You may have heard the term "embodied experience," "embodiment" or "felt sense" thrown around in the wellness world, but what are we actually talking about? And what does it have to do with recovery?
One of my preferred definitions comes from a colleague of mine, Mike Hamm, LMT who is a science and body educator, bodyworker, musician, and great human. (You can check out many of his playful and informative videos and articles here).
In response to this question "what is embodiment," Mike says:
“[It is] the skill of perceiving, identifying with, and expressing the internal state of the body in the present moment.”- Mike Hamm, LMT Integrative Bodywork Education
So it's about learning to sense things happening in our bodies, observe these happenings, and determine how we would like to respond to them. With this definition, we are able to actively play a part in our own healing trajectory through curiosity, self assessment, and adaptable perspectives. From there, we are better able to seek out helpful resources to support recovery, and avoid further injury.
In my sessions, I get to explore this with clients! Together, we develop these skills of listening to/observing the body's signals (an achy hip, a pinching in the neck), and assessing options of how to respond in a supportive way, so that you can proactively identify, and interpret signals of imbalance, weakness or tension that may have developed. If you are interested in cultivating these skills for yourself, reach out to learn more!
In the meantime, I hope you will enjoy the following poem and artwork by a fellow healthcare colleague practicing in Seattle, WA, as we continue our Body Mapping Project...
Some of these pieces of art and writing share memories, moments and descriptions of explicit content such as human anatomy, adult relations, child labor, emotional or psychological distress, and physical pain. The following content is not intended as erotica, or to promote sexual arousal, nor to activate any psychological harm to others. If any of the above content feels unsafe or you feel sensitive to any of the above topics, I truly hope you will take care of yourself and not take on unnecessary pressure to read on. We are all processing a lot, and it’s ok to not have the energy or bandwidth to deal with how you currently feel.
Lets learn more about our bodies and healing through art and language!
Artwork and poem by a fellow healer who lives and practices in Seattle, WA.
This poem is written in Japanese Tanka style with 31 syllables.
I don’t know where you’re taking me.
Will it hurt?
Will it be worth it?
Is there even a destination?
What does it feel like in my body right now?
The Body Mapping Project is a blog series curating art, poems, songs, and writings from individuals in our community who lovingly, and vulnerably bring you accounts of their bodies. Each person has responded in their own way, to the question: "What does it feel like in my body right now?" I hope you will find inspiration, self acceptance, and hope through these individuals’ incredible works. Enjoy!
**If you would like to contribute your own piece, you can submit your art or writing to Meredith at email@example.com.
*Please respect the creators! Keep all responses/comments to the works respectful in language and intent. It is an act of vulnerability and courage to share such personal experiences with others, and this space is meant to cultivate healing, love, and acceptance of ourselves and others. Some individuals have requested to remain anonymous, and others, share their identities openly.