Notes on Embodiment

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How we live inside our bodies is a map towards how we live inside our souls. Our bodies hold memory, imagination, history, and dreams. How we sit, stand and walk are not just functional movements, they are representations of our thoughts, feelings, behavior, internal sensations and how we construct meaning in the world. To become embodied is not a light switch, rather it is a rheostat and points to an on-going process of deepening our somatic awareness and exploring new ways of being inside the shape of ourselves.

Coming into connection with ourselves is essential if we are going to engage in whole hearted connection with others. This sense of connection is an embodied experience. It is generated from the inside out, informed by our heart rate, vibrations, digestion, breathing patterns, the way we look out of our eyes, and nervous system. When we move closer to a felt sense of connection within ourselves, we create the blueprint for taking action and moving this impulse towards connection with others.

Experiences shape who we are emotionally, mentally, physicallly, and spiritually. As our somatic and sensory awareness deepens, we learn to recognize these psychobiological shapes, and the mental and emotional states that accompany them. You learn to notice the felt sense in your body when you are on the edge of overwhelm. Instead of keeping going, you choose to pause and lay down. Yielding into the earth and resting your head you can feel your body beginning to relax.

Deep embodiment happens when we can sense the weight of our body on the earth, fluids moving through our system, and the feeling of the air around us. As embodiement grows, we drop deeper into our animal body. This body is held deep within our mammalian brain and knows that all life is connected. This is the body that remembers how to love and be loved.

“You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk across the desert for a hundred miles, repenting your sins. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. “ Mary Oliver