So long as we are in conflict with the body,
we cannot have peace of mind. ~ Georg Feuerstein
Reconciling with the Body is a practice of learning to acknowledge, witness, accept and embrace our body as it is in this moment.
We learn to inhabit our body with the full awareness of its nature to change — to age, to become ill or injured, and to experience limitations.
We learn to take care of the difficult feelings that arise in the face of these changes and to tend to ourselves with great tenderness.
We look deeply into our self-perceptions and, with diligent effort, patience and kindness, begin to release beliefs that are harmful or no longer true.
From this place of skillful understanding, we can explore our capacity to nourish ourselves with meaningful movements that restore or inspire new ways of seeing, thinking about, and caring for our bodies.
A truth about meditation: it can be uncomfortable or even excruciating, as my friend Tashmica so eloquently shares below.
First we meet the process of physically conditioning our bodies to find and sustain a steady posture (practice note: for me, “conditioning” means understanding how to take care of the tensions in the body not torturing ourselves to endure a rigid alignment that can create more distress). Holding the body through sitting meditation, in particular, takes time…just as training the body to walk a half marathon takes time, diligence and patience.
What we may be surprised to learn is that meditation is not “passive.” Rather, I’ve found it more accurate to frame meditation as I would yoga asana — in which we discover that the opposite of being active is not being passive; it is the more complex and dynamic energy of being receptive.
Sitting within the quiet space of receptivity, we open up to the possibility of encountering the hidden/neglected/protected parts of ourselves. With that, difficulties and discomforts may arise well before any insights or understanding that we may be longing for.
How, then, do we take care of ourselves through those moments when we discover that this practice, which is so often extolled for delivering peace, actually puts us face-to-face with the stunning reality that cultivating peace is a process…a training, not unlike a marathon. Tending to our hearts and minds requires our patience, diligence, and self-compassion.
I love that Tashmica is choosing not to give up but to keep getting up!
How can we cultivate the voice of self-love and devote ourselves to radical acts of self-care? How do we tend to ourselves through the reality of our aging, changing bodies?
How can we learn to take refuge in our bodies and reclaim beauty, wellness, and strength in our own terms?
Join us on Thursday, 19 February, at 7 pm for a compassion-filled, community-centered conversation on reconciling with the body and seeing ourselves whole!
The Women We Are is a documentary portrait project created by Amanda Grieshop.
Learn more about her work at Magpie Imagery.
In Body Awareness Bootcamp, practitioners are invited to “go deep to come home” and awaken clear comprehension and compassionate action (small steps, sustainable choices). Home, to the center of the self: the heart, where the seeds of self-compassion, self-acceptance, and inner wisdom are bathed in breath and awareness. The invisible thread of breath connects body, heart and mind. As breath blossoms in the body, with our skillful effort, the heart and mind becomes synced with the steady and subtle song of breath. Space is created for all to unravel and unfold into its full expression. Toxins and tensions are freed and released. We feel rooted, connected and resilient enough to embrace our whole selves. We gently shine the light upon the neglected parts, remembering all that makes us complete. Nothing is left out of our loving awareness. Now we freely bloom.
“…Meditation is not escapism; it is not meant to provide hiding-places for temporary oblivion. Realistic meditation has the purpose of training the mind to face, to understand and to conquer this very world in which we live. And this world inevitably includes numerous obstacles to the life of meditation.”
Here’s a practice to help foster self-compassion + (it is hoped) to plant seeds of skillful understanding about the workings of the brain and the arising mind and behaviors. #KissYourBrain #CradleYourHeart
Last year, I worked as a substitute teaching assistant for a preschool program and had the opportunity to observe the dynamics between teachers, program assistants, and students in several classrooms.
One teacher quickly won my heart when I heard her say “Kiss Your Brain” in praise of the kids’ engagement in a group lesson. It wasn’t about having the “right” answer or being the best and smartest. It was a simple celebration of their ability and willingness to use their brain power—thinking, imagining, problem-solving, asking questions—and sharing it with others.
I’ve carried this practice into my home as well as into my yoga and meditation classes. With my son and the children that I teach, this phrase is a seed of self-compassion to nurture confidence and a sense of competency. It has the power to foster a love for learning without the pressure of performing to a certain standard of…