Material girl

I laugh every time I hear Charlie Gilkey scold, “Your body is not just a transportation device for your head-!” Because my lifelong truth is that what’s happening in my head is so bright and noisy tthat I forget about the rest of me. Until it runs into something, or gets hungry.

When I was doing therapy with Thea, she taught me how to identify my feelings by the traces they leave in my body. I had gotten so far into ‘head-transportation’ mode that I was seldom clear what I was feeling, even a few days later. Unacknowledged anger is a key contributor to depression, so stitching my body and brain back together was an important project. Also, if I could arrive at the place where I recognized a feeling while it happened, I might could take action about it–like saying, “Please don’t; that bothers me.” Radical, huh? Everyone has to start somewhere.

I’ve gotten mostly synchronous since those days…at least an 85% synchronicity, and I’m probably selling myself short because I haven’t paid attention to my stats in years.

I thought about my practice today on the acupuncture table, though; after the treatment room door closed, I caught my breath in a huge, shuddering sigh. And promptly thought: sad/crying? Why crying? 

I wasn’t–sad or crying, that is. I think I’d just gotten stuck in a shallow-breathing pattern while the needles were placed on some belly-meridians. But I’m reassured that even after some twenty-five years the lessons still hold. If I somehow come a little unstitched, I know I can sew myself back up.

I may never be able to inhabit my body as seamlessly as some. But as I wrap up my 5th decade, I want to get the hang of honoring my physical self even more. Maybe even suss out how much it wants to move vs. my head? Hmmmm….

One thought on “Material girl

  1. My sister, StrengthsFinder(tm) Facilitator extraordinaire, came over the day after I wrote this post and pointed out two things:
    1. This is not a problem she’s ever had. Which is fine…that is, completely true. Part of why I write the things I do is to examine which of my experiences are idiosyncratic and which are more universal. Without an outside check, it’s hard to know.
    2. My Strengths(tm) results place Empathy* very close to the bottom. She’d assumed as much as she read, but she’d never made this particular connection before: that not-knowing feelings might be true across the board and not merely an outward-facing problem.

    Interestingly enough, I think I was originally much better at other people than I was at myself. I’m glad I evened out!


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