Embodiment is an antidote to the unconscious, and often unhelpful, relational dynamics that keep us stuck in conflict patterns with those we love. As relational human beings, we develop patterns of behaving and relating to ourselves and others. These unconscious relational patterns are often passive - they happen like breathing, without our intentional engagement or choice.
“Embodiment is the confluence of mindfulness, body awareness, and expression from a place of body-mind connectivity.”
At the core of my practice is embodiment. Embodiment is the confluence of mindfulness, body awareness, and expression from a place of body-mind connectivity:
- Mindfulness: A quality of attention where we “witness” ourselves. Instead of being submerged in our experience, we take a few steps back to notice our experience with awareness of thoughts, memories, body sensations, and body movements. Think of it this way – if I’m eating dinner while watching TV and answering emails, I’m not really going to taste my food. This is the colloquial state of ”mindlessness.” However, if I am slowly eating my dinner, noticing all the tastes and textures and response of my stomach, I will get so much more out of my food.
- Body awareness: Feeling the experience of sensation, muscle tension, breath quality, movement, gesture, use of space. Awareness disentangles the thoughts of what we think we should be feeling from the reality of what is being felt. We often recite stories of our experience to our loved ones, creating a separation in emotional connection. Body awareness allows us to speak with authentic feeling in the moment to our loved ones – it allows others to feel our experience and feel closer to us.
- Expression from body-mind connection: Combining mindfulness with body awareness encourages internal integration. Expression and engagement with our loved ones from this place is what people say when someone is “authentic or has integrity. This is the place where what I say verbally is reflected in what I express non-verbally.
Once we learn the components and practice of embodiment, we can observe and heal relational patterns that no longer serve us. Embodiment practice invites us to slow down and notice how our whole self responds to the our partners. We notice, “wow, when my partner says ‘I’ll just do it all myself’ I notice knots appear in my stomach and I feel the push to leave the room – or even the house!” At this point, we learn about how these relational patterns have supported us – what they have tried to accomplish for us (i.e. maintain connection in a difficult relationship scenario) – and as we better learn our responses without judgement, we can better learn how to respond in a way that maintains connection without having to set aside our emotions or desires. This takes the fight out of trying to force change. Forcing change, as many know, doesn’t work. The tighter we squeeze, the harder we fight to get out. By acknowledging and softening, rigid patterns begin to naturally unwind and we become more, well, relational!
“By acknowledging and softening, rigid patterns begin to naturally unwind and we become more, well, relational!”
This is the practice of embodiment – it is the courageous and radical act of becoming aware of and intentionally responding to ourselves and loved ones.
Embodiment also allows us to extend our life! Embodiment allows us to:
- Experience moments more fully
- Mitigate the tension and rigidity in our bodies that taxes the body and mind, thereby causing us to age less quickly. Tension causes stress and stress often shortens life.
- Enjoy the good moments in full color and show us the way out of uncomfortable moments more clearly.
Learning the ropes to embodiment and putting them into practice is a worthy journey! For more information, contact me here.