Another session of body work brought me closer to understanding what I need to be doing. Together with the Qi Gong practice, which is still more sporadic than regular, I am seeing – and more importantly, feeling – what it means to spend more time in my body and less time in my head. The difference is astounding and highlights how we are missing who we truly are, in favour of who we think we are. By connecting more fully with our body, we connect more fully with our world. Not only that, the body has a great deal to tell us. As she would later say, ‘The wisdom’s in the body.’
This was my second session with Marije Geldof following a rather overwhelming introduction to her work a year ago, captured in the piece, A Visceral Body Experience. This time it was online. I was asked to scan my body and offer anything which might appear unusual – a point of tension, perhaps, or pain. I was drawn quickly and obviously to the constant tightness around the right side of my pelvis.
I could feel my mind vetting my body’s communication, and for the first time of many, I overruled it and allowed my body to be heard. Associating the images my body gave me, we moved swiftly (and reluctantly) to my grandmother, and from there to a story I often refer to from when I was about 13 years old.
The implication of that story is that I was not allowed to have my dreams. At the time, I was too young and naive to realise what was happening, but now, only a few minutes into the session, the significance was clear. When asked to connect with my younger self, I couldn’t. He’d shut down.
It’s important to say that the story itself was not an isolated incident, but a single, yet significant point in a longer story which includes another subplot of my childhood, as well as my parents’ divorce. Together, they all played their part in me closing down. That’s how it felt at least, sitting there with my eyes closed, feeling my way back to connect with how that younger version of me must have felt on that day.
We stayed with him for the rest of the session. There was a relaxed fluidity to our exchanges, and I was guided as much by her questions as by her reminders to move away from the dominating influence of my mind and be more fully with my body. Three times she offered me the same five words as the previous session. Each time my body chose a different one (all of which were different again from last year’s choice).
To begin with, there was shame. Shame at being naive enough to dream. What had I been thinking?! Grow up. Be realistic. That’s what I was being told. Later, when prompted again, I felt anger at having been denied the chance to dream and, more poignantly, at having to deny who I was and who I wanted to be.
Later still, there was love. It came from a feeling that my younger self had been so full of love. That’s what moved me most during the whole hour: Here was a young boy bursting with a purity of love, who was slowly shutting down, and had no-one to help him. (Fortunately, as told in the previous post, there have since been two people in my life who have allowed me the freedom to be.)
There were a few other insights along the way. They came in my intuitive answers to the questions I was asked. There was a place in the darkness – a white armchair illuminated by a gentle light – where I could be myself. There was the pain throughout my lower back and pelvis offering the symbolism of disconnection: firstly between upper and lower body, and later, as Marije suggested, between mind and body. And there was the sense of contortion about having to fit into what the world expects of me. No wonder my body hurts. Rather than unfold and blossom, I have contracted and contorted in order to adjust to the restricted world I was offered.
Towards the end I reported a sinking sensation. I was sinking into my chair, and felt that I was getting smaller. She asked me about the little boy again. Maybe that’s what was happening. Instead of trying to reach him, I was becoming him. Sure enough, this time I was able to connect with my younger self.
Years he had waited for someone to listen to what he had to say. Maybe that’s why I write. For him. It’s his voice. My voice. And my written words remain, regardless of whether someone tries to tell me I am wrong. Soon afterwards he sat with me in my armchair, from where he could see that although his dreams have changed, they are being fulfilled every day.
All that from closed eyes, expert guidance, and a willingness to listen intuitively to what the body has to say.