The Space Between

May I use a religious story to share about the body?

Today is Easter. In the Christian calendar, Good Friday is recognized as the anniversary of Jesus' death and two days later, Easter Sunday, is celebrated as his coming back to life. 

As a child, I was only really aware of Easter Day. Candy, egg hunts, a new dress. Good Friday surfaced into my awareness as an adult, but in the last decade or so, the part of the Easter story that has most interested me has been the day between. 

I have a metaphorical fascination with "Holy Saturday." 

In the narrative of Easter, all of these people were counting on Jesus to save them in some way or another and he failed them. He went and died. There would have been the disorientation of grief and longing and fear and disappointment. Saturday would have been a really shitty day.

Where are we when we have left one place and not yet entered the next? Where one set of beliefs has met their death and those that will guide the future have not yet emerged? 

It's like a no-man's land. A lost place. A ship without an anchor. 

For so long, my experience of my body was like Holy Saturday. I felt lost, aimless, unsafe. Something in me had died and I felt betrayed. My body had betrayed me. 

You know this feeling. I know you know it because I hear from so many of you.  

You feel lost.

You feel betrayed.

You are in shock.

You don't believe something more is possible.

You need to believe something more is possible.

You are angry, bitter, hopeless.

Or at least some parts of you are.


Moving through the Essential 9 Resets is what starts to shift you. It's what enables you to meet yourself in that dark, hopeless place and says, "Look, there is yet life. I don't know exactly what that means, but I know there is more." It's you, offering your body a defibrillator or the Heimlich maneuver or CPR. It's you, reaching out toward yourself with compassion, offering space to be fully in Holy Saturday so that you can begin to feel your way into Easter Sunday.

Do you get what I am saying? 

I am here to support you whether you are feeling overwhelmed by the drama of Good Friday, despairing in the grief of Holy Saturday or disbelieving at the impossibility of Easter Sunday.

meet yourself.png

Your body...it will continue to invite you into reconnection so you can meet yourself where you are and, perhaps, little by little, transform your own body narrative.

My Problems Are My Teachers

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? 

Anger.

Resentment.

Frustration.

Fear.

Sadness.

Panic.

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.

Ahhhh....

A gift.

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. 

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.

 

Health is a Verb

I spend a LOT of life reflecting on and exploring in my body what it means to be resilient. What it means to move more and better. What it means to get out of pain, to increase function and strength and health.

It wakes me up at night, it finds me in the morning, it greets me on my afternoon walk and during my psoas releases and lateral hip exercises. It climbs its way into my belly with dinner and rests on me after I make love to my partner.

These are questions of physics and chemistry and evolution. And they are questions of energy and psychology and spirituality.

Health is a verb. A moving. A flowing.

My 4 year old son took the above picture of me on a day when I mostly wanted to stay inside and read books or clean the kitchen, but I wanted even more to support my (and his) body in it's own journey of health.

Out we went.