Our bodies are a microcosm of the world around us. When we want to “be the change that we wish to see in the world” it begins not only with the outer manifestations of our actions but also with the mindful exploration our inner world.
When we've lived experiences of marginalization, violation or oppression, those experiences can often act as a catalyst for action but also make us more susceptible to compassion fatigue and resistance fatigue. The outward actions of change making aren’t enough for our own healing. Our bodies do their best to protect us, to keep us moving forward and allow us to act as change makers.
But on some level, maybe subtle, maybe not, our muscles tense, we lose our breath. We can be distracted, rest broken. When our bodies are on lockdown or on auto-pilot we lose connection to the pieces of ourselves that drew us to the work into the first place and over time the irritability, anxiety, numbness or depression can spill over into the rest of our lives. We can find ourselves living in a paradox of compassion while trying to positively impact world - it’s exhausting to feel it all, and at the same time exhausting to feel nothing because it takes an incredible amount of energy to suppress our senses.
And yet the need persists, the demand on our time and bodies will always be greater than what we can give. When our work calls us to meet a need that’s infinite, we can find ways to sustain us that feel equally infinite. Our bodies are a microcosm of our world, yes, but also the universe, infinite at least in our understanding.
Embodiment practices like bodywork and somatic meditation allow us to unpack our own shock, overwhelm, trauma, exhaustion and resistance, layer by layer and get in touch with the infinite pieces of ourselves, the pieces untouched by the demands and experiences of life.
We can begin to unfold our inner landscapes and rewrite the territory of our Selves, especially around the places in our bodies where we have internalized our own “otherness”, oppression and marginalization - because the unseen and unhealed places that live in our shadows prevent us from being fully present to do the work we are compelled to do. They are the places that call us to do more, give more even when we’re emotionally and physically spent. They’re the places that plague our rest with guilt and shame our self-care.
This work allows us the opportunity to learn how to honor our bodies, hearts and spirits so the the weight of the world doesn’t rest on our shoulders or in our bodies to be carried, but instead moves around us in ways that are infinitely more sustainable.