The Prison of Body Resistance


The Prison of Body Resistance — we find ourselves trapped in a body that seems foreign to us. Here are some sugges­tions geared toward letting go

In This Moment

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As I wrote last week, our minds can be quite locked up. Because we’re used to the games our minds play, however, we’re comfort­able living between our ears.

A strange thing happened at the time of the Enlightenment. People were split in three.

Prior to this time, life in the West was pretty regi­mented. The Church held sway over pretty much every­thing. Sickness was thought of as a sign of sinful­ness. Health care was a joke — the town surgeon was likely the barber. If you needed medi­cine, it came from a woman versed in herbs — and she needed to keep her head down, as the Church didn’t like intru­sion. She could easily be branded a witch.

The Enlightenment was an opening of the mind.

getting your head read

Education rose in impor­tance, as did fledg­ling Universities. Medicine became a science, and was taught to doctors. Somehow the Church came to its senses long enough to real­ize this "newfan­gled educa­tion thing" wasn’t going away. The Church agreed to a divi­sion.

The Church got the Spirit. The doctors for the body. The educa­tors got sole posses­sion of the mind (until psycho­analy­sis came along — a divi­sion again happened at that point.)

The educa­tors quickly rose to the fore, as change was coming from this part of the triumvi­rate. Science was plot­ting the universe, creat­ing machines, promot­ing logic — and shunt­ing the Church off into a corner from which is has yet (thank­fully) to return.

And medi­cine decided that, like all sciences, divi­sion led some­where. Once dissec­tion was approved, medi­cine built its bones on the idea that if only we look to the small­est, we will under­stand the whole.

The Mind was elevated

horse and rider

The Spirit (some­thing on this next week) was seen as quaint. The Mind was seen as the prin­ci­pal aspect that made humans human. The anal­ogy of horse and rider prevailed — the mind was like the rider of the horse — in posses­sion of knowl­edge, intel­lect, wisdom, and direc­tion. The horse was the dumb beast that got the rider from a to b.

Many of my clients still have difficulty believing their bodies have a voice

And this is even with their bodies going quite dramat­i­cally out of control. One client espe­cially was fasci­nat­ing to do Bodywork with. I’d touch her shoul­der, and she’d say, "I feel that in my toe. What does that mean?" Or I’d press on her ster­num, and she’d start to cry, and I’d almost hear a click as she popped up into her head, and told me a story.

Bodies are treated with disrespect

body disrespect

Bodywork is really about break­ing down the walls that sepa­rate us from ourselves. The walls are 1) tight­ness, and 2) reluc­tance.

  • The tight­ness is what we learned to do to "get ourselves under control."
  • The reluc­tance is the centuries long aver­sion we have to think­ing of our bodies as having intel­li­gence.

I remem­ber my first Bodywork session, out at Haven, with my buddy David Raithby. I had a lot of tears and anger. I was also out there right before I got "exited" from the Church, although none of us knew that at the time. David had just about finished. He asked me to sit up, and dug his fingers into my side inter­costals.

I let out a howl, and really kind of lost it. He extended my arms out from my sides. He said,

"We’ve already had one Messiah, and look how it turned out for him."

I, in that moment, had a whole body reac­tion. I thought about how my body had actu­ally collapsed on me a few months earlier … a prime moti­va­tion to go to The Haven. I thought about how I kept demand­ing that my body do what it didn’t want to do any more. All for the "right" reasons: my "call­ing," pres­tige, money.

I stayed and stayed, and my little legs were pumping in the air. Trying to run out the door.

I don’t know how David saw what was up for me, although as a Bodyworker, I "see" stuff all the time. I get a flash, an intu­ition, and I follow it. I "push here," as if it’s writ­ten on skin. I see what the recip­i­ent is resist­ing (often stuff to do with pelvic / sensual / sexual resis­tance,) and I go for it. The body has a voice.

The body is screaming its message, and we ignore it at our peril

As you feel your feelings, watch. See what you do next.

  1. intel­lec­tu­al­ize — ask for more infor­ma­tion, pop into your head and try to "figure it out." In the mean­time, stuff the feel­ings back down.
  2. Fantasize — one client spent 6 months of our time together start­ing to feel, and then "check­ing out." She’s met a guy, and when­ever there was pain, she’d go into her head and have sex with him. Tell me how great the sex would be in the real world, despite never having had sex with him. "See how free I am!" Well, no.
  3. Patch the wall — you start to feel, start to "see" what’s being held in / down / back. You start to dig in, and then, poof, "shields up!" The muscles are re-tightened, and feel­ings dismissed, and all is "normal" again.


  1. let go — ask your body what it needs — it may need to yell, pound, cry… and then, as one client puts it, it may need a "complete release." If you block your­self from doing what your body needs, you will pay the price.
  2. wiggle / move — your body wants to express itself, so find ways. Dance, wiggle, move your pelvis, stretch, do yoga. Exercise your need to let your body loose.
  3. Emote — set aside time to feel your emotions fully. Create a space to let it all hang out. Find a core group of people you trust enough to be your­self.
  4. Find alter­na­tives — I love my doctor — he’s a friend as well as my physi­cian. Nevertheless, I do Bodywork, get acupunc­ture (50 needles the last time!) and Chinese herbal reme­dies. I do all kinds of body based work, as well as give atten­tion to sensu­al­ity, eroti­cism and sexu­al­ity. (Check out my new book, The. Best. Relationship. Ever., for ideas!)
getting it together

You are not the victim of your body. You are your body, as much as you are your mind. Your body is talking to you, all the time, and usually is aware of "difficulties" long before your brain clues in. :earn to pay attention.

Ask your body, "What do you need? What can I do so toast you can let go and come back into balance? What needs to happen, be let go of, danced with? And then, listen.

I suspect you’ll discover that the answer(s) are obvious.

Make Contact!

So, how does this week’s arti­cle sit with you? What ques­tions do you have? Leave a comment or ques­tion!

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