The Spark’s Gone – Or Is It?
You catch their eye.
They catch yours.
The gaze lingers just a moment too long. You feel the rush of warmth in your face.
You think about them. They think about you.
You talk, laugh, play.
You fall in love.
You hold hands and link your limbs and huddle against each other when walking in driving rain.
You make a house together.
Come in, go out, come in, go out.
Their eyes are familiar now. You catch them less. Instead of gazing at each other, you gaze at the world side by side. Still holding hands, but less intensely entwined.
Time passes by.
Years turn to decades. You know their movements, like they are your own. You know their reactions, their thoughts, their fears, their loves and the dance becomes so familiar, it is almost unseen.
And one day you feel a sense of complete familiarity.
Familiarity so familiar, that it’s as if the other has become invisible.
This could describe the relationship between two people.
This could also describe the relationship we have with our bodies.
As adults who’ve been hanging out inside our bodies for quite some time, we barely give these vessels a second thought (unless for cosmetic reasons, for health goals or if there’s a health issue.)
We’re often unaware of what our body is even doing.
And meanwhile, the body simply gets on with it; following habitual patterns of walking, running, emptying the dishwasher and every movement that’s been established over the years. The body is really good at automating these actions – which is great as we don’t need to be thinking about this stuff as well as everything else the world throws at us.
Yet these soft, sensual vessels offer us so much more than just automated activity.
Yesterday morning I woke early.
The light was stirring to a muddy blue.
I could hear the first bird’s filigree song crisscrossing the stillness like ethereal wires in the sky.
The duvet warmth, a cotton hearth of heat, cocooned my slumber, whilst next to me the body of my little man-cub curled. His miniature, hand had found its way onto my cheek. Fingers unfurled, he was toasty-snug to the touch.
This, my beautiful friend, is one woman’s body experiencing her world at 6.30am.
Okay, so it’s not always quite as relaxed as that!
I am equally awoken to the shock of the alarm, Reid standing next to my head demanding, “Milky! Right now!” and the ache of a body that could do with two weeks in Mauritius with nothing but soft sand, a gentle breeze and an exotic drink made from fresh lychees.
Contrasting sensations aside, the point is that it’s our bodies that are continually experiencing the world within which we live.
Yes, they complete actions that need to happen for us to be productive little creatures in the great human hive, but there’s so much more to what they do than just that.
Our flesh and skin and sensory organs are the pulsating doorway that stands between our inner life – and the outer world we inhabit. It is the body that dives into the concrete cold ocean, whispers a terrible secret to a friend, feels the shift in the atmosphere as the sun disappears behind a cloud, goes rigid with fear and aches with laughter. These vessels that we live inside are the direct point of contact between us and our lives. They are amazing and beautiful and so blinking fulfilling to be within – if we can surrender and commit to being within them (as opposed to living almost entirely within our plans, ideas, mental processes, projections, thoughts, feelings and memories).
In today’s Embodiment post, I want to offer you three simple exercises to bring you back to the most delicious and vital gift you have in this life; your body.
These exercises cost nothing and do not involve “pamper days”.
My intention is to help you to connect with this mysterious vessel with much more intimacy, sensuality, appreciation and love. I’d love to see you falling in love again – or if not love, at least falling into connection and awe for – your wonderful body.
Your mission: Start Courting Your Body Again
Go on a walk and walk in a totally different way to the way in which you usually would. Saunter, swagger, sway, lurch, drudge, pirouette, mooch, totter. It will be hilarious and good fun, I promise! Throughout the walk stay tuned to your body. Get a sense of what it feels like to move in unfamiliar ways – and how you feel to be in your body – as you do this. Reintroduce yourself and your body to movements that are “out of the box” and contrast the “usual humdrum routine”.
Afterwards, make a note of how embodied you feel on a scale of 1 – 10.
Find some time and space to be alone. Now think of strong positive feeling/emotion and feel how this pervades your physical body. Really focus on the feeling and let that feeling grow.
Allow the feeling to move around you whole body and literally invite every cell to the party. Don’t worry about how you look, simply immerse your every limb and organ in that feeling and allow whatever movements your body feels the impulse to express. The idea of this is that you are engaging your whole body and mind in the same reality at the same time, creating a holistic fusion of self.
In your journal make a note of how “alive” you feel on a scale between 1 and 10.
Focus your awareness on the room/space that you are in.
Look around and take a new interest in the light fittings, the door frames, the carpet and absorb the various shapes and colours through your eyes. Listen to the noises in the space and beyond; the wind, the TV, the sound of people moving.
If something interests you, allow your legs to move you and your body to bend and take you closer to the object of you attention.
Throughout the whole exercise, mentally step back and observe the way in which your body moves you and delivers you to the world within which you live.
Capture in your journal how this exercise made you feel towards your body.
Aim to do these exercises as much as you can over the next week.
Begin to explore the overlooked/undervalued phenomenon of being a human living within a flesh and blood body.
I’d love to hear your discoveries. xxx