Habitually we view our bodies as something ‘other’, separate from ourselves. Just as we compartmentalise many aspects of our lives in order to make sense of things, and to behave appropriately.
In my work with both male and female clients there invariably comes a point where feelings need to be explored. It’s time to get in touch with self, to experience the true impact of a word, deed or situation, or to express a strong desire or deeply held conviction.
The Lost Parts
For many, this is a challenge, because they have forgotten how to feel and listen, to what their bodies are already expressing. Their sense of self has become so divided, splintered, fragmented that some parts are dismissed, disregarded, disowned, even lost along the way.
Thus they struggle to even know what they feel, want and need – let alone to speak with power and passion about what matters. And so we usually begin with the breathing, becoming more present and aware of what the body is holding for us in that moment.
As we breathe with awareness, we begin to notice that our bodies are always in a dialogue with us. They are an expression of us in our fullest sense, even the parts that we cannot see and our minds are not aware of. When we ignore, deny or judge the body, we deny ourselves access to vital information. This often takes the form of subtle sensations that give rise to intuitive insight and the opportunity of taking care of ourselves and others.
In fact, if we learn to listen to and support our bodies, we can re-claim much of our innate wisdom. For example we can readily access the vital information that enables us to relate more deeply, support ourselves with right nutrition and begin to naturally heal ourselves and others.
Innate Intelligence of our Bodies
Like all other life forms, our bodies have an innate intelligence. There are vital tasks to undertake from the moment we come into existence. Growing – we don’t control how we grow, we simply grow. We don’t control the blood flow around our bodies; the heart does its job with no conscious instruction from us. Our immune system orchestrates miracles on our behalf every day.
Hair, nails, skin regeneration, breathing, even the creation of new life – it all goes on no matter what our conscious mind is asking the body to do. We don’t need to issue instructions or make decisions. It is the essence of life and it is divinely magical.
Why the dis-connection?
We have each travelled our own path of socialisation, through various forms of indoctrination from family and religion to school, peers, media etc. We all know the yearning to belong, to feel safe, special and loved. And somehow in order to satisfy these needs, we mistakenly came to regard our bodies as objects, things or machines rather than as a precious, living host to our being.
Eventually, being separated in this way we felt free to control and manage the body, to make it fit our idea of perfection, or at least acceptability. And sometimes we would even commit acts of violence against it – this most wondrous part of ourselves.
Severe deprivation, overwork, diets, excessive exercise, cosmetic surgery, mood altering chemicals – all in the pursuit of the ‘perfect body’ or the ‘perfect life’.
As a result, that ‘other’ thing, the body, was often seen as an embarrassment, a nuisance, or simply denied altogether and the pure delight of the body and its senses are thus lost to us as well. We may even have ended up pretending to enjoy ourselves! For example continuing to ingest excessive amounts of food and other substances in the effort to tolerate the boredom or fear we feel. We strive in vain, to find the very pleasure and validation that already exists in the connection to life that is always waiting for our attention.
And this is all because we are searching in the wrong places. We keep travelling in the other direction, continuing to deny ourselves, thinking that we (or the current ‘experts) know better.
The Funny thing is…
No matter how separate we become, no matter what abuse is inflicted upon our body, by ourselves and by others, our innate intelligence never falters. That immaculate intelligence that is our collective living system we call the body, continues to perform the functions needed to survive and grow, in spite of all the obstacles we impose upon it.
Only when we choose to remove the wedge that was driven between our body and ourselves can we begin to live in a joyous appreciation of the inter-connectedness of all life. And it can happen much more easily that you might think!
Radical self-acceptance is the first step in returning to the fullness of our beings. Self-love through the release of false judgements lies at the core of rediscovering the innate wisdom we all have within our own bodies. I teach this method both to individuals and in groups, including the Women, Power and Body Wisdom retreat which is held once each year.
Inn this work we reconnect with the parts we have abandoned, which continue to faithfully serve us no matter what. We learn to trust our intuition through the body’s unique language. And this gives us the power to lead ourselves to a place where we are softly and lovingly as one with ourselves. From this place of wholeness we are more aware, more compassionate, more alive – and capable of extraordinary things.