Last weekend, I was lucky enough to spectate at the London Marathon. Each year, professionals and amateurs run this arduous course, with the latter doing so to raise money for charity.
On arriving at mile 25, where I had planned to stand, I was completely bowled over by the emotion in the air: the love, the symbiosis between those cheering and those running.
And amidst that all conquering, all powerful love, I felt deeper, darker emotions: anger, confusion, sadness.
Why so? Because each of runners had a story to tell, as to why they were running for that charity, and some were particularly poignant. Sons, running for fathers that had died from lung cancer; friends, running for brothers injured out in Afghanistan; parents, running after the early death of their babies.
The story behind their marathon, was one of beauty and heartbreak, the power of the human spirit to move through suffering, to embody it, and allow their emotions to flow and bring healing.
It seems to me that there is great power that comes by involving the body with our inner work and life journeys. It brings conceptual understandings into felt reality.
For instance, at a time in my life that I was struggling to pull away from my parents, to start dating and embrace my adulthood, I had an embodied experience at an improv class.
In the scene, one guy was pretending to be the step dad of a sulky teenager (me), scolding her for going out with boys. The imagined scene resonated so much with my actual circumstances and emotions, that I actually ended up angrily punching the guy playing the step dad. I was able to physically express anger, in a way that I was unable to in my real life situation…and this was tremendously healing.
Another example is a recent therapeutic session where I was exploring how difficult it is to express myself authentically, rather than only sharing the things that I expect to get a positive response.
We all find it difficult to be truly authentic, for fear of being rejected, of love being conditional. The very next day, I had a conversation with my boyfriend on a topic we disagree on; rather than clamming up or changing the subject, I was empowered to share my own voice, whilst accepting his.
This brought the concept into the reality. If became further embodied at the 5rhythms full moon dance yesterday, where I felt led to dance authentically: my fear, my anger, my joy…without trying to censor myself for an audience.
As women, we are unique in our physical experience of menstruation. The lining of the womb is shed on a monthly basis; it is built up again up until ovulation. Therein lies an opportunity to experiment with embodiment.
In the later days of bleeding, when we set our intentions, our hopes for the month ahead, we can embody this with a few minutes of yoga’s Archers Pose. The night before our biggest flow, we can verbalise what concepts/things/fears we want to let go of. Then in that heavy sleep, accompanied by the flowing out of the old skin, we wake up feel fresh, as if having had a cartharthic experience.
Holding onto those things that no longer serve us, is probably the biggest thing that holds us back. As women, our bodies hold a spirituality allowing us to embody this vital practice and move forward into transformation. How exciting is that!
Hiranya is our Strategic Activist and Community Leader at CycleHarmony.com.