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The Moon Times

October 2017

a new monthly letter published with the full moon
sharing thematic teachings, news & affirmations to
cultivate psycho-spiritual wellness, creativity & community

The theme of this moon cycle is
BODY WISDOM

the primal knowing of the body, separate & distinct from that of the mind, speaking to us in the language of
emotions & sensations.


"there is more wisdom in your body
than in your deepest philosophies."

-Friedrich Nietzche

Before you read further, take a moment to
tune in to YOUR body wisdom:

Bring your posture into awareness. How is the shape of your spine and what might it say about your state of being?
How does noticing or adjusting your spine make you feel?
Dearest reader,

I chose the topic of Body Wisdom for the first publication of The Moon Times because it's not discussed enough. Yet, it relates to all of us and our very existence. While we are all walking around on this planet in bodies that are speaking to us with every step, we've managed to become immensely disembodied; disconnected to ourselves and dependent on external feedback about who we are and what we need. This grave disconnection contributes to the growing amount of mental illness and disease among us. At the same time, we hold the power within us to reclaim the wise instinct of our knowing bodies.
An Absence of Body Wisdom in Our Culture

Body intelligence and awareness are hardly taught in our schools. In fact, the typical expectations in the classroom are in exact opposition of practices like movement, deep breathing and relaxation that cultivate body wisdom. Children are required to sit still in hard chairs for lengthy periods of time, movement and arts-based classes are cut from the curriculum, and there is a hyper-focus on the development of cognitive skills. If students do have access to physical activity, sports are typically competitive and external-focused; the ball, opponents, teammates and winning command their primary attention. Competitive sport is excellent for community, collaboration and exercise, but it does not allow us to attune to the wisdom in our individual bodies. Therefore, injury is more likely to occur during external-focused activities than activities like yoga, dance or Qigong that require one to pay attention to the breath and body. So from early on, children are forced to adapt to the rules of school by foregoing the natural signs and sensations of their bodies, resulting in atrophy, numbing and shrinkage of their instinctual capacities.

In a cognitively biased culture, we love to think. Thinking is highly rewarded in our society and we can exist predominantly in our heads, imaginations and thoughts. Often, even when we're in the midst of experiences that peak our sensations, like sex or eating delicious food, we're thinking about something else. This is when we become disconnected from our bodies, when we lose awareness of our basic senses and the messages our bodies are constantly sending us.

Technology doesn't help either; making it easy to live in an infinitely vast, virtual world from one crouched position on the couch. As we engage with our phones, computers and cars, we move and play less. Unfortunately, moving and playing are two important channels to body wisdom.

Another crucial obstruction between us and body wisdom is...trauma. When we are traumatized, we want to get away from our bodies and move as far away from ourselves as possible because being in our bodies can feel extremely uncomfortable and even fatally unsafe. When we carry trauma in our bodies, we are constantly bombarded with visceral signs of danger. Therefore just to be able to function minimally in the world, we become experts at ignoring ourselves, distracting ourselves from our bodies, and numbing ourselves out with addiction to external substances and/or behaviors that help us flee from our bodies, even for a little while.

Bessel van der Kolk, psychiatrist, trauma researcher & author of The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma writes:

 
"Trauma victims cannot recover until they become familiar with and befriend the sensations in their bodies...In order to change, people need to become aware of their sensations and the way that their bodies interact with the world around them. Physical self-awareness is the first step in releasing the tyranny of the past...The mind needs to be reeducated to feel physical sensations, & the body needs to be helped to tolerate & enjoy the comforts of touch. Individuals who lack emotional awareness are able, with practice, to connect their physical sensations to psychological events. Then they can slowly reconnect with themselves.”

Reconnecting to our bodies' infinite wisdom to decipher what we actually want and need physically, mentally, emotionally and even spiritually require focused intention, dedication and practice. It's simultaneously rudimentary and difficult to pay attention to the subtleties of our bodies. It's also often against the grain of our culture to pause and tune inward; but our overall health and wellness is dependent on it, now more than ever.

Below are a few curated teachings in the form of articles, videos and workshops centered on body intelligence. This is in no way an exhaustive list of all the resources available. Rather, it's intended to invite awareness, curiosity and perspective on the innate wisdom and feedback that your body is constantly trying to offer you.
Tune in: just notice your breath.
Is it shallow, deep, quick, slow, constricted or expanded?
Did your mind interject with any critiques of your breath when you recognized it? Can you distinguish your mind's voice about your breath from the simple awareness of it?

Teachings

Some resonating teachings I've encountered & experienced for you to reference related to body wisdom

READ:
  • Article: global lecturer & author, John Kehoe writes about "Body Wisdom" 
  • Article: holistic health and somatic practitioner, Jacqueline Westhead writes about "felt awareness" and shares a few brief practices to explore yourself
LISTEN:
  • Podcast: psychologist & Buddhist meditation teacher, Tara Brach speaks on Embodied Presence
  • Interview: spiritual teacher & author, Eckhart Tolle talks to Oprah about silencing the mind by getting present in the aliveness of the body
  • Talk: author & executive coach, Steven Sisgold speaks at Google about the relationship between beliefs held in the body & success, & "Whole Body Intelligence", including a body intelligence assessment
PLAY:
  • Program & curriculum (available in various parts of the globe): Interplay, an improvisational arts practice using storytelling, movement, & vocal play to unlock the wisdom of the body
Tune in: say hello to your heart.
Put your hand to your heart and notice the space that it inhabits. Can you feel your heartbeat? If not, what does the space feel like? If your heart wanted to say something to you, what would it say?

News

Updates & announcements from mosaiceye's community

New art up on the site:
  • A growing gallery of visuals and words about the "Shadow" (what physician and psychiatrist, Carl Jung called the "dark side of our personality") is up on the site inviting us to face the parts of ourselves and our systems that are typically unconscious yet prevalent in our lives
     
  • A new wave of visual affirmations centered on community & body wisdom is available in the mosaiceye shop to gift to yourself or your loved ones
Upcoming local events that encourage tuning into the body:
  • Interplay for Artists, Activists & Dabblers: my dancer, clown, activist & healer friend, Annie-Rose London co-facilitates a reoccurring Monday evening meeting to use movement, storytelling & song as tools to hold & guide us toward resilience & sustainability
     
  • Queer Magic Mornings: my queer multi-media artist friend, Cedar Ranney hosts a free weekly gathering for queer folk to be with our bodies, our breath and each other in movement & music
     
  • "Free Your Voice": my performer, teacher & healer friend, Amber Field offers classes in the SF Bay Area to sing, sound, & speak your truth with more confidence & freedom
     
  • "Cultivating Creative Flow": mosaiceyeunfolding is hosting a workshop in Berkeley on Thursday, 11/9 for us to use mindfulness & body wisdom to deepen creativity, self-compassion & expression
     
  • "Cultivating an Inner Forest of Peace": mosaiceyeunfolding is hosting a workshop in New York on Sunday, 11/19 with a writer, educator, & movement-maverick friend, Nandita Batheja, to use movement, reflection & body wisdom for inner peace & rejuvenation
Tune in: observe the feedback of your 5 senses.
Allow your eyes to land on something new that you didn't see before; listen out for a nuanced sound that you weren't previously aware of; caress a part of your body, notice the textures against your fingertips & sensations of that beloved body part; move your tongue around in your mouth & recognize the tastes & saliva.
Thank you for reading. I invite you further to journal about your relationship to your body's wisdom. Journaling is an excellent tool to gain self-awareness and although it's a reflection of yours thoughts, it can shed light on your cognition that might be inhibiting certain behaviors. Here are a few questions to consider in your writing:
  • What prevents you from tuning into your body? What scares you about tuning into your body?
  • Remember a time when you were attuned to your body: what were you doing? What were you like?
  • What small things could you do throughout your day to become aware more of your body?
For awareness,
Chetna

Stay tuned with the next full moon on December 3rd for
the second issue of The Moon Times.
Copyright © 2017 mosaiceye, all rights reserved.






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