Your Body is a Wonderland
by Verena Kacinskis
When I was growing up I used to feel very uncomfortable in my body. I was taller than everyone else in my classroom, I didn’t know how to deal with my long legs and my long neck, I was terrible at sports and sometimes I wished I could just disappear and emerge again in someone else’s body. You can imagine how disconnected I grew from my body because of that, right? I developed a sharp, eager and fast mind but I didn’t know a lot about my body and definitely didn’t recognize the signs it was trying to send me about my physical and emotional health. But life is beautiful, and ´every little thing, is gonna be alright´ so when I was 29 I received my very first BodyTalk session, which led me to my very first BodyTalk seminar and that changed everything! This will be a great subject for another post, but today I want to talk about what I did when I realized I was so disconnected from my physical body that I didn’t even know where my kidneys were located!
Let’s try this. Continue reading this paragraph and slowly begin to pay attention to your breathing. Is it deep or is it superficial? Is it slow or fast? Do you feel comfortable with your breathing? Do you feel you have enough air entering your lungs? Now move your attention to your heart. Try to get in touch with your heartbeat, notice how it is synchronized with your breathing cycle, be aware of your diaphragm expanding and contracting with each breath and feel how it massages your stomach, liver, spleen and every part of your abdomen while you breath in and breath out. Isn’t it beautiful how everything is connected and works in perfect synchronization and harmony? Congratulations! You have just tried what I like to call active meditation.
Active meditation is a name I created for something that I started practicing in those early days, when I decided to be more present and more aware of my body. Later I discovered that the term active meditation is actually associated with a technique created by Osho that proposes movement followed by silence. Still, let’s pretend we don’t know about this little detail and move on, ok? We’re getting to the exciting part!
When I started active meditation my goal was to be aware, be present and feel my body in any and every activity that I was involved in. I would do it when I was cooking, driving, running, doing laundry, lifting weights. The only rule was to really focus my attention on my body, be aware of the muscles being used for each movement and be conscious of the emotions that would come up. I started doing this exercise a few times a week and I keep doing it once a week to this day. I can’t even begin to describe how many things have changed and how different I feel about my body now! My favorite moment to do this meditation is still during a shower. It’s a wonderful sensation to just be there and feel the temperature of the water on your skin, your scalp being massaged when you are shampooing, the smell of shampoo and soap, the sound of the water falling on the floor.
So I invite you to try this active meditation today. Choose an activity and go for it! Try to engage all your senses and just feel. Feel your muscles, feel your emotions. Try not to listen to your emotions… you want to feel them. In the beginning you will only say “that feels good” or “that feels weird”. But after a while you will be able to say “I feel happy doing this” or “this makes me feel angry”. This is a powerful exercise that will put you in touch with emotions and sensations that have been there for a long time, stored in your body, waiting to be perceived. And let’s be honest, unfortunately most of us don’t pay that much attention to our bodies these days.
Before you leave this post I invite you to read one of my favorites posts by Kim, “What comes up in the mat“. She talks beautifully about being present during an exercise and listening to what your chatty mind says when you try to engage the body. It’s just another aspect of what happens when we try to just be there.
Have a happy and present Friday!
I’m a Jungian Psychologist and BodyTalk practitioner. I was born in São Paulo, Brazil, but spent most of my life moving around with my parents and sisters due to my father’s work. So at the age of 23 I had accumulated the exciting figure of 2 countries, 5 cities, 21 houses, 11 schools, 2 universities and a lot of friends from a variety of cultures and languages. Then I thought it was time to begin my own story and stayed in Brasília, where I still live with my husband and Dexter, our cat. This awesome life experience shaped my worldview and taught me two important things: (1) to travel is to live and (2) the outside world is a small place; what is big is the world each person carries inside. To dive into ur own inner world is, for me, the biggest of all adventures!
The beautiful photo featured in this post was taken by Paul D’ambra and is shared through Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial 2.0 Generic.