Learning to stand on my own two feet
It's no coincidence, perhaps, that everyone I'm meeting at the moment either practises tai chi or chi gong, or is a bodywork teacher/ instructor in some capacity. Well, almost. And it is my friend Alex, of the latter variety, that is teaching me to stand on my own feet. I'm not talking metaphorically here, of course, I'm talking physically (it's come to my attention that I don't inhabit my body entirely).There are degrees, of course. Some of us were born with our feet well planted on terra firma, others spend more time 'out of our bodies' than in them and a lot of us (you may be one of them) have never really 'landed' on this physical plane at all. I, for one, spent most of my teenage years not fully anchored to my physical body (and then spent the next few years in and out like a yo-yo, largely dependent upon whether unresolved issues in my life were being triggered or not).But more recently, something has shifted and I've started to enjoy being more 'embodied'. And I think that being in my body - and allowing myself to fully enjoy it - was actually part of what facilitated a major shift in consciousness a couple of years back (to all intents and purposes I became a 'new person'): my sense is that I wouldn't have been able to make that shift without being in my body.I had come out of a marriage that year - and it was the very process of allowing myself to do what my soul was calling me to do, what 'made my heart sing', that seemed to catalyse my evolutionary process (I suppose you could put it that way). This involved a whole lot of wild dancing (sweating my guts out at Five Rhythms workshops), opening to my sexuality and sensuality in a way that I had never done before (sorry to talk so openly about something that's still so taboo, but I feel it's important) and exploring song, sound and voice.I'm still not fully embodied, though - and my feeling is there's no point in surrendering to the flow in the spiritual, mental and emotional bodies (a process which I feel I've been going through for most of my life) without bringing this flow fully into the physical too.So I've decided to 'go back to basics' and learn to stand again (from there I'll graduate onto other things - breathing, perhaps and maybe even, if I'm ready to really live, some 'conscious walking'). I've been taking my shoes off in local parks and standing on the soft green grass. From there, I've been taking my awareness gently inside and tuning in to how my body feels (is there anything 'blocking' the energy flow... or is everything feeling in alignment?)I start by softening the knees slightly (there's a point - you have to feel it out - where it feels 'just right' and when you have it, the energy flows the full length of your legs). Then it's time to adjust the feet. When I tuned in, I noticed that when I stand 'naturally', I tend to put most of my weight on the ball of my right foot. Alex tells me a general guideline is that the hollow of your ankles is directly under your collarbones - and that it provides a better 'base' if your feet are turned slightly outwards. By sensing where you're out of balance, you can gradually adjust your posture. It's fun to experiment and find your own 'state of balance'.From there, I keep attuning to the energy in my body, sensing out where it gets 'blocked' - and making little adjustments, gradually bringing my whole body into alignment. Sometimes, a kind of force field is created from my head all the way down my body and into the Earth (I also sense a flow coming the other way too). And sometimes this energy is so strong that it sets up mini-convulsions (the 'voltage' gets a bit high sometimes).It feels good for me to be becoming more physically 'aligned' in this way. It's a steady, strong, vital feeling and with it comes a deep sense of calm. I feel like I've discovered something that will become a lifelong practice for me (coming fully into my body will always be 'a work in progress'). I also feel more connected to this sweet Earth - something that is very important to me, particularly in these times of what feels to be monumental change.What's your relationship with your body (are you fully embodied or do you feel you haven't 'landed' yet)? Write in - I'd love to know.