Embodiment. Oh...THIS is a juicy topic (yep, I am doing a little happy dance as I write these words :-)
To be in a body is a glorious, painful, confusing thing.
To be embodied. To be actually be (present) in the body. Why embodiment? Well, as a health coach I work with all parts of self: mind, body, and soul. You know, that well respected triad to health and wellbeing. Yet, our relationship with body is generally a bit hazy and disconnected. We have a body, and we usually want to change it. It's shape, or it’s aches and pains or other little unique quirks. We often think that being in our bodies means “exercise.” Or liking the body we have. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. (More on this in the post Embodiment Part 2).
It turns out, even though we live in a body, we spend a lot of time NOT in our bodies. Instead we sit at desk and spend countless hours in our head. Problem solving, creating, and communicating. Yet, even when we aren’t working, we most likely are caught up in our heads. Thoughts flashing through the mind non-stop; ruminating about what we want to eat, if we will ever find the love of our lives, or if there is a job out there that will leave us feeling fulfilled.
Question, how many times have you been in a gym and the people on the treadmill or stationary bike are watching television or reading a magazine? Case in point. Even when we try to spend time in our body…we often fall short.
This isn’t your fault! There are a multitude of reasons why we don’t spend time embodied. First of all, they build TV’s into treadmills these days! We live in a time and a culture where we are encouraged to be disembodied. We have information at our fingertips at any moment (more mind time). We drink another cuppa coffee instead of taking a nap. We spend most time indoors, away from the gentle breeze and delicate drops of cool rain. Society teaches us to be disembodied. It's our head that matters, right?
Oh, and the most common and powerful reason we disembody… because it’s react freaking uncomfortable to be in a body!
Why? We feel life when we are embodied. We can feel our mental fatigue, our physical pains, our loneliness, emptiness and ourdesires.
I have said this so many times, and I have no plans on stopping. Food is not the problem, food is a symptom. Symptoms are the way that the body gets our attention, to let us know that things need to shift.
We are not our bodies, but we do have bodies. Incredibly intelligent, wise, aware, sensitive, compassionate bodies.
When we disembody, this wise part of our being calls us home. That call can take so many forms. Binge eating (or any other type of binge behavior for that matter), hypothyroidism, insomnia, depression, anxiety, cancer, chronic pain, migraines, excess weight, skin rashes and the list goes on.
These symptoms bring with it discomfort.
We are generally aren’t taught how to be with discomfort, and the reptilian part of our brain is hard wired for comfort/safety. (Think fight, flight, freeze…) Yet, we are humans, highly evolved, and still when we find ourselves in the midst of discomfort we either push it away, turn a blind eye to it, or run.
We don’t welcome the discomfort.
We run, when that discomfort is asking us to stay. To sit with it. To listen. To hold it. To love it. To embrace it tenderly.
This is why I say food isn’t the problem. When we eat that brownie, and our mind says “Fuck it, I want four brownies.” We eat the four brownies and half a carton of ice cream, and a handful of chips (even though you don’t like chips). In that moment we forget. We forget about the emptiness inside. We can’t hear the nagging voice of the body. The voice that says…no. Don’t run. Stay. Stay here with me in this moment of pain and discomfort. Stay with this emptiness inside. Listen. That emptiness is asking for something, and it isn’t tray of brownies. Listen. Can you hear it calling?
It wants you to come home.
Please, don’t run.
This prayer (or poem) is something that I stumbled across the other day. It says what my heart yearns for you to hear, that I can’t put into words… but then again I don’t have to.
So the next time you want to run, remember the felt sense prayer. Your body's prayer, asking you to come home.
The Felt Sense Prayer
I am the pain in your head, the knot in your stomach, the unspoken grief in your smile.
I am your high blood sugar, your elevated blood pressure, your fear of challenge, your lack of trust.
I am your hot flashes, your cold hands and feet, your agitation and your fatigue.
I am your shortness of breath, your fragile low back, the cramp in your neck, the despair in your sigh.
I am the pressure on your heart, the pain down your arm, your bloated abdomen, your constant hunger.
I am where you hurt, the fear that persists, your sadness of dreams unfulfilled.
I am your symptoms, the causes of your concern, the signs of imbalance, your condition of dis-ease.
You tend to disown me, suppress me, ignore me, inflate me, coddle me, condemn me.
I am not coming forth for myself as I am not separate from all that is you.
I come to garner your attention, to enjoin your embrace so I can reveal my secrets.
I have only your best interests at heart as I seek health and wholeness by simply announcing myself.
You usually want me to go away immediately, to disappear, to sleek back into obscurity.
You mostly are irritated or frightened and many times shocked by my arrival.
From this stance you medicate in order to eradicate me.
Ignoring me, not exploring me, is your preferred response.
More times than not I am only the most recent notes of a long symphony, the most evident branches of roots that have been challenged for seasons.
So I implore you, I am a messenger with good news, as disturbing as I can be at times.
I am wanting to guide you back to those tender places in yourself,
the place where you can hold yourself with compassion and honesty.
If you look beyond my appearance you may find that I am a voice from your soul.
Calling to you from places deep within that seek your conscious alignment.
I may ask you to alter your diet, get more sleep, exercise regularly, breathe more consciously.
I might encourage you to see a vaster reality and worry less about the day to day fluctuations of life.
I may ask you to explore the bonds and the wounds of your relationships.
I may remind you to be more generous and expansive or to attend to protecting your heart from insult.
I might have you laugh more, spend more time in nature, eat when you are hungry and less when pained or bored, spend time every day, if only for a few minutes, being still.
Wherever I lead you, my hope is that you will realize that success will not be measured by my eradication, but by the shift in the internal landscape from which I emerge.
I am your friend, not your enemy. I have no desire to bring pain and suffering into your life.
I am simply tugging at your sleeve, too long immune to gentle nudges.
I desire for you to allow me to speak to you in a way that enlivens your higher instincts for self care.
My charge is to energize you to listen to me with the sensitive ear and heart
of a mother attending to her precious baby.
You are a being so vast, so complex, with amazing capacities for self-regulation and healing.
Let me be one of the harbingers that lead you to the mysterious core of your being
where insight and wisdom are naturally available when called upon with a sincere heart.