At times every single one of us loses sight of who they are, why they do what they do, whether it makes any sense and has purpose. It is a normal and difficult experience that can lead to unease in one’s life, emotional discomfort and even pain. It happens to me, to you, to people we think are successful and have it all figured out. We don’t always show it, but we feel it. The increase in stress, depression and anxiety related conditions is a clear indication of this, despite the efforts we might put into hiding those feelings.
It is a part of living, especially in the modern Western world, because we derive our sense of self-worth almost exclusively from the outside world : work, family, social activities, income, school, … In all of these cases what gives us a sense of being valuable and having purpose comes from comparison, from points of references that are outside ourselves and forever shifting. Sometimes, they even are contradictory. What we experience then is like forces outside of our grasp sketch who we are, which we continually have to please, adapt and conform to. For some people it even means their very experience of their body can only be accessed through the outside. Like the boundaries of their skin is not real until something outside comes to wake them up to it. As if the experience of being equalled existing under pressure. And like a pressure cooker sometimes it becomes too much.
What a mindboggling way of relating to ourselves, considering that underneath our skin, within our hearts and minds, inside of us, there is so much going on, we are so much and what it really feels like to be us is hardly accessible to the outside world.
Bodymind work, yoga, meditation, breathwork are all powerful tools to help us regain a sense of who and how we are from the inside. They are tools to bring back the attention inside, to feel from within as well as with the outside world. And in doing so it helps to interact with the world from a place that is more honest, more able to articulate its limits, wishes, hopes and values.
That is why in most sessions of bodymind work I get people to focus on their breathing, to use abdominal breathing to feel themselves from within. The abdomen and chest expanding, then contracting. The space inside that the breath in can create, the sense of comforting integrity and release that the breath out can provide. And once that is established, I get them to use the breath to explore the areas worked on from within, so they are able to be fully aware of what it feels like. This ensures that we work within the boundaries of what feels good and allows release.
What I offer to any one I work with, in whatever capacity, is the ability to rediscover curiosity about themselves, and from there about the world. To find a way back into who they are, regardless of what, how and when they might think they ought to be, achieve or have.