Tuesday, October 16, 2007

listening to the body

For many years now I have been fascinated with the connection between the emotions and the body. It started when I broke my writing arm just before having to submit a portfolio to the Master's Program in Creative Writing. I wondered, why the right arm, and why at that specific time - was I manifesting fear, uncertainty about moving ahead into my gifts and talents?

Then after being in the Master's program for 6 years, having two babies and working part-time, I broke my leg skiing. It seemed an obvious message: time to rest. Other benefits arose, speaking up about my need for help with the kids, the house; stopping the 'too busy' syndrome so I could slow down and feel what I was feeling. I started teaching classes about what I needed to learn: listening to the body.

Menopause has been one of those lesson learning times as well. Hot flashes were not so bad, but the emotional roller-coaster and two weeks of PMS a month during peri-menopause lead me into therapy to understand my anxiety and anger. I started discovering how shut down my feelings were, where I was numb, where I was deaf to my own grief.

Now my kids are teens, and their emotional roller coaster drags me up and down, when I am not grounded enough to stay 'zen'. I'm still learning about the emotions and the energy that is blocked in the body. Once in a massage session, as the masseuse touched my legs, I burst into tears, sobbing for no apparent reason, at least not connected to my emotions of that day, but of something ancient buried in the muscles.

I was reminded of this while researching some material for a class on Sexuality, Entering the Mystery, this morning:

"Our feelings carry energy - the need to cry or laugh, to move and touch, to express anger or tender feelings of the heart. If this energy is held back, it is stored in the body, particularly in the muscles that form the layer between the body's core and its surface. Often, in relaxing our muscles, buried conflicts and memories and similar kinds of blocked emotional energy start to emerge from the subconscious. This happens when, for instance, people start an exercise program or receive a deep massage - tears may flow, memories may come flooding in, unnamed fears may surface." Margo Anand, The Art of Sexual Ecstasy

It also happens when you make love sometimes. The few times I have burst into tears or laughter after sex, it has felt like a huge release, a healing energy sweeping the body and cleaning up the past.

So, a thought for the day. How can I let go into feeling, not always control my body with my head?

Perhaps menopausal symptoms are signals about buried feelings, lost dreams, old hurts and joys. Get a massage, let down your body armour, become a lover of your body.

Loosen up! move, dance, sing, cry....


bella said...

I'm so very happy to have found your blog.
I am going through menopause due to a hysterectomy due to ovarian cancer. I'm only 31 and so its not exactly what I thought would happen right now. Still, it has been a teacher to me.
I'll be back often.

And yes, I know what you mean about body memory. I write about it often and though sometimes painful or overwhelming, it is a language, the emotions in the body, that moves beyond good/bad separation.
Well, I could go on and on, but I'll stop for now.

Diane O'Connor said...

Beautiful entry. I know exactly what you're talking about too.

Also, A few years ago I was in a relationship that was not in my highest good but I wasn't listening to my body. He and I were looking at a house together and as I was gazing out the window I didn't notice a step that dropped from the kitchen to the living room and I broke my foot. The lesson was... "Watch where you're going!!!"

musemother said...

So, I listened to my own advice and got a massage yesterday. Ithad been at least 6 months...lots of knots and kinks! too much computer time is hard on the neck. Plus, I dreamt that I was cradling a head (male) with no body, that was talking to me...sometimes the blogs are clear messages from the subconscious too.
thanks to both of you for your comments, and to Belle for the great links on her blog.