Sunday, September 27, 2009
A recent conversation with a client brought up her thought that individuals in this society's need to re-connect not only with their own bodies, but, also with the natural world around them. Her point to me was that, while technological advances have made many things in life easier to do, those same advances have distanced individuals from their own bodies, their personal and familial histories, and from connecting with nature itself. She is quite right. Most people in my practice, when asked, have little to no idea how their aches and pains have occurred let alone anything about how their injuries, stresses and the like effect their physical beings.
That's very sad to me. Her point was, also, that when one is so disconnected from one's own functioning, one is also disconnected from one's familial history and from nature to one degree or another. As our conversation progressed, I asked her how she saw the disconnect in the familial history. Her explanation was simple. By not knowing our own body, we are not acknowledging the heritage that produced our body both genetically and historically. If you don't know yourself, you cannot know your family history. If you don't know your family history, you don't know how to connect with nature - unless you have extensive outdoor hobbies. A century ago, many families still had direct and/or indirect ties to nature through land ownership, farming, hunting, etc. Within the ensuing century, most of the citizenry became imbued with the advances of the industrialization of the "modern" world and the benefits thereof and began moving away from being in tune with the natural world. Electricity brought the ability to stay up all night. Trains, cars, busses and planes brought a more transportation from Point A to Point B discouraging the perusal of the surrounding natural scenes and vistas. Digitalization has brought even more advances that tempt us to ignore the natural world and our own physical beings as well, thus the need for re-connection with ourselves, our familial histories, and nature.
Re-connection with oneself is relatively simple. Slow down. Stop rushing everyewhere and trying to be all things to all people. Take a long, slow deep breath and release it even more slowly. Sit in silence and listen to the sounds around you - be they the sounds of your home, your work, or, nature itself. Notice what you haven't noticed before. The sounds of crickets chirping on an early fall evening, the quiet sound of a breeze as it blows, the sense of your own breath going in and out of your nostrils... the list of things to notice is virtually endless. Re-connecting with your body is also quite easy to do. Assess the sensations you notice when you move yourself through time and space. Does your head move freely atop your neck? Are your hands, arms, feet and legs without pain and stiffness? Does your abdomen ache? Are your hips as limber as you would like them to be? How about the way your knees, elbows and shoulders work? What sensations do you recognize within your own body that are "good", "bad" or "just right"?
Pay attention to how your body functions, how it moves, how it doesn't move. All of those things will give you a more clear and concise indication of how you are really functioning in this world. And, by paying attention to your own being, your own essential operational system, you will begin your re-connection with nature. Re-connection with nature will serve to bring you a quieter sense of peace, a more graceful appreciation of your own existence. You will be less like to have a "complete systems failure" once you realize that there is something greater and more wondrous than the technological, mechanical, and industrial advances that have occurred over the past century. My client was right. Re-connection with oneself, and with nature is not only a good idea, it is essential to one's own survival.