“You need bodywork,” my wise friend said matter-of-factly.
I knew she was right. This misalignment often happens to me when I spend too much time in my head — working, writing, over-analyzing.
But this is more than that. This is something that’s been going on for a long time now, and something I’ve turned away from since my kids were born.
The body holds memory and emotions in ways our mind doesn’t.
I’m a body person. I’ve always occupied my body in a deep connected way.
As a young child I danced and did gymnastics.
I played basketball and tennis in high school and though I struggled with eating disorders in my late teens and twenties, sports were healing for me — the place I felt most at home, the most like myself.
I recently began teaching tennis – a sport I mostly broke up with in my early twenties when I first left college.
I played occasionally, subbed for friends on various adult leagues here and there, but told myself I didn’t have time to commit to the sport in order to play well.
Just typing that I’m thinking — what a bunch of crap.
Movement is important. Play is necessary. Somewhere on the path to adulthood we forget that. Returning to tennis has been good for me. Sharing a game I love with newbies has been just another reminder that I need motion, play and more “body” activities.
Movement is more crucial for some — I’m one of those people. Still, there’s some shame about my need to move — it feels too primal or immature maybe? I’m still figuring out what my thoughts/feelings on the body stuff are all about. As a child I was told to sit still and often made to feel ashamed of how “in my body” I was.
I’ve been dealing with a bit of a disconnect between body and mind. It has crept up gradually but I’ve detached a bit from my body, and I only recognize it when I’m forced to move when I teach or on an evening walk. There’s awareness just typing these words — I’m not totally detached or I wouldn’t recognize it, but there’s a lack of regular cohesiveness between body and mind. I live in extremes, maybe? (I’m putting question marks here to show how I don’t exactly know, therefore, I’m questioning all of it.)
I think best when I’m moving, yet for so long I was discouraged from moving too much because I was addicted to running — there has to be a balance. I’ve pounded my poor body and need to treat it tenderly now that I’m older.
I recently picked up the book The Body Keeps Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk, MD.
It’s a lot, but my wise friend is right. My body holds a lot of the secrets to my healing — this I know. I have known this but haven’t been in a space to embrace it and do the necessary work.
I’m getting there.
Yoga has been a big source of healing for me. I’ve written about this some. However since my kids came along I’ve struggled to maintain the kind of practice I had pre-children, for various reasons.
I have somewhat maintained a home practice, but since moving (over a year ago) even that has been spotty and inconsistent.
I feel sludgy and stuck — emotionally. Depression and anxiety worm their way in regularly. Winter and dreary days are hardest.
Relationship woes and never-ending grief affect me most during the holidays. There’s dismal bleakness where it seems only joy and gratitude should reside.
The shoulds. I know better than to go there, but inevitably I land in that space during the holidays.
Recognizing the problem is the first step, right?
I’m gifting myself some new yoga clothes for Christmas and plan to try out actual classes in my area in 2017.
I started this morning with a grounding practice that focused on the root chakra.
It was just what I needed to start my day. I’ve shared before how much I adore Adriene. She’s chill and encourages participants to find what feels good.
I need to take that advice to heart. Things haven’t felt good for too long now.
Check it out and let me know what you think.
Oh, and happy Winter Solstice!