My journey back into my body started about 13 years ago.
In late 2006, I was halfway through my bachelor’s degree in Psychology and deep in my struggle with an eating disorder. I spent my days counting calories and compulsively exercising. I loved moving my body -I did contemporary dance almost every day- but was deeply disconnected from it. I had no concept of what living in-the-body meant, nor why it was important.
One day, while surfing online, I came across a conscious dance/movement practice called JourneyDance. Everything I read resonated with me on such a deep level, and, within a month, I had signed up to the upcoming teacher training, without ever having tried a single class.
I deeply believe that our background says so much about who we are and what we do, so, today I want to name the three major traditions that I bring together in my work and honour the teachers I have been blessed to study with and be formed by.
I N I T I A T I O N
Our lives are full of initiations. Life is an ongoing initiation in itself. There are doors waiting to be opened and walked through, leading into new spaces we haven’t experienced before -and that can feel scary. We don’t know where we’re going and what we’re going to meet on the other side. More importantly, we don’t know who we are going to be, coming out that other side.
Initiations were never easy, nor were they ever meant to be. There is always a challenge to face, which is both external and internal; to move through the gateway, we need to develop skills and qualities, and awaken and embody parts of ourselves that may have previously been dormant. There is often a loss involved; we need to sacrifice something, to lay it down, before we can walk through the door. There are parts of ourselves, patterns and behaviours that cannot come with us beyond that door. None of this is easy.
I personally believe that all our lives’ challenges can be seen as initiations, as invitations and opportunities to grow. And that very much includes food and body-image difficulties. It also includes mental health challenges and addictions. All kinds of loss. And all the struggles we face in the outer arena of life.
Today I’d like to share more about my approach, both for those of you that are new here, and for those who have been following my work for a while. In my practice, I bring together a number of elements from different traditions and modalities, so it hasn’t always been easy to accurately describe and define the nature of it. Recently though, through exploration, I have landed in these words: Embodied, Alchemical Soul Work, which I really feel encapsulate the core and essence of it.
D i s s o l u t i o n
…is the stage in alchemy in which a solid substance turns into liquid.
At a psyche/soul level, it is the process of letting those parts of ourselves that have served their purpose and now cause more harm than good be released, “melt”, dissolve into their original substance -the ‘prima materia’.
Dissolution is associated with water. And that makes a lot of sense, because the parts we are called to let go of have often become quite rigid, “hard”. They have lost their flexibility and adaptability.
For transformation to happen, we need to let those “stiff”, hardened parts of ourselves and our bodies, what is known as our ‘body armor’, become undone, get liquified.
The Project/Problem Body Culture.
It is the paradigm in which our bodies are meant to be a project we need to work on, perfect, and present to the world to be rewarded, to receive acceptance and admiration, to be good and worthy. This project comes with specific measures of success; there are exact body dimensions and “health” standards we need to achieve to get a “good grade”. (health in quotes, because I’m talking about healthy = thin)
Then, if our project doesn’t come out as planned, if we “fail” at it, or our bodies “fail” to do what we ask them to, it all turns into a problem. Not A problem, but our main, most pressing, most embarrassing problem. One that we need to fix as soon as possible, at any cost. That needs to be a priority over anything else.
If there was just one thing I could ever share with you, this would be it:
Your Body speaks your Soul.
This is the vision that guides all of my work.
What I do is centered around the forgotten truth that the body is SO much more than flesh and bones, muscles and fat, inches and pounds. That our physical body is, really, synonymous, with our soul and psyche, and at the same time, the vessel for their expression. I live for the time when we know that we cannot separate one from the other, we cannot (wholly and deeply) work with and transform one without the other.
One of the most common statements I come across in the #bodypositive community is:
“You are not your body”
And even though I totally understand and appreciate the intention behind it -to remind us that we are whole human beings, much more than how our body looks, what it weighs, etc.- I don’t personally feel that a (further) disidentification from our bodies is beneficial, especially for those of us who have struggled in our relationship with it for years.
There is ONE fundamental core-message in my work, a basic truth, that I will never-ever tire from repeating. This is partly because it is also one of the greatest misperceptions of what our relationship with food and body is really about, and how we can attain...
I recently did an interview as part of the World Health Heroes Wellbeing Show. I’ve been a member of World Health Heroes for the last 6 months and feel so privileged to be part of their innovative movement.