1. You Are an Avatar
In the Last Airbender universe, the avatar is the person who has the ability to master four elements. Earth, Fire, Water, and Air. However even though this is an innate ability, the avatar has to learn to master all four elements and it often takes
years of rigorous practice to achieve mastery level in the art of bending. Avatar Aang did not have the luxury to just be in a secluded space where he could spend a few months to get a crash course in element bending. He had to master all those skills while living in the world and dealing with conflicts that range from a nation invasion to having a crush on a girl. How does this relate to you? Consider yourself to be an Avatar born with the innate ability to master various elements, one of them being your body. Have you watched the show? (yes you have. Who hasn’t?). If you could bend any of the elements, which would it be? Consider your body to be your favorite element to bend. This is the element you have the innate ability to master, but it will still take work, it might still take years, but imagine the possibilities of mastering your body. Imagine all the epic things you could do with it. The Avatar could have glorious battles with a firelord one day, and make an airball to ride on, on other days. Certainly for you, the epic fight is not overthrowing an evil firelord. Maybe today winning the fight is just putting down the magazine that wants to convince you that happiness awaits you after those 10 extra pounds off. Maybe today your epic fight is breathing deeply to give your soul some peace. Maybe today your epic fight is walking away from that toxic relationship. Maybe today your epic fight is just getting out of bed. Maybe there’s no epic fight, and you just want to do a cart-wheel. It’s your body, it’s your element. Learn to master it and do it while living life. From taking care of your family, to paying bills to nursing a heartbreak. You can do this. You’re an avatar after all.
2. Learn how to have compassion for yourself
In Season 2 Episode 19 “The Guru”, Aang has to meet a guru in one of the airbending temples where the guru will help him
unlock his chakras so he can finally learn how to master the Avatar state. The third chakra to unlock is the one blocked by shame. Aang’s shame arose the first time he tried to firebend, got carried away and burned Katara. Following that event, he swore he would never firebend again. Can you imagine how much less awesome the finale fight against firelord Ozai would have been if Aang never learned to firebend? What is the shame you are holding on to that could be preventing you from showing up for your greatness? Is it all the weight you have gained? All the failed diets you’ve tried? All the sports you tried to get into? Can you see yourself letting go of that shame and forgiving yourself? Are you willing to have compassion for yourself and get up to try again? Allow yourself to create the safe space to sit with your disappointments, learn from your mistake and nurture yourself with compassion. Then be sure to remind yourself of the power that lies within you, waiting to be unleashed.
3 Find your tribe, accept support
While this show is called The Last Airbender, it certainly isn’t a story on the journey of the lonely hero. What makes this story great is the interconnectedness of all the characters and how their survival and individual rise to greatness are all intertwined with one another. While Aang is the Avatar who can master all four elements, it is his friends who actually teach him the mastery of his innate abilities. Toph is the earthbending master, Katara is the waterbending master, and Zuko is the firebending Master. What this teaches us is that you simply cannot do this alone and should not put pressure on yourself to do so. Find your tribe. Find your group of people who are willing to go on the adventure with you, cheering you on, learning with you, caring for you, and healing you when you just can’t do it for yourself. There is strength in your vulnerability and being willing to say yes to help. Yes perhaps you do not have people around you who can be supportive of your quest to master your body, but make use of the internet if you can and find your tribe there. I hope this blog can be part of your tribe, a place in which you find solace, healing, hope, laughter, and everything else you need on your quest to master one of your elements, your body
You. Are. An Avatar. Powerful beyond belief, a spirit having a human experience. Go on and have your epic adventure as you learn to master yourself.
Isabelle Masado writes about body compassion on her blog "The Dear Body Project". She knows all too well that the personal is the political, is the community. As such, there is no discussing body compassion without talking about the assault on black bodies, trans women, and people with disabilities. Her mantra is, "How can I live in a way that makes room for you too"? She writes to examine, to heal, to redeem.