roberts has taken it on as her mission. Her wonderful website, She Can and She Did is a living, breathing guide to taking action. 

“She Can & She Did. Redefining what strength looks like. Inclusion and representation matters. It’s because of our stories that we’re seeing women of all different shapes, sizes, and ages as strong.”

Being able to cultivate body neutrality allows us to see new actions that there are to take, without barring a particular result that we might want, out of plain fear or worse: belly-loathing.  

Our emphasis, here at Pongo Power, is also about the emotional underbelly of strength, which is vulnerability. We can’t always get up, and go just do it.  Acknowledging the softness and gentle nature of an exposed belly, is our ultimate goal. Sometimes acknowledging that we like or dislike something is the first step in creating a transformational reality. We are not always strong and powerful, and that is ok! 

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Understanding

Whenever I have a situation that slows down my own personal growth and development, it is natural to reflect upon exactly what is holding me back. Is it me? Societal brainwashing? Is it my childhood?  How do I create something completely different for myself, that I love, so that I can love my life? 

I've suffered, for many years of body-dysmorphia. Being completely honest, I still do. That is why I am helping to lead the way out of this rabbit hole. That is why I am launching a movement, I call #embracethebelly. This may not sound like neutrality. This may sound like passion, and ultimately like love. What I am looking to accomplish is love for one’s self that is not despite or because of how we look, but in addition!

When I started attempting to embrace my belly, rather than ignoring it, I would stare at it. From the right angle, from the left, from up top; admiring my wrinkles, when I get some folds of fat. I noticed myself having an emotional response. I needed to break through, and to do something new. Staring at my belly and criticizing it wasn’t working. 

I went to a nutritionist who taught me to counteract a negative thought with a positive thought. But even this really wasn’t enough. I was still staring at my belly, contemplating its shape, dimensions, how it was impacting how my clothing fits. I was now watching my belly. 

This is where the beauty of a truth table comes in. 

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Thinking Critically

What is critical thinking? On the simplest level, critical thinking is learning how to think about what we think. It involves the skills of analysis, interpretation, evaluation, inference, problem solving and decision making. 

Over time, I started to take hold of my belly fat, and embrace it. I made the belly-bagel shape. I began seeing if I could hold it, in handfuls. I was happy to hold it, rather than stare at it, like it was an alien, that wraps around my body. I enjoyed showing these handfuls of belly to people. 

I started to ask my friends and family if they would let me hold their bellies, and take hold of their fat. This was surprising! Some people allowed me to hold and grab their belly fat. Some people, absolutely were a "no". My heart filled with compassion, realizing that most people experience denial, shame, and embarrassment about their bellies. They did not want me to embrace their bellies. 

Of course, thinking logically about something that I’m emotional about, can be difficult. When I told my friends and family, that this is just an exercise in being neutral and logical, and recognizing ourselves as we are, it did open up the world in which we could share our thoughts with one another.

I had to give up being secretive about my belly, in order for people to be vulnerable and open with me about their own.

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When it comes to creating a life we love, that we lead by our design, my personal belief is that utilizing the concept of neutrality is vital.  It allows us to leave out our personal opinions, and have conversations that are rooted in reality, rather than impressions. Don’t get me wrong: I absolutely love opinionated people who have interesting perspectives to share. At the same time, we all must be more responsible in considering how being opinionated is creating polarization and separation. So, what is tautology and why is it useful?

“Tautology: in logic, a statement so framed that it cannot be denied without inconsistency. 

Tautologies can be displayed in a truth table: every possible combination of T (true) and F (false) of its arguments A, B, C and after reckoning out by a mechanical process the truth-value of the entire formula, noting that, for every such combination, the formula is T

The test is effective because, in any particular case, the total number of different assignments of truth-values to the variables is finite; and the calculation of the truth-value of the entire formula can be carried out separately for each assignment of truth-values.”

Here is my truth. If we can embrace our bellies, and allow them to be whoever they are, if we can recognize that our bellies are us: we can create a life in which we are able to develop, evolve and learn to be at peace. 

The truth is that our bellies are physically part of our bodies, and learning to honor them, and respect that physical aspect of ourselves, allows us to re-create ourselves as whole people, and not just a compilation of body parts. Perhaps, one might argue that our minds are able to create our identities without considering our whole body, and that the body is just a vehicle for our physical expression in the world. That expressing our feelings, thoughts, and ourselves, is not related to our bodies. We have our brains and our mouths for self expression. I’d like to propose that embracing our bellies, and our whole physical being, is vital. I’d like to propose that embracing our bellies is integral to our mind/body connection, and maybe even… happiness? I know it is for me, anyway. 

We at Pongo Power value evidence-based movement science, and the transformation of the human body!  Quite a mouthful, to say that we train people in the science of exercises that is safe and effective. Our personal trainers and coaches teach people how to be in good physical shape: that is, healthy. 

We’re hearing what people think, but really we are just looking at the belly and allowing it to be in the open. Giving a person distance, and a safe space to experience their own life and body is vital. Be on the look-out for our upcoming videos, photos, interviews and exercise as we launch our platform: #embracethebelly

So, whatever that is for you, we welcome YOUR opinions, thoughts, logic, and unique perspective. We are here to embrace YOUR identity and wellness. Write your comments below, and be sure to check out our Facebook and IG for more embraces. 

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