Hang on a moment – right now, are you in your body? You may be moving it about, your voice may be coming out of it, and you may be very conscious of the way it looks from the outside…but are you actually in this body, being it and feeling it as an aspect of yourself? Or are you just driving it around like a car?
To thrive, you need to feel safe, confident and effective. You need to feel these things in your body. Everything you feel, think, intend and are in this world, is manifested through the movements and responses of your body.
It’s common for pain or fear to make us leave our physical bodies. Sometimes we make the choice to leave, in order to escape unbearable experiences. Often that’s the best, or only, option open to us. Many people exit their bodies early in life and never return, or only return much later, with the help of healing and methods such as shamanic soul retrieval (more on that another time).
Whether you move in and out of your body, or whether you deserted it years ago, your ability to feel secure and to take care of yourself will increase, the more embodied you become. If you’ve suffered trauma, be gentle with yourself in this process.
In Part 1, I asked you to take some quiet time to become aware of what you’re feeling in your body. If for the time being you want to avoid difficult areas, pick a part of your body that you’re comfortable exploring. Again, just be aware of what you feel, and of any adjustments your body wants to make.
Here’s an example. A few minutes ago, I began to feel tension in my chest and shoulders, reminding me that I’d been on the computer for the last hour and a half. I sat back in my chair, stretched my neck, and realized I wasn’t breathing deeply enough. (Unsurprising, as when we use computers, our systems really struggle with the energies of their electro-magnetic fields.) As I breathed more deeply, I felt the need in my body to move. I went outside, walked barefoot on the grass for five minutes, and let my eyes rest on the clouds in the distance. I returned feeling alive and relaxed. I did that because it’s what my body told me to do. It was simple, it took a few minutes, and it felt a hundred times better than having a coffee and driving myself on.
Some helpful things to try:-
- Move. Feel the ground beneath your feet. Whatever floor you’re on, underneath it all is Earth, holding you steady. Even if all you do is leave your desk for a glass of water, do it with awareness of your feet carrying you, your hands filling your glass, your body’s longing and gratitude for that water.
- Make a non-verbal noise with your voice. Sing, whistle, growl, hoot, laugh.
- Say thanks to your body for its endless work. If you need to be gruff and ironic about it, OK. Try saying it anyway.
- Give attention to what you touch, smell, hear, taste. Check with your body what it really likes and doesn’t like. You might be surprised. Give your eyes a break, especially from images. Too much unnatural visual input stresses the body.
- Play outdoors. If you feel shy, enlist children or dogs to help. The sillier and more pointless the game, the better.
There are many deep reasons for learning to become embodied. One is that our wonderful bodies are also the keepers of our personal truths. I’ve worked with so many clients, as well as myself, through healing, shamanic work, astrology and psychotherapy, and repeatedly I’ve seen how our bodies try ceaselessly to tell the truths of our lives. Our brains and egos might wish to avoid our truths, but our brave bodies continue trying to speak, even to the point of suffering serious illness and accidents in the attempt to get attention and healing.
Please, let your body lead you home to your true self.
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