You Belong in Your Body

Here’s the latest installment from our series of Cosmophilia Featured Articles, which are open to all readers. In this piece, Maria Jawan recounts her personal journey back into her body, through various therapeutic modes (including free-dance) after having dissociated from it for many years. Read the full article here. — Amanda P.

by Maria Jawan

Let me shout this right now from the rooftops: This is not about waiting it out! Life is not about “transcending” our bodies, disrespecting them, dragging them around like empty sacks, waging a relentless war against their needs; it’s about inhabiting them.

It’s not about putting up with numbness and frustration, fantasizing about all the good things that will come ‘eventually’, but claiming our right to joy, authenticity and contact through feeling our every cell, right now. Claiming tenderness, caring, loving touch, and acknowledging the beauty of our bodies.

Photo by Eric Francis

Photo by Eric Francis.

These are basic rights, they are blessings to give and receive in this life, and we all deserve them.

I’ve spent my twenties and most of my thirties trying to do ‘the right thing, at the right time, in the right way’, while in practice disengaging from all activities pertaining to the living — relationships, fun, a job I could actually enjoy. I’ve lived for more than a decade in an empty house, alone, in contact with very few people, having sex only once in a while and only after being considerably drunk.

This has created a huge and very painful void in my life, made bearable for what now seems to me a surprisingly long time by living in my mind. I hoped that sometime, after I’d had enough therapy to ‘solve my issues’, or after I’d finished my PhD, things would finally fall into place.

I’ve felt like I have no right to experiment with or enjoy all the things so natural to the people around me — falling in and out of love, meeting someone new, having fulfilling jobs, having babies — but also simpler pleasures like going out for a drink, going to the movies or on vacation. Not only that, but I was also convinced I had to transcend all these experiences, and the feelings that come with them of course, as if they were natural and valid for everyone else…but not for me. I even avoided discussions about my personal situation regarding love or sex, utterly embarrassed that I almost never had something worth reporting and slightly baffled at how the whole thing seemed to work for almost everyone except me.

Continue reading here.

5 thoughts on “You Belong in Your Body

  1. Robert Moore

    Maria – The most genuine thing I can say is that I feel great gladness after reading these words of breakthrough and realization from you. Any parallel experience I have had pales to near invisible in comparison and I bow to the part of you that successfully moved through to right here right now. But two things you mention are great jewels that I, too, value deeply:

    — It IS all now. Right now. Always now. Part of my daily (if not hourly) maintenance is asking myself, “What IS working right now?” “What DO I like about where I am right now?”

    — And then I love, love the insight you share at the end about feeling your feet on the ground. This I can more fully relate to as I spent much of my early life with my head in the clouds all the while ignoring the ground completely… wanting to, actually. I just posted a piece on my site about the gift of staying grounded. It looks to have been largely ignored but it is wonderful to see you right here relating in such a profound way.

    I like this feeling of gladness you’ve brought today. I like that you are here. Literally.
    – Rob

  2. Lizzy

    Yes – a wonderful piece. I remember a friend, a singing teacher once gave me a lesson many years ago, and the first thing she said to me was “breathe Liz!” That was the first time I realized I was barely breathing – think the first thing a child does in reaction to a difficult environment is to withhold the breath – and it takes a long time to learn to breathe again. And like you, Maria – I’m enjoying the journey of discovering my body – which began many years ago with cranio sacral sessions – and was interrupted. Then I started qi gong tai chi classes last spring – with a wonderful teacher, and it feels as if my body has found a home. (would like to check out your piece Rob).

  3. M.

    Hello there, this is Maria.
    Rob – thank you very, very much for your sweet comment. I read your piece about grounding, and I was nodding all the way. I think my approach was to confuse grounding with “being responsible”, which at the time felt more like repressing whatever was coming up, rather than feeling connected and being accountable. I still wake up, go through the day and go to bed facing the struggles I describe in the piece, in my case it’s literally about taking “baby steps”. Only, it’s a big consolation, and relief, to actually feel my body a tiny bit more each day – or even feeling when I’ve shifted to thinking mode again, actually noticing the difference!
    Lizzy – Thank you for connecting! Absolutely, whenever I did qi gong, usually as a part of workshops or therapy “homework”, it really helped me. In general, dance and yoga do the thing for me. I’m still in the process of taking my breath back, as well as my body, it’s always such a revelation to feel how little I actually let breath in *until* I really start paying attention to where I am and start relaxing.
    Thank you so much both! 🙂 :*

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