In my last therapy appointment, my somatic therapist asked if we could play around with reaching. She would reach toward me. I would reach toward her. As my arms started to extend, I felt panicky. Anxious. I didn’t want to be seen reaching.Read More
When you can begin to see how your psycho-emotional environment intersects with what's available to you in your body, you can start having some compassion for some of the obstacles you face in your movement. You can also start to change your environment.Read More
I felt like I was making a life-or-death choice. Like choosing one place to live was a prescription for utter desolation and like choosing another would leave me bereft of my soul. I have been clearly "overreacting."Read More
If you are like one of the many people who work with me, connect online or email me expressing your curiosity and confusion and delight at the interplay of your heart/emotions/psyche/narrative/life and the way you use your body, this post is for you.Read More
So many of you are laboring away in different ways, owning the life you seek to create, doing the work to support it. You are stretching your calves and sitting on the floor and walking instead of driving. You are going to therapy and feeling the feelings and challenging the beliefs you hold that tell you to just give up.Read More
You know your body needs to be tended to, but you're not sure how to make it happen when your day-to-day life involves a desk. This video is FOR YOU. :)
I recorded this video as a Facebook Live, looking at really practical changes you can make and super simple movements you can include, AND I talk about purpose and assumptions and all that good stuff.
When you're ready for more, go snag my FREE download, The Getting Better Guide. This is the path I turn to when my body isn't working the way I think it should. http://www.launchyourresilientlife.com/…
And also a little plug that my amazing 4-week program, Launch Your Resilient Life, is getting a Mother's Day discount next weekend (woohoo!). If you want in on it, you'll need to be on my email list (getting the guide will pop you in) or in my private FB group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/there...
Thanks for watching. And I'd love for you to share this with all your desk-jockey friends. The more we can move throughout our days, the healthier we will be! And the more company we'll have when we look weird. ;)
When I knew I'd be moving away from Philadelphia, one of the hardest things to face was the fact that I'd developed a pretty great team for my health and now I'd be leaving it (btw, if you live around Philly and you need people, hit me up - I'll tell who to see).
I'd spent years seeking out and finding people who could help me on my journey toward experiencing life as I longed to: feeling safe and healthy in my body.
The last five years in Philly had a LOT of rough spots.
I had a traumatic cesarean birth.
I delved into childhood sexual abuse.
I faced immense grief, including my mother's death.
I went through two miscarriages.
I developed chronic digestive struggles.
I had pelvic imbalances.
Plus, all the things that came before and were never addressed.
I needed help.
So I worked with regular MDs, integrative/functional doctors, movement teachers, naturopaths, acupuncturists, energy healers, midwives, physical therapists, somatic psychotherapists and body workers.
And not just that, but I read books and blogs and listened to podcasts and consulted colleagues.
In hindsight, all of this exploration right before I got pregnant with my son in 2010.
I discovered the work of John Sarno, who posits that a lot of physical pain we experience is psychosomatic. Emotional and psychic struggles lead to physical adaptations that present as pain and dysfunction.
While Sarno's prescription for addressing this is not something I make use of, his general theories blew me away. I'd had a lot of inexplicable chronic pain and dysfunction and what I learned through his work paved the way for just about everything that was to come.
And you know how I found Sarno? Meditation. I was meditating on my health one day and asking for guidance and felt the strong insight to google. It was what I now call "intuitive googling." :)
So then I had my son and the birth was rough and I wanted to understand it and again I just followed my nose, allowing my explorations to be guided by my feelings, to be guided by my inner sense.
And that work led me to Katy Bowman. Who taught me all about movement. (And certified me to teach you about movement.)
But I still had so much work to do in my own body.
So I kept following my nose. I kept asking around. I kept expanding my boundaries and beliefs. I kept trying new things because it felt right and made some sense even if I couldn't reason it out.
Which led me to my heart, to meditation, to breath work, to combining movement with heart-centered practices, to all those practitioners I mentioned, to study with new teachers. It's what led me into writing and dancing and an amazing ability to navigate my life on different terms. It's what's enabled me to feel trust in my body, to know what is needed and to respond to those needs. It's what led me home to myself.
Which brings me to today.
We've moved across the country and so I've left my team of people that have been helping me with my health.
But I'm still not entirely clear about what's going on with my fertility. And the digestive stuff is definitely not settled. And besides, if you've been following along, you know the transition has been a wee bit stressful for me.
So I need a new team.
I asked around and found a functional medicine doctor who is also an applied kinesiology chiropractor. Now I don't know much about AK chiropractors, but that's never stopped me before. Truthfully, I usually know very little beforehand about the work I seek out...I learn it through practice and by reading/talking later.
All that to say, AK chiros test your neurological function. At my appointment with her, she had me move through a series of movements to determine what parts of me were "on" and which were not. Turns out I have low vagal tone (unsurprising to me and likely causing/contributing to the digestive problems) and that my left bicep is "off."
She also tested my core and hip flexors and pelvis for function, and it was all on.
But here's the MOST AMAZING THING (well, to me, anyway!):
She told me that women who have had c-sections don't have this kind of function.
Something is always not working, especially their hip flexors or parts of their core. She was really, really surprised (and seemed a little baffled) that my body was presenting differently.
It didn't hit me until later how absolutely extraordinary this is.
I'm not a fitness rock star. Half of you reading this can probably do more interesting/challenging things with your body than me, be it pilates roll downs (or is it ups?) or longer planks, or more pull ups or run marathons.
I'm not some spiritual/emotional/belief rock star. I am neurotic and fearful and disbelieving a full 30% of the time. I tend toward anxiety and melancholy. I have asked my husband a thousand times if he thinks I will ever be really done with this "fixing." In other words, I am incredibly inconstant.
I also didn't follow some detailed prescription. No one said, "Hey, women like you don't have function here and you need to do x, y, and z in order to fix yourself." No one said that because, truthfully, it doesn't exist. Or it exists for some things in some ways, but not for all things in all ways. Health is, in so many ways, an n=1 paradigm. I had to cobble my own thing together
As I was meditating this morning (but not for the last 36 mornings - see I'm inconstant!), I realized the power of this.
I realized that I had done this. I had created the conditions through which my body could regain full function after major abdominal surgery. And I did this against the odds.
I had taken myself seriously. I listened to my body, I believed my heart, I paid attention where I had been taught to ignore.
I had explored every avenue that called to me, be it finding a new acupuncturist or exploring vaginal massage or creating a ritual or sleeping on the floor or touching the earth with my skin. I opened my mind and my heart and became willing to go new places.
I had worked my body. I put my hands on it. I moved it more and in different ways. I studied it and slowed down the movements and found where I get stuck. I worked at the edge of my boundaries. I did this over and over and over again.
I had gotten help. A lot of it. I spent a lot of money. I invested a lot of time.
I changed my life. My relationships, my habits, my geography, my food, my beliefs.
Most of us are going around with lots of ourselves in the "off" position. This is hard on our biology. Not having full function requires adaptations that can turn into disease and dysfunction. This happens because of stress, because of surgery, because of injury, because of sedentary living, because of too much blue light, because...
But here's the thing about my story: I didn't stay in the off position. Even though that's what normally happens.
After meditating this morning, I felt so enlivened by my own story! I felt such excitement about the possibilities for what happens when you follow your intuition, when you move forward even though you aren't sure what you're doing, when you change your life even though you can't always see an immediate benefit. I felt so excited about MOVING.
For years I've been tuning into my body, getting support, educating myself, changing my habits, taking on new exercises. But you can't always see what's happening IN the body. And there's only so much I know about the body, only so many of its languages that I speak, so I haven't been able to quantify all of the changes, even if I've noticed them.
To have it reflected back to me in this doctor's visit was a delightfully validating experience.
I beat the odds.
I created something unusual.
(This is what Restore Your Wild is about. I literally can't give you a prescription that's going to take your ailments away, that's going to fix your life. What I CAN give you is a pathway to your wild self - a pathway of movement, a pathway of reflection, a pathway of inspiration, a pathway of belief work, a pathway of creation. Because it's never going to be me or anyone else who makes this happen for you. It's your wild self who is going to guide you down YOUR path to the life and health and movements you need. I'm here to bring you into contact with your wild self.)
I've taken my journey as an act of faith. I've done all of this as an act of intuition. I've kept going as an act of integrity.
Turns out, it was the right choice.
You need to move. It helps you meet your basic biological needs. And enhance your relationships. And deepen your sense of community. And grow in love. And be available for the big questions in life.Read More
It's not just today we need to be looking out for when we are choosing between the floor and a chair, when we are choosing between corrective exercises and stiffer shoe, when we are choosing between sitting on the sacrum or rolling the pelvis forward, when we are choosing between a walk and mindless time on the internet.
It's tomorrow, too.
When I began my training as a life coach nearly a decade ago, one of the areas we explored was "tolerations."
Tolerations are those things that you put up with but often don't need to.
They are the habits, relationships, physical objects, beliefs, etc., that drag you down and get in the way of a richer quality of life.
Here are a few tolerations in my own life right now:
- a messy office/studio
- not having a summery wrap or jacket to wear when it's hot and sunny to prevent a sunburn
- a crazy bad haircut (getting fixed this afternoon!)
- tension in my chest and shoulders
- limited range of motion in my feet
- living too far from a more natural/peaceful environment
All of these are things I can address. And if I don't, they will nag at me. Get in the way of me doing what I really want. Nudge my self-esteem down. Make life less enjoyable. Leave me less able to experience life's fullness.
It can be an incredibly powerful - but sometimes overwhelming - thing to look at all of your tolerations at once. But it can also lend itself to opening up new possibilities.
For example, at my first coach training, one of my instructors shared how she addressed a LOOOONG list of tolerations by selling her house. Her husband had passed away in it and being in the house surrounded her with painful memories. There were a ton of repairs needed. And the space and location didn't really suit her needs. So she sold the house and life drastically improved.
I wonder what you are tolerating? What in your life are you simply "putting up with"?
TOLERATION AS CAPACITY
There's another side to this, though. It has to do with your ability to tolerate discomfort, your ability to maintain your sense of self in the face of opposition, in the face of stress, in the presence of unwanted realities. It has to do with capacity.
Perhaps you've explored this understanding of toleration, too. When your life - your relationships, your body, your profession, your whatever - challenge your sense of self and your steadfastness and your ability to be present. When you are beyond your capacity.
I was thinking about this in the shower this morning (still my favorite place to think, even with a 4-year-old constantly checking in!). I was thinking about a specific relationship that has really challenged my capacity and I was being with my sadness around being misperceived, I stayed with feelings of shame that I would be seen in these particular ways.
And the question arose...."Can I tolerate this?"
And the answer arose..."Yes."
Yes, I can tolerate the fact that there are people who think poorly of me. I can tolerate knowing that I am misperceived. I can tolerate that I am misunderstood and maligned.
It felt good to know this.
The question evolved from there, though, and became, "What can't you tolerate that you wish to tolerate?"
And I thought of my belly - and the distension that I've dealt with for years (which went away recently and just returned following this miscarriage - something to be with, for sure). And I thought of the pelvic floor discomfort that sometimes arises. And I thought of parts of my husband. And particular behaviors of my son. And certain behaviors of myself.
I felt sad that there were these parts of life that leave me unmoored. That when I encounter them I get lost and anxious and unable to consistently stay with myself (and others). I felt sad that my capacity for toleration is so low in these places.
And that felt okay, too.
I feel sad, and I can also see how my capacity has doubled, has tripled, has just grown and grown over the last few years. As I wrote about to you last week, my recent miscarriage really brought that home to me. So my sadness wasn't mixed with hopelessness. I know I'm on the right path. But it can be hard to see the ways I'm not able to be the person I want to be.
Have you run into those limits in yourself? Those places where maybe you freak out about your body? Or you lose your shit with your partner or kid? Or you punish yourself in some way or another?
Clearly, I totally get it.
THE BODY IS THE WAY IN
Over the years, I keep discovering how the body becomes this way in. This way into encountering these places. This way of seeing and knowing and changing, yes, changing!
Whether it's noticing what happens in your body when you go visit someone or pick up an object in your home...
Whether it's staying in touch with your feelings of panic as you get into a particular position...
Whether it's playing with the breath as you talk about particular subjects...
Whether it's opening yourself up to changing your definitions around health and your willingness to change your self/life to meet those definitions...
Whether it's observing the moment that you lose or gain sensation, awareness and a loving posture toward yourself...
Whether it's exploring the way your movement habits change depending on the situation...
The body helps you know what you are unnecessarily tolerating and where your capacity for toleration could stand to increase.
My 8-week course, HeartBody Method is about this capacity.
HBM is about finding your physical capacity - the limits to your range of motion - so you can move without getting injured and begin to make real change.
HBM is about meeting yourself where you are - no matter your capacity - with love and curiosity and showing up over and over again.
HBM is about working at the edges of your capacity so that you can extend your capacity.
But it's also about eliminating tolerations.
HBM is about ending your toleration around NOT being in true relationship with your body.
HBM is about giving you the tools to take care of the body issues that you are tolerating.
HBM is about you being able to see more clearly what you need and don't need in your life to bring you toward wholeness.
I've recently written about the miscarriage I experienced last week. You can read about it here if you missed it and would like some context for this post, which is coming to you as part of your interest in some element or another of HeartBody Method.
Because most people on this list are interested in the deeper stuff, I want to explore a deeper element with you.
At some point in this miscarriage, I didn't feel like I could keep going. It had been well over 36 hours and I was in a long stretch of intense cramping. I didn't know when this round of cramping would end, and more than that, I didn't know if this would be the last round.
I felt demoralized and drained and totally, wildly, out of control.
I started to feel like a victim. Not a victim of having a miscarriage. But a victim of having this miscarriage.
I tend to go on high-alert when I am moving through a physical process and victimhood feelings arise. When it comes up for me, it speaks to a total lack of self-efficacy. It speaks of an absence of choice. It’s me, being in a one-down position with something outside me. It’s me, having lost my connection to self and to Life.
And so I noticed that I felt like a victim.
And I noticed that this was familiar space to me.
And I loved on myself, grieving for the ways that I WAS a victim, grieving for the ways that I AM a victim.
And then I noticed that I was not, in fact, chained to having this particular experience. That I had the absolute power of choice to walk into any hospital and request (and receive) a dilation and evacuation so that this could be completed quickly. That I could drug myself up if I wished to hurt less, feel less. That while I couldn’t - and wouldn’t wish to - prevent the miscarriage, I still had choices to make in how I experienced it.
A really difficult fact of life (at least difficult for most of us) is that so much is outside our control. Life is a series of things working out and things not working out and we can see this so clearly in our bodies. They are really responsive to what we consciously give them (good food! exercise!), but what we consciously give them isn't the only factor in play. There are the unconscious gifts (like the beliefs we hold about safety or about sitting) and there are our genetics, and there are chromosomal flukes and there are physical accidents and deep traumas experienced at the hands of others.
We are all dealt “unfair” hands. We all are living with some elements of the luck of the draw.
For me, this past weekend, I started to push against this "unfairness." I started to freak out as I encountered the way my body was not under my control, the way the baby who left was not under my control, the way this experience was unfolding in ways that I didn't want it to unfold.
Have you experienced this in yourself?
Have you found yourself pushing against the reality in your body, trying to get it to stop, feeling like a victim, resisting feeling like a victim, believing you have NO choice in the matter, believing you have every choice in the matter? Have you found yourself unwilling to be with the feelings of victimhood, pushing against them, too? Have you been trying to "just keep it together" or "stay positive"?
I imagine that all but the enlightened among us frequently run into our desire for control and experience the panic that ensues when we realize we're not, in fact, in control.
In my practice, I notice two things about this:
1. We forget to be with our pain around the fact that our bodies are not controllable. That our lives are not controllable.
2. We forget we have a choice about how we show up that deeply impacts the entirety of an experience.
One of the (painful) choices I made in the course of my miscarriage was to postpone delivering the first module of HeartBody Method.
I emailed my course students, explained what was going on, and went back to bed.
I mourned the fact that I wasn't going to creating this content that I love RIGHT AWAY. I mourned the fact that I might be perceived negatively. I mourned the fact that I wasn't keeping my commitment.
But continuing on would have kept me in that victim loop. It would have fed me a story that my body and its needs were a victim of productivity, of my creativity, of my deadlines and, god forbid, of my students.
I realized I had choices that would honor my body's and heart's needs and I made those choices. It was sad, but empowering.
All of these experiences left me deeply appreciating the HeartBody work I've done.
My experience of this miscarriage was profoundly altered as a result of the methods I'm sharing in HeartBody Method. The miscarriage I had last year was deeply healing, too, and I could tell I was even more different for this one, that I had new ways of showing up, that I could make different choices and that those choices impact how healthy I am coming out of an experience over which I do not have control.
It's powerful stuff.
I had hoped to write more about HeartBody Method last week, after the course started, because I know more of you are still thinking about it.
But I set communicating aside so that I could take care of myself.
I'm back to it today BECAUSE of my miscarriage.
I'm back because it profoundly showed me the power of this work, the amazing strength you have access to when you connect your heart and your body.
It showed me that HeartBody work flows through all areas of life, deepens the experience of life and gives you new tools - really practical tools about how to use your body in ways that lead to cellular health and really intuitive tools that lead to better decision making on behalf of your body.
I deeply believe in this work and would love to know that the people who want it and need it have access to you.
The second child in as many years left my body unexpectedly this last week. This time, when I realized I was miscarrying, I spent time thinking about what I wanted this experience to be like. Or rather, who I wanted to be in this experience. How I wanted to show up to it.Read More
We've all been there.
You know, hunched forward tending to something.
Trying to stay warm time.
And also hunched forward in a response to our emotional reality.
And also hunched forward because of what we HAVEN'T been doing.
Reaching overhead time.
Reaching behind us time.
Picking up heavy things and moving them time.
Letting our arms swing free while walking time.
The doing or not dong of these things contributes to that fetal position. It contributes to an imbalance that, with time, leaves us developing what is known as hyperkyphosis. Hunchback. A widow's hump.
If you're reading this, you probably have some amount of hyperkyphosis. It's hard not to with the technology you are using to read this, combined with the total lack of whole-body movement required for you to live (e.g., did you need to hunt or gather something this morning to eat?)
These last two weeks have definitely decreased my upper body range of motion. My body has adapted even further to the intense amounts of computer time I've offered it as I launch HeartBody Method.
In any event, I've got a workout for all of us to address this problem. Ready for it?
I'll be doing this workout later today and chatting about it over on the FB group. I'll be doing a livestream there at 2pm, too, if you wanna come ask questions or work on raising your game a little bit with these exercises.
I'd love to hear what it's like for you to move through this series, to know what opens up for you.
I also want to suggest something.
In many ways, we're working around the heart here. We need to expose the body to new movements, to continue to offer it something other than our chair position, our typing and texting positions. We simply cannot expect there to be much change if, MOST OF THE TIME, we are putting ourselves in literal positions that reinforce the alignment we are trying to correct. But very often, there's something else at play, something deeper.
- What is it that keeps you from opening your heart?
- What is it that keeps you picking up your device every break you get when you could be opening up your chest, your back, your heart?
- What is it that has you feeling closed and protective?
- What is it that keeps you from climbing trees?
- What is it that keeps you from hanging within your ACTUAL, active range of motion, so you'll start to see change?
- What is that has you avoiding this part?
What is it for me?
These are important questions. They may help you unlock your resistance to addressing this part of your body.
Sending lots of love to you, and wishes for an upper back, chest and heart, yes heart, that is open.
Enjoy the workout!
Our feet are important. They contain 1/4 of all the bones in the body and an absurd amount of joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons. For most of us, they are the primary way we have of moving our bodies across the earth.Read More
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!
I realized this week that there are some things that I take for granted, that I tend to assume every other movement teacher already has or does or is. It turns out a few things combine into a unique alchemy in me.Read More
Beliefs drive our actions and movement is an action. Therefore, if you want to really start moving and stop hurting, you're going to need to deal with the beliefs that are sustaining your current ailments.Read More
I know it feels like you can't do it. I really get it. There's no time to exercise, there's no time to walk, there's no time to NOT be stressed.
If we were to get down and deep, I could tell you all about the lows I've faced, the struggles to take care of myself and my family. The money troubles, the family-of-origin troubles, the body troubles. I could talk ad nauseam about the uncertainty, the questions of whether things are going to work out okay in the meta- and micro-senses.
I would also tell you this: I kept moving. I kept finding the sticky parts of my body and worked to unravel them. I logged 2, 3, 10 miles a day. I psoas released, sometimes in a heap of tears. I slept more, stretched more, checked in with my body more.
Your body is the vessel that enables, supports, gives life to everything else that interests you and brings you pleasure and satisfies your curiosity in this beautiful life. It's the container through which you solve your problems and explore your world.
You want a good life? Take care of this beautiful, physical gift.
Take care, even though there are dishes to be done and more work to find. Even though there's facebook. Even though the cat needs to go to the vet and the kid needs her diaper changed. Even though you feel scared of your body, and unsure of its needs and afraid of hurting yourself. Even though every message you receive is telling you to take care of something else, anything else.
Take care anyway. Full stop.
I deeply believe that alignment and natural movement are essential components to whole-self health. This work is foundational to what enables you to reconnect with, restore and reawaken your body.
Since you have a body, I'm assuming you sometimes, or always, have experiences of pain or of some part of your body not working the way it "should."
Maybe you have:
- lingering shoulder pain that won't go away
- you pee when you sneeze
- you are a weekend warrior who hurts just as much as your couch-potato friends
- your back aches when you sit too long, stand too long, lie down too long
- you can't get your palms flat on the ground without pain radiating up your arms
- sitting on the floor feels like a fantasy
- your digestion/sleep/reproduction isn't happening
Maybe you are really, really tired of feeling this way. You've turned to a bunch of resources and nothing has helped. Or nothing has helped long term.
You expected to be better and you're not.
I wonder if this brings up some big feelings for you?
This happens to me ALL THE TIME. So often it is starting to amuse me. :)
My body starts to hurt.
Something stops working.
I have HUGE feelings about it.
And so I try to throw a bunch of things at it, I try to give it what I think it needs, I try to ignore it, placate it, distract it, but still. It persists.
My body is like this big ball of neediness and I just can't get it to quiet down.
As though my body shouldn't be needy.
As though I shouldn't have needs.
As though needs are bad.
See that? See how we walked smack-dab into some deeply held belief. A belief that is uncomfortable to look at. A belief I don't actually want to have.
All this. Because my body persisted.
To me, this is central to what it means to make use of my pain and dysfunction. To view my physical problems as my teachers.
But there is more.
Our pain doesn't just teach us about our beliefs. Our dysfunction isn't just about our psychology.
The body is offering us symptoms. Red flags. It's saying "something isn't working" and "please see me."
It's an invitation to follow a trail, to explore more, to MOVE more, to actually fix the problem.
One of the exercises I teach is a calf stretch. But I teach the calf stretch with a set of parameters that makes it WAY more useful to changing the actual length and function of the muscle fibers in your calf.
And you know what happens for almost all people? Because this calf stretch doesn't move the body deep, into the elastic properties of the muscle, they almost always feel nothing.
And they are really irritated to feel nothing. :)
I mean, what's a stretch if it doesn't have feeling, right?
So I see this dichotomy, this swinging from one polarity - help me feel nothing! - to another - I need to feel something!
When we ignore our body's signals for so long, they stop being sent. The first time you sat in a chair for 8 hours a day, your body probably screamed at you. Everything felt really crappy. Horrible. Never-do-that-again.
But then you DID do it again. And again. And again. And now you can probably be stationary, in a chair, for 8 hours and think nothing of it.
The body didn't suddenly change its mind about the chair. You stopped listening.
Unfortunately, by not listening to these initial needs, we have lost our ability to hear a whisper, a conversational tone, maybe even a shout.
Now we only hear our bodies when they are screaming at us with pain and dysfunction.
And so here we are. :) Here I am. And that's fine, too.
I'm learning to cultivate a sensitivity to the lower volumes of the body. But also learning to be with the feelings that come up and then to follow the path my symptoms show me so that I can make real, physical (and often, emotional) changes to how I am using my body.
Become more resilient doesn't happen by ignoring your body, placating it, distracting it.
Becoming more resilient is about entering into relationship with it, over and over and over again, pain and all.