body mind and spirit in balance means that we are are one, not parts. Each of us contains all the wisdom necessary to both heal and wake up.
Our new Membership program is now open! Learn to Meditate, learn Qi Gong from Darbella. Click the image for more info!
Darbella and I are teaching our last workshop for 2011, on Bodywork and Breathwork, in Kitchener, September 10 and 11—
It will be held at Queen Street Yoga, Kitchener, Ontario, and the cost is $110.00 for the 2 days. If you’re interested, let me know at:
wcallen at rogers dot com — space is limited and it’s filling up! Here’s a link to the poster
Body Mind and Spirit in Balance
I’ve been doing Bodywork for nearly 20 years, and I haven’t come close to understanding the information contained in the body. The more open a Bodywork client is to receiving the body’s message, the more the floodgates open.
Clients exploring a myriad of issues are stunned to discover actual physical blockages for each and every issue. To the observant, the damage done to the body when we refuse to resolve our issues is, well, visceral.
Bodywork is the merging of what is normally kept apart
Westerners have been conditioned to divide existence up into realms. The Judeo-Christian heritage of the West was formed in the Greek (and Babylonian) understanding of the separation between psyche and soma, between mind and body.
Never quite understanding how the two interrelated, (or, as one Buddhist writer puts it, “They inter-are!”) and having “blame” as the essence of ethics and religion, the body got blamed for everything. The body was described as being a wild beast that had to be tamed – contained by force of will – by the mind.
In the East, there is a sense of wholeness to the self – it’s all one thing.
The whole package — body mind spirit — is considered to be the person; and the person is subject to the workings of energy, or chi. The chi has yin and yang components; the goal is not dominance of one or the other, but balance. So acupuncture, for example, was designed to restore the free flow of chi throughout the whole body; when “in flow” the chi would be equally yin and yang.
Here’s an illustration of energetic imbalance mirroring life imbalance
I once worked with a client who had taken a golden handshake 7 years earlier. He had learned a healing art, and became a practitioner. He experienced depression after leaving his company, and what brought him to therapy was semi-severe case of vertigo.
Which is a problem with balance.
He decided that the depression and the vertigo were keeping him from practicing his healing art. He was simply too sad, to dizzy. I began to wonder with him about balance.
The Yang side: As he described where he felt stuck, he said, “I have to,” “I should,” “I’ve got to,” “I must.” All of those are left brain statements. They’re ego statements, which we could describe as motivation through absolutes.
The Yin side: When he talked about his new field, he said, “I really like what I’m doing.” “I feel happy to help.” “I get such enjoyment from it.” Feeling statements are intuitive, creative statements, and are generated by the right brain.
I talked a bit about how I view life and the decision making process. He sighed, and said, “I tell my clients exactly what you’re saying. All the time. It just doesn’t work when I tell myself.”
Which is true. If you’re not willing to listen to your body, let go of the absolutes, and act differently.
The vertigo mimicked his left / right, yin / yang language / belief imbalance. He was on an emotional teeter totter, rocking back and forth, up and down, and it made him dizzy. Actually, he made himself dizzy. In order to “shift” he had to redefine success, work, what “men do for a living” — everything.
What he’d done was to completely change his life, while trying to live by the old rules. They didn’t work in his present context, so he tried harder. Sensing the impasse, his body got involved (the vertigo), in an attempt to get him to see the issue.
My client had been on his own case for 7 years, making himself sad, angry, whatever, for choosing a life-style (semi-retirement) he actually liked. His “Egoic societal norm” said that a 53-year-old man “shouldn’t” be retired and dabbling in healing arts. He “should be” the principal bread winner. He “should be” a man.
He loved his new career choice. At the same time he saw himself, at the Ego-level, as a failure.
This failure thinking showed itself in his choice to feel bad about a good decision — out of balance, he depressed himself, and gave himself vertigo. There’s no blame here. He repeated behaviours that kept him stuck, and his body got his attention the only way a body can — through physical symptoms.
Yet, we don’t necessarily trust our bodies, nor the messages they bring.
The “feelings” that arise from our bodies are often bang on – illogical, but ultimately reliable. They need integration and expression, not dissection.
All of the data we receive is sensory data – through our two main sources of interaction, sight and sound, plus the other three chiming in. Sight, sound and “gut feelings” are just that – feelings — sensory input that stimulates various neurons. In and of itself, sensory data has no “meaning.”
What an input “means” is the meaning we attach to it.
The upshot of all of this is that we need to check out what we perceive. This is especially true of bodily sensations, feelings, hunches. Our tendency to separate our experiences gets us in trouble. Like the client above, who hadn’t noticed how his language, bodily symptoms and life choice were entirely about balance, or lack of it.
Another example of the body’s voice
I was wrapping up a long counselling / Bodywork session the other day. My client had come a long way and had released, through talking and then through Bodywork, a large chunk of stuffed material. I was sitting next to my Bodywork pad, waiting for her to open her eyes and re-orient herself to the room.
Suddenly, I had an urge to continue (this happens to me, a lot. I describe it as “Someone whispering in my left ear.”) I had no logical reason, no “head” reason, but I somehow knew I “ought to” press her stomach muscles. So I did.
She took two deep breaths and began to sob. Deep, wracking sobs. Went on for about 5 minutes. Then she stopped of her own accord, and I sat back again.
Her eyes popped open and she said, “What the hell was that???” I said, “Beats me. What was it for you?” (How could I know? Despite being the “therapist,” whatever “therapist” means, I’m not “in there,” experiencing what she was experiencing. She had to tell me, not the other way around.)
What she came up with was, “Old, old, black sludge. God, I’ve never wanted to go there. But I did.” I pointed out that not only had she gone there, she’d come back alive. I asked her what she was feeling. She replied, “Everything.”
I’ve learned to trust my instincts. If I am moved to ask a question that comes from “nowhere,” out of context, so to speak, or, in Bodywork, to focus on a specific area, I simply say the words, or go to the area. I have found that almost always the question or touch is exactly what is necessary to help my client to explore something at the “next level.”
This is subtle. I ask the question, make the comment, or begin the Bodywork without any sense that I “know” anything about what’s going to happen next. I simply stay present for whatever emerges. The recipient’s body seems to sense this — to recognize an offer to listen, to dance. This sensing is interesting — for perhaps the first time, the client both feels and thinks, “I’m being heard, acknowledged, supported.”
This is the source of release
It’s seeing the essential unity between what we in the West tend to tear apart. It’s dancing in the knowledge that seeing the whole person with no agenda allows the recipient to go deeper into heretofore unexplored territory.
We think too little of our body’s ability to teach us.
As you view your life, and your Self, open yourself up to the possibility that your body is trying to tell you something, and that the “something” is all about what you’re missing. Let go of the endless stories, and explore more deeply at the feeling level.
You might be amazed that the clarity that emerges.