what if I don’t feel like I deserve it?

street art -- hands opening beneath a red butterfly, all in front of a pale yellow circle...Good morning! How is this morning meeting you so far? I need a refill on my dandelion-nettle-tulsi-green tea, and the room is still warming up around me. Whew, I feel like I’m living with my ancestors in the dugout — I need some hot potatoes to keep in my pockets and at the foot of my bed.

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Yesterday I had a second meeting with my somatic therapist — it’s interesting to have my therapy feel so focused around a particular topic and goal: getting more comfortable and safer in this body. She invites me to come into the room, and come into myself, to notice what I’m bringing with me in my body on this day. I try to describe, with precision, the tension in my shoulders — like a knotting up, maybe, I say, and she says, like it’s pulling on everything else around it? No, that’s not right — so I reconsider: more like a radiating, then, a core of tension that radiates out and ends up with tingles in my arms and neck. There’s a focus required, to be able to describe it clearly.

We talk about when I feel good in my body, and I say there aren’t that many times, but I notice that the times I mention (when I’m dancing, when I’m walking, when I’m cooking) are times that I’m being active. I talk about how I was such an active kid, even into sports, but how all that stopped when I was a teenager (that’s a euphemism for when my stepfather became the stepfather). Interesting to notice that I’m more comfortable in motion than at rest. Interesting to notice, too, that I didn’t talk about feeling good in my body when I’m writing — it’s not that I’m not ok in my body when I’m writing, but that the tension doesn’t necessarily dissipate. Sometimes it does, when I can get into a flow, when I’m lost in the words, in the story — but is that about being ok in my body, or about being disconnected from  body and only connected to words?

A couple of nights ago, we watched What the Bleep Do We Know? again — I think I fell asleep the first time we saw it (no disrespect to the film!) so this was the first time I’d seen it all the way through, and I was surprised by the amount of attention the film pays to the body — really getting into our structure, how our thoughts invest/condition/create us, physically and otherwise — and what else? There’s the piece about addictions to emotions, how we become accustomed to particular emotional responses in different situations, and that it can be uncomfortable to break those addictions, but when we do, we find that there are so many different possibilities in every moment — different responses, different actions available to us.

And then there’s the piece about water: they tell the story of some research that Dr. Masaru Enoto did with water molecules, describing the effects that thoughts appear to have on water molecules — the film asks us to consider, given the fact that our bodies are up to 65% water, what effect our thoughts (and the thoughts around us) might have on these vessels we live within and are. I thought about how I attend to my body (or don’t), how I dress, what messages I’m sending, over and over to this self.

And then after the session yesterday, I thought, What if I don’t feel like I deserve to be comfortable in my body?

Yes, something snapped. Yes. You don’t deserve to be ok in your skin, after what you did.

So, that’s what I’m tangling with this morning — that old, old feeling that lives in my very cells: Who do you think you are to be ok in your skin? To be comfortable and relaxed and released?

Yes, there’s the fear, the hyper-alertness, the place that feels like, You have to be ready when he gets out of jail, when he comes for you. (How to release that fear?) And then there’s this other layer: who do you think you are to be comfortable in your body?

What seems necessary is a gentle conversation with that place of vigilance in me — with those nerves and layerings. A gentle, physical conversation. A tenderness with self and/in body anyway. A tenderness with this body anyway.

Are there ways that old beliefs and messages are holding hostage your comfort in yourself? How have you met those thoughts? How have you transformed or danced with them?

Those could be some places to begin writing today —

Thank you for your layers of self-protection and, too, your patience with the vigilant places within you. Thank you for your patience with yourself and others as they transform their relationship with your/their own traumatized bodies. Thank you for your words.

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