Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Body's Memory

“To embrace our body’s truth is to embrace our past. There is no other way. The body is home to all that has happened to us, and it remembers."

“We must go to the cells for our truth."

--John Lee, Writing from the Body

If our body does indeed remember all that has happened to us in our lives, imagine how much it knows about us. Imagine how much we can learn about ourselves when we listen deeply to what our body has to tell us. We know that the body responds to daily stimuli -- temperature, light, sound, vibration, etc.--but I believe it also responds to inner rhythms or memories within us. Have you ever involuntarily responded to something and later realized with your conscious mind why you had such a reaction? Or think of a time during a massage when you've suddenly felt an emotion unexpectedly surface without your knowing exactly why.

It is so moving and powerful for me to witness, time and time again, how conscious touch can reveal a person's history within their own skin. In massage school, I had a practice client who had some old scars on her body related to abdominal surgery when she was a child. When I massaged the scar tissue on her abdomen, childhood memories emerged and she was able to release an emotional holding related to fear and pain that she had been holding in that area of her body. And in a most beautiful way, both her physical and emotional tension related to her surgery came to the surface and then slowly melted away.

I need to take a deep breath now as I write this, for I remember that moment in my body, too. Sigh.

What does your body remember?

Try this: The History of a Scar

We all have scars. Well, I think most of us do anyhow. Choose one of the scars on your body, whether this mark on your skin is wide and deep or microscopic in size, and write its history. Start with how the scar came to be. Recall the moment when you received this mark on your body. Record not only how you physically felt, but also what emotions or thoughts came with the experience. Remember to write down your sensory experience, too -- sight, sound, smell, taste, touch.

Now, document the life of this scar. How has it changed over time? Has it faded? Stayed the same? Are there emotions still hiding in the creases of your skin or in the depths of your heart?

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