Sunday, June 4, 2017

Finding Grace in Losing Face

Even the Buddha loses his head.
     While learning about massage and bodywork over the years, one common precaution tends to echo throughout the modalities. When people receive bodywork, you never know what will arise. This brings to mind a 10-day cranio-sacral (subtle bodywork) course I once attended. Although the seeds were being planted, I think I was the only one in the group who didn't believe that 'your issues live in your tissues.'

Fast forward a bunch of years... my issues are definitely alive in my tissues. Sometimes this awareness happens during meditation, yoga, or massage. I've also had the honor of witnessing many others dive beneath their thoughts, into the somatic experience of being alive. As the fascinating book, The Body Keeps the Score explains, there's so much more to our operating systems than what we are consciously aware. 

Exploring the subtle and energetic body is no small adventure. In fact, a deep yoga practice doesn't always sound like an easy invitation. Lately, I've been doing a great job at keeping it on the lighter side. When something deeper does arise, I'm pretty quick to put a harsh spin on it, dismiss it entirely, or cut the practice short. My mind has been negotiating a stay in the shallow end of the pool, avoiding those attention saturated, subtle body experiences.

Cutting myself short in this way started translating into some pretty unskillful and distorted communication with others as well. Of course! Seeing this direct connection has helped me slowly deepen my own experience again. I want to practice being a better listener, for myself and others. If I do lose my head, I'd like it to be because I'm inhabiting my whole body.

Getting back to some multi-layered, body focused practices can bring tears, extreme discomfort, unexpected irritation, indescribable joy, and much more. I can no longer doubt what deep listening and allowing can bring to light. Instead of wasting precious energy on creating detours and road closures for myself, I now see the importance of holding the uncomfortable even more gently.