Connect to yourself and the earth through your living body
How do you live in your body? Do you drop in for occasional visits when showering, getting a massage, or walking in nature? Do you give your body the bare minimum (nurturing food, movement, and rest) so it’ll keep carrying your mind around?
Maybe you are curious about more embodiment: learning to connect to yourself and the earth through experiencing the living body.
I just returned from a profound week, studying and experiencing Somatic and Relational Transformation, the work of Sharon Stanley.
While I’ve yet to put words to my personal journey, I wanted to share some ways to put the mind (the left brain hemisphere) in the passenger seat, instead of its usual call to drive the bus. Then we can tap the well of wisdom and life that is our home: our body.
Let’s talk about embodiment
What is embodiment? Embodiment allows for profound attunement, intuitive communication, creative expression, and resonance between all beings, spirit, earth, and plant life. It’s relational, meaning you are both within yourself and connected.
In this attuned way of cellular existence, the spirit, soul, and planetary life forms can convene — a kind of vibrational reciprocity and way of life that meets the aliveness of the moment.
The practice of embodiment serves a full-bodied conscious awareness of the subtle movements of energies, fluids, rhythms, sensations, emotions, feelings, thoughts, images, and phenomena that makes up a living body.
Even if you don’t realize it, your body experiences a full spectrum of life, spirit, relationship, existence, attunement, connection, and vitality. As we practice being embodied, we can discern our cues for basic needs (sleep, rest, food, sex, exercise, movement, bodily functions, connection, expression, etc.).
What is disembodiment? When we experience disembodiment, we deny, override, distort, or inadequately discern our bodies’ sensations and cues. When we have wounded, fractured, and/or disconnected experiences — through family relations, illness, violence, war, oppression, poverty, climate crisis, etc. — and no communities or individuals to help repair or heal, the residue of that trauma lives in our bodies.
For me, standing up straighter feels good, but residues of self protection often show up in a persistent slump.
Trauma interrupts and severs the neural connections between the most primitive parts of the brain and the more complex and recently evolved parts of the brain. This disconnection from self, the body, others, essence, and the world shows up as being overwhelmed, powerless, helpless, meaningless, etc.
Where does the mind come in? Your left brain aims to make cognitive sense of our lives. It tells stories of the past, present, and future — about our relationship to ourselves, others, and the world in hopes of healing the trauma.
But while the left brain helps us run the show of our everyday life, it doesn’t create the healing. Our sweet minds learn from the body. At the same time, if we don’t have an embodied way to relate to trauma, the mind can create stories to protect us from feeling our bodies as well.
Learning to be in the body and heal. Practicing somatic meditations helps you not only experience your body, but also hold your areas of trauma with a larger perspective. If you experience residual trauma that keeps you from being in your body, finding an experienced Somatic Transformation or other somatic healer or therapist can transform your life.
Bridge to your body
Even though I don’t directly practice somatic therapy (I honor the depth of personal and educational training this deep work requires), I relish helping my clients create bridges to their bodies. That’s because the mind will not make you sleep — you need a relationship with your body to rest and let go.
In whatever ways your embrace your life vehicle, may your embodiment connectyou to others, to yourself, and this sweet earth, our home.
“Trauma is an accumulation of fear, resilience is an accumulation of love.” ~ Sharon Stanley
Let’s pay our bodies a living wage by accumulating presence and love