Re-engaging with the body - download a new practice
5 April 2019
I am on an island at the moment. How good is that?! It is Facing Island - a tiny island off Gladstone in Queensland. I haven’t had this much time and space on my hands since I had RSI in my twenties and was forced to not work for about three years. This is different: rather than pain and fear, there is a lot of ease right now. And I am treasuring every moment - as we don’t know when things will change.
And it has given me time and space to re-engage with the body in all sorts of ways....
....doing yoga and Pilates on the deck in the morning, much swimming and walking, dancing like a wild thing on the deck under the stars at night, practicing equanimity with the many sandfly bites.
I have also been playing around with walking barefoot.
When I was a kid growing up in the Kimberleys all the kids walked barefoot most of the time in the rich red dirt. It gives such a different connection to the land we are moving over. My mother-in-law – Cynthia – used to walk barefoot across this scrubby island every morning saying that it kept her healthy and spritely. She did this until she was eighty, and now she is 93 and going strong.
Habit breaker: This week, take some time to take off your shoes and let yourself feel the contact of the ground on your feet. Feel the roughness, the coldness, the spikiness, the warmth – whatever is there.
And I have also been doing the good old body scan too.
I think it can be useful to re-engage with the body scan in a sustained way from time to time and recollect the rationale for living in the body a little more than our racing minds usually allow.
I love this diagram adapted from Mark Williams:
It so simply describes the process of how we can open up some choice about living more from an experiencing place or more from a conceptualising place. Of course thinking is brilliant – and enables us to learn and reflect and commune with other minds. But if we are on autopilot, we can seriously be missing a lot of our lives. And so much of our lives involves quite neutral activities that could be very soothing for the nervous system, if we were aware of the endless stories we were telling ourselves and interrupted it for a minute.
All very well for me to say, being on an island I know!
Practicing the body scan can help us get to know and interrupt the three perennial ways that all humans practice mindlessness or absent-mindedness: wishing for things to be a certain way, avoiding experiences that are unpleasant and zoning out.
Download a new practice now:
If you wish to reconnect with the healing value of the body scan, I have a new 45 minutes recording for you to download here. I know that 45 minutes can seem a long time in a busy day, but maybe just decide you are going to explore it and give the precious gift of time to yourself and see what happens in your nervous system and in your experience of your relationships.
45 minute body scan