Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Healing Power of the Body Relationship

The more I work with people to help them reconnect to their bodies--through illness, weight gain or even just a feeling of disconnection or discomfort--the more I realize how much our bodies are mirrors of every relationship we've had. As we heal our relationship with our bodies, we heal our old relationship patterns or the ways we've been treated in the past. Our facing and healing the disconnects in how we see and experience our bodies also helps us face and heal our lives.

Janice was a thirty year old stroke survivor who had lost movement in part of her body as a result of the stroke. The disability had only magnified a feeling she'd had earlier in her life of feeling left out or like she wasn't enough. When she began to reconnect with her body and treat it with love and respect--rather than judgment and disappointment--an amazing thing began to happen. She realized that she was giving herself--through her body--what she had always wanted. By taking on the process of reconnecting with her body she was also saying that she belonged, that she was okay the way she was, and that she was willing to show up rather than abandon herself. The effects went far beyond healing the relationship with her body and out into every aspect of her life.

The same was true for Michael, a young man with an eating disorder who had been molested as a child by a priest. His early feelings of being shamed and silenced had extended into his body relationship and made it difficult for him--early in our work--to listen to or honor his body and its needs or feelings. Just like he had been shamed and silenced as a child around his abuse, he was now unconsciously abusing himself by blocking out and not listening to his own body.

As Michael moved through the process of repairing his body relationship, he allowed needs and feelings to emerge, finally hearing when his body felt tired, sad or hungry. As he became a better parent to his own body and learned to care for it, he was also better able to draw boundaries and voice needs with others in his life--and to feel safe again in his life knowing he could do this not only for his body but for himself in other relationships in his life.

Our relationships to our bodies are--if you think about it--our most intimate and longest-lasting relationships. We are in them from the moment we are born and until the day we die. Our bodies hold years and years of accumulated and shared feelings and all of our history. They can teach us and connect to us or we can--like an old married couple--grow distant and shut them out. As we heal and recreate our relationship with our bodies, we are often redoing old patterns that no longer serve us, and stepping into new paradigms of relating that we have always wanted.

Reflect for a moment on how you think about and treat your body in this moment. Are there any parallels to your earlier history or to how you have been treated by others in the past? What would it take to step into a new way of being in your life, one that allows you to respond to your body in the way you most wanted to be responded to and loved? Try on being in this relationship in a new and different way and notice what happens. By redoing your body relationship you may have the opportunity to redo your whole life.

For more information about this work or to schedule an initial consultation, visit the website at http://www.annastookey.com or http://www.bodymindguide.com and sign up for a free report and teleclasses on the Body Reunion Solution. I welcome your thoughts and inquiries...