Years ago, someone told me that my body rejuvenates its cells every seven years. Every seven years I get a totally new body filled with new cells; each of these cells packed with memories and beliefs. I imagine myself swimming through my cells, bumping up against the clear liquid walls of the cell membrane and peering in to see the mitochondria hard at work. Deep at its centre lies the powerful nucleus, the brain of the cell. Estimates published in 2013 in “Annals of Human Biology” suggest that there are 37.2 trillion cells that make up the human body. That’s 37.2 mini-brains (ie. nuclei) that hold memories of our life and relay information up through our central nervous system to our brain.
I’m curious how I might swim up to one of these cells and move with it. As I care for myself, I would ask it, the cell, what it needs. I would take what they say and do the dance of the cell, incorporating breath and movement in order to bring to life the needs of this cell.
Deep down there are cells in my body that are hurting — carrying/caring the weight of some long distant pain that was inflicted on me. Gone unseen, I walk, unconsciously through life projecting and repeating this pain onto others. Furthermore, the same cells that make up me came partially from my mother and father; my grandparents and great-great-grandparents. My ancestors live deep inside these cells. Thus, I am also carrying/caring the histories of them inside me. I speak to my ancestors through the cells in my body and as I bring breath and movement to them their pains are allowed to be seen and released; helping me move through this life in a more authentic and aligned way.
Over my 20+ years as a performer, I’ve come to understand this history and knowledge that lies within my body. As I commit myself to developing methods of using art as a means of bringing about change, I now bring experience as a Somatic Practitioner to this field in an attempt to not only bring about meaningful change to communities but to individuals also. Both these branches of change will inevitably impact a system and I wonder how we might need to do work on both in order to see meaningful systems change.
As of writing this (Nov 12, 2021), I am completing my Somatics Educator and Coaching training through the Tamalpa Institute. I am trusting and listening to the body and its knowledge. I welcome anyone reading this, who is inspired by this work, and who might see the benefit in exploring the body to confront and release anything in their life or to merely find alignment with themselves, to please reach out and/or book a Somatic Coaching session with me.
I want to offer you medicine that you have been carrying/caring all your life right inside of you.
Updated: Dec 1, 2020
The body is a place. We think of our minds and bodies as separate containers, but in fact, the mind is a part of the body. The body, in fact, is a place in which we store our memories and associations. We often think of a place as a site to encounter or experience. The same can be said about the body:
How do I encounter my body?
When do I experience my body?
For many, the answers to these questions are limited to a handful of experiences. Often we disassociate from our bodies in order to rationalize and live in a world that celebrates thinkers and in which the mind is allowed to lead. Much of the world associates the mind as the primary used muscle. In many of these cases, the answers to the above questions are left at, "Never".
The reality is that due to a series of circumstances in human history, such as patriarchy, colonization, white supremacy, heteronormativity, humanity has learned to support top-down thinking, and this, over generations, creates the belief that our minds do all the work and our bodies just tag along for the ride. Our bodies are the site of the impacts of patriarchy, colonization, white supremacy and heteronormativity. When we begin to connect the mind to the body, we can begin to sense the triggers and memories we hold in this vessel of ours. We begin to see the full site.
I struggled for a number of years, thinking that thought and ideas were the way of the future. I stumbled over articulating ideas as fully conceived concepts. Little did I know that the way my body works is in sensing and experiencing, Therefore, I can't promise that every time I open my mouth something smart is going to come out. Often times, my mouth is part of an elaborate process that my body needs in order to understand itself. It usually starts with a simple thought, that initiates my mouth speaking in real-time consciousness, while my body experiences what my thoughts are attempting to formulate. Only after I have spoken the words, do I feel. Only after I feel, do I understand. This is very different from this idea that anything coming out of our mouths has to make sense right off the bat.
This idea that the most articulate are the ones that are most celebrated is an output of patriarchy, colonization, white supremacy and heteronormativity. Hence why we get so much fragility when power is met with a request to unlearn. The unlearning requires us to experience this through the body, not just the mind. Deep in our bodies, we can all find memories of abuse of power. What would happen if we began from that place as we all attempt to unlearn patriarchy, colonization, white supremacy and heteronormativity?
All in all, this requires processing. We have assumed that the mind must learn immediately. That it is at the forefront of who we are as individuals. In fact, the body is the site of our experiences. And these experiences, are in process. Just like our words. Just like our thoughts. Just like our bodies -- ever encountering; ever activating; ever experiencing.