Our journey through life is encoded in our bodies just as the rings of a tree encode the life-story of that tree. If we grow up in an emotionally supportive environment our posture will be secure, our movements fluid and our speech expressive. We will also be at ease with our bodies, and enjoy an open connection between body and psyche. If we grow up in the wake of emotional trauma, it is a different story. Our bodies take on the postures, movements and ways of speaking that seem to offer us protection: we may puff ourselves up or make ourselves small, overeat or starve, yell or stutter.
Once established, these bodily defenses limit our experience of ourselves and the world.
We cannot pick up the subtle feelings that reflect our bodies' emotional states and which could act as a compass during life. We have little access to the images that arise in our bodies which could help to guide our journey. We see our bodies as objects and tend to blame at least some of our pain on their imagined inadequacy. Healing trauma requires that we work directly with our bodies to release what they hold, and forge the connections between body and psyche that will enable us to live an embodied life. There are many creative ways to do this work, including authentic movement, voice-work, yoga, and working with masks.
Source - Tina Stromsted and Daniela F. Sieft, Dances of Psyche and Soma. In Understanding and Healing Emotional Trauma: Conversations with Pioneering Clinicians and Researchers (Routledge 2015), p. 46.
Embodiment invites a different relationship with our bodies – a rich one, indeed, where the body is no longer regarded as an object, but an intimate, living process. Being embodied doesn't preclude conceptual thought, but offers a grounded infrastructure through which we can have a different relationship with our thoughts. Embodiment is mindfulness not as a mental practice, but as a lived experience. "I'm here. I'm resonating with what is, and I'm aware of it."
Source - Machiel Klerk, Embodiment: The Body as a Gateway to Presence. The Jung Society of Utah blog, posted April 22, 2016.
This makes us essentially responsive beings: we are always already seeing and seen, hearing and being heard, touching and being touched. Thus our dialogue with world is profoundly intimate.
Source - Mark Saban, Staging the Self: Performance, Individuation and Embodiment (Body, Mind and Healing After Jung).
Art: Natalia Fabia