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Natural Awakenings Fairfield Cty/Housatonic Valley, CT

Men's (and Women's) Bodies in a Time of Change

Mar 15, 2011 03:49PM ● By Vincent Fraser, CAT;CST

All the significant changes we are seeing in finance, society, politics and the environment are demanding an increased recognition that collectively we've gone down a road leading to an unsustainable way of living. The inclusive guiding influence that we've left behind is the body.

 Some would say we've lost our roots, sense of community, history, or our connection to nature and our soul. Yet the path, or one path, toward all these things is through the body. William Blake wrote "Man has no body distinct from his soul, for that which is called body is a portion of the soul discerned by the five senses". And the body, like both nature and the soul, is often referred to as having feminine characteristics such as empathic, contextual, feeling, and holistic.

 Our bodies never left nature, and are still clearly a part of it. So as we move through this time, which has been described as the re-emergence of the Feminine, and we are called to pay more attention to our Planet Earth, we could profitably develop the habit of considering our individual planet's (the body's) point of view in all situations.

 It's important to affirm that the use of the word feminine does not refer to the female gender, but rather Yin qualities which exist in both men and woman, though usually in greater proportion in women in relation to their yang ("masculine") energy and manifestations. In our culture there is a thorough training of men to never appear feminine, and as a result, men often have a tremendous amount of armor in the bodies, in the form of "permanently" tightened muscles. This also serves the purpose of keeping the violence that boys and men experience out of both their awareness and society's awareness. This includes physical, sexual, and emotional violence. But we know that this makes it likely that the same violence will be perpetuated upon the next generation. In regard to this, I feel appreciation and a kinship with the many, many men who have turned away from a fearful, distorted sense of the masculine that can only meet the world with a rigid body.

 The great loss for men is that the armor in their bodies keeps them living in a smaller part of themselves, not in the wholeness of their being. And the accelerated rate of change on Earth at this time is calling for a more fluid, creative response. This "whole brain" functioning is accessed with a less rigid, more conscious body.

Try this exploration to experience it:

 Right now, what is your body's point of view regarding what you are doing? Would it prefer to hold this magazine more loosely? To breath more easily, and therefore more fully? Would it like to feel the support of the chair, so its legs can relax? If you’re eating and reading does it want to taste the food more? Less? Perhaps it wants you to stop reading and give it some kind attention. It’s point of view is always expressed, even if not heard.

 To hear the body's point of view is to also invite into our awareness the above mentioned aspects of our being. Our history is in our body. We are in fact embodied souls, though for most of us, the embodiment is incomplete. Modern religious tendencies of fear and devaluation of the body (and the feminine) contribute to this incomplete embodiment. Our bodies are in a constant exchange with the rest of nature, through the molecules of our breath to the vibrations of our aura. Never separate. Sense the different body responses to the image of grass versus the image of a parking lot; the idea of a soft cotton shirt versus a nylon shirt. Did you just now actually sense the body's response, or did the head just keep reading and conceptualizing? The body's point of view in each of these examples is drawing us in the direction of sustainable life. And all day long it's telling us its point of view.

  Sensing the body's point of view can be done any time in any activity. This requires what I call our Kind Attention: a softer, open attention that is neither judgmental nor demanding. And it usually coincides with a softening of over tense muscles, the expansion of the breath, and an opening of our consciousness. It brings us back into the present moment, to what we are experiencing now. Can you sense it now?

Vincent Fraser, CAT;CST, is a Certified Alexander Technique Teacher and Craniosacral Therapist. He offers a workshop, “Alexander Technique as a Path to the Unconditioned Self”, and has a practice in Greenwich and Norwalk. 570.2059. VincentFraser.com.