For a few reasons, I've been thinking lately about my son's birth.
My son was born on a rainy August day after a 54 hour labor. I had prepared for birth as best as I could and felt confident in my body and in my support team. But what I encountered was beyond my capacity. His birth was long, it was painful, it was really, really hard. After nearly two days of laboring - at hour 40 - I found myself being transferred from a birthing center to a hospital to have an epidural and pitocin. Fourteen hours after that, after two midwives and one obstetrician said there didn't seem to be another option, my son was born by cesarean section.
I can still feel the pain inside me as I right this. The deep, deep fear. The absolute sense of failure.
And in the YEARS following, the certainty that my body had failed me.
Have you felt this way?
Have you experienced something in your body that fills you with fear and pain and a sense of failure?
Have you felt so angry at how your body has betrayed you?
Have you felt so hopeless and demoralized?
I write about my birthing experience because it's big and perhaps easy to imagine the sense of failure. Yet most of us experience this with other, less apparently epic events, too.
It could be your recurrent arthritic flare-ups. It could be your digestive woes. It could be your pelvic organ prolapse. It could be your chronic headaches or your bunions or your hip pain.
It could be that you can't do a pull-up. Or your core is weak. Or you can't run without peeing your pants.
It could be that your skin is loosening, your knees are stiffening, your weight just won't stay where you want it.
It could be that any of these leaves you with that sense of pain and fear and failure.
It's so painful, isn't it? It's so painful to be with yourself in this way, to have these thoughts and feelings about your body.
And yet what is there to do? When your body is effing up in serious ways, how is it possible to not be so hurting, to not believe these things about yourself?
I've spent the last six years exploring these very questions. And not just exploring them, but devoting myself to healing body and heart so that I could find another way to BE in the world, to BE with myself without believing I was a victim of a punishing body.
Yesterday, I drove past the birthing center where my son was supposed to be born. Across the street is the hospital where he eventually was born.
And I felt a twinge of sadness. The longing for a peaceful, gentle birth and the memory of all the pain.
But mostly? Mostly I was excited to look in the rear view mirror at my four year old and tell him how excited I was that he was born. What a special day it was. How we worked so hard to get him here and how THAT was the very place where he finally came into the world.
Absent from this conversation was a sense of failure. Absent was the presence of fear of and alienation from my body.
The truth is that I can now be with feelings of body failure.
When they come up - and they DO come up - I can stay with them, listen to them, honor them. But they no longer consume me. They no longer define my body reality.
I've stepped into a larger truth - the one that knows that my body has done everything right. It's done its best to protect me, take care of me, give me what I need.
This larger truth that tells me that the ways my body has adapted are ingenious (even if painful), that my symptoms are evidence of this wise adaptation.
This larger truth that tells me I am not powerless in relationship with my body, that how I use it, what I feed it, what I believe about it - that all of these things impact it's function, impact its adaptation. I have conscious choice about these things.
And also the larger truth that tells me I am not in control. That there is my history and there are genetics and there is the luck of the draw.
This is what HeartBody Method is about.
HeartBody Method is about stepping into this larger truth about your body - it's about changing the foundations of the relationship.
No amount of telling yourself to believe differently will help.
You need to be IN your body, playing, exploring, expanding - if you want to have a different relationship with it. HeartBody Method is the process for getting you IN your body so you can encounter this larger truth.
And you may need other supports, too, things like bodywork or medical care or therapeutic processes. HeartBody Method also helps you identify what else you need.
Following are the modules of the course, and they are infused with Heart Workshops, Movement Explorations, Movement Essentials, Embodied Shifting, Movement Meditations, Artful Expression, Movement Coaching and Daily Inspiration:
I would love to know your questions. I would love to hear any concerns. I want to make sure you have what you need to decide whether HeartBody Method is for you.
For now, I mostly want to reinforce that your body loves you. That it's doing it's very best. That you're in this together.
And so are we!