April 24, 2013

Power, Flexibility & Balance: Lessons from the Body to Heal the Heart.

Just broke up with your boyfriend?

We’ve all been here before. Maybe more times than we care to admit. We know that we will feel better soon. It is only a matter of time, right?

But this time something is different. This time perhaps we are left a little more weary, a little sadder from another trip up and down and around on the relationship roller coaster.

This time, we don’t want to just let time pass until we feel better and then jump back on the ride again. This time we want to heal. Really heal.

The process of healing is going to require you to do something that perhaps you have not done before. You are going to have to press the stop button on the ride. Notice I didn’t say the pause button. The pause button would imply that you would take a break long enough to catch your breath, before you find a new flirtation and get right back on the same ride.

To heal, you have to be willing to give up the high (and the low). You have to be willing to be on your own for a while. Fully and completely on your own.

Here is what being on your own is not: It doesn’t include scanning for guys as you walk through the grocery store. It doesn’t include having the occasional hook up when you get lonely with the guy that isn’t really a relationship. It also doesn’t include tolerating being single while you are actually just waiting until the next really nice guy comes along. You know, the one that will be the right one.

Being on you own is just that. Being. And that is something that perhaps, my friend, you have not taken the time to do for quite a while.

You might be wondering what you are supposed to do while you are just being. 

Chances are, if you are recently out of a breakup, you have a lot of free time on your hands. Here is my suggestion for what to do next: Reclaim your house.

By that, I don’t mean that brick and mortar dwelling you call home. I am talking about your real home, your body.

So often in relationships, women don’t just give away their hearts. They give it all away, including their body.

In a really basic way, women give away the rhythms of their body to the needs, wants and desires of their mate.  They change their sleep schedule and stay up later than would be best for them so they can spend more time in companionship. They change the foods they would normally eat and even begin to take on the diet of their partner. They may give up an exercise routine they loved: morning runs with friends or hitting that early yoga class, in favor of staying in bed spooned up next to their fella. Other women drink alcohol, smoke or take other intoxicants in order to match their partner’s consumption and to paradoxically be with him.

Still, other women give away their bodies with sex. They agree to have a kind of sex they really don’t want to have or they don’t assert their pleasure so that the kind of sex that they do want to have is incorporated into their sexual play.

When the relationship ends, women are often left with the experience of having a huge hole in their lives. A hole they feel emotionally, spiritually and physically.

Here’s the kicker. Chances are that hole was there all along, but when that last relationship came along, the hole miraculously vanished. But now that the relationship is gone the hole is back. It is back because it was never gone in the first place. It is back because no one can do for you what you need to do for yourself. For that hole to be filled, it can ultimately only be filled by you.

Many times women think the answer to healing their heart is to open their heart, as if not loving enough was the reason why their relationships haven’t worked so far. Try this instead: Give your heart a break. It has been through enough. Give your head a rest also. Running those thoughts around your brain isn’t going to get you anywhere but where you’ve already been.

The process of going from hole to whole can actually begin with the body.

When our being is in alignment we experience power, flexibility and balance on all levels: in our body, mind and spirit. It is possible to cultivate these qualities of power, flexibility and balance first in our bodies and through the physical practice we can come to learn through metaphor the spiritual and emotional lessons.

Notice for yourself the next time you are in movement what parts of your physical self are over developed and what parts of your physical being are underdeveloped.

Maybe you are all force but lack real power. Maybe you move through space with aggression and yet with no grace. Maybe you are all grace but lack assertion so that the space you inhabit is poorly defined. Maybe you are flexible but lack the strength to ultimately support yourself. Maybe your sense of center is off, and balance comes through effort and grit as opposed to being a space of elevation and repose.

See what lessons your body has to teach you. Notice where you resist developing your physical body. Do those places of resistance parallel in any way the places you resist developing emotionally or spiritually? Do you prefer the calm of deep stretch but resist energizing exercise? Do you also notice in your life that you accommodate and bend but shy away from interactions that call you to stand in your power? Perhaps the opposite is true, perhaps deep stretching seems pointless to you. Do you also notice it is difficult to let go emotionally or to surrender the need for control?

This isn’t an exact science, but our bodies are our teachers and our bodies don’t lie.

Get in touch with the lessons of your body and create a practice of consistent movement that brings you into your soma. Yoga, dance, hiking, rock climbing—it doesn’t matter what it is—let it be something that brings you into your body with pleasure and vitality. Let it be something that brings you into relationship with your core self, with your highest self, with your God-like self.

In so doing, you will begin to hear the voice of your teacher, your inner companion. The one that you have not listened to in a while. The one that has been patiently waiting to be heard by you, so that it can guide you to that healing place of peace and love that you have been looking for all of those relationships ago.



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Ed: Brianna Bemel

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