You might have heard this term thrown around a bit lately and be wondering what it really means. It’s okay I didn’t really know what it was a few years ago either. I thought it was just a term yogis threw around. I was very enlightened when I was trained in Nonlinear Movement by Michaela Boehm the queen of embodiment.
What is embodiment? Embodiment is coming back into your body; it’s the process of
becoming alive to the signals of your body. It’s the living in the FULL human experience.
The truth is most of us don’t really LIVE inside our bodies, we live in our minds and our
minds tell us all sorts of distorted things like, “I’m not good enough, smart enough,
fit enough, healthy enough, young enough, or I am defective in some way.”
You might not know this but, YOU WEREN’T BORN THIS WAY!
Remember being a child and just moving and playing in your body for fun? As children we naturally integrate our mind, body and spirits… it’s much easier to live in your body as a child because you haven’t had much outside influence to tell you that you are anything but PERFECT!
So where were you when the world got a hold of you? When I started doing this work I asked myself this question and I flashed back to a memory of when I was 11 years old. It was a Sunday night and I was headed to AWANAS, a Sunday school type program that was filled with fun and games and lots of Bible memory challenges….the latter was not so fun. I stressed out trying to earn those badges and awards and my 10 year old neurodivergent brain couldn’t keep up with the homeschooled kids at my church.
Okay I’m digressing, the real story is how on this night I was shamed for wearing biker shorts. It was 1993 and biker shorts were all the rage so my mom got me a black pair with a hot pink striped down the sides. I felt so cool. Until this Sunday night when a pastor at our church told me that “I was making men stumble” with my biker shorts since they clung to my legs and buttocks. I was baffled. I didn’t know what “stumble” meant and I sure as heck didn’t know why they would do such a thing for just seeing my body. My body was meant for fun and movement at this time of my life, not for visual pleasure or stimulation. I was educated quickly in modesty and how it was my job and the job of all women to dress in a way that doesn’t make a man objectify them. Side note: this is a form of female objectification.
At 10 years old the world got a hold of me and I became acutely aware of how clothes fit on my body, how I interacted with boys and men and how I presented myself in the world as a female. Looking back on this memory I know now that this is when my body became my enemy and men became dangerous.
I could go on and on about the damages of Purity Culture and how it’s victims symtoms mirrors the same adverse symptoms as sexual abuse survivors. If you want to hear more about that follow me on insta @chrissyjpowers. 😉
But what I want to tell you today is that you can come back to your body. You can reclaim and own your body. I can honestly tell you that at 40 years old I’m living fully in my body for the first time and it’s amazing and so life giving.
How do you come back to your body? First you must accept what is. What do you feel in your body today? How do you relate to your body? What kinds of things do you say to her? If they aren’t words you’d tell your best friend then you shouldn’t be saying them to yourself.
Your body is your best friend and is always working in favor of your healing. I know this because years after my cute biker-short-wearing body was shamed I suppressed my emotions around my sensuality and femininity and my body fought back. I struggled with an eating disorder for much of my 20’s and my body was wrecked with anxiety and panic attacks. I created my own cage to keep me feeling safe and worthy. When I look back on times like this in my life I get emotional because my body, the very thing I fought against, was always there for me. If I wanted to run 17 miles and deprive myself food she did her best to accommodate, when I wanted children with my husband she obliged, when I fed 3 babies with milk from my breasts she provided. My body is a divine! My body was never a stumbling block. My body was and is a representation of the DIVINE light in you and me.
When my panic attacks reached their height I looked in the direction of embodiment work. Through moving my body and listening to her I started to see what wasn’t working for me and I started to pull out beliefs that were hurting me.
I set aside time to move out trauma and old dogmas that made me feel less than or restricted and I began the process of freeing her.
If you feel locked up in your body today or you’ve created your own cage of false security I promise you there’s hope outside the cage. Your body has an inherent wisdom and knows how to move and release without you telling her what to do. The job of the wounded maiden is to release the wounds that were given to her and to reclaim who she was always meant to be.
I’ve never had more fun discovering who I am! Today I experiment more with what I actually like, I’ve dyed my hair from blonde to brunette because it felt right, I move my hips more and I own my sensuality as a woman. I’m not perfect, I’m still healing, but I’m honored to do this work, to show my daughter a new way to live in her body and to come along side women who also want to reclaim themselves. It’s the most meaningful work I’ve had the privilege of doing as a therapist and embodiment coach.
Start by putting a hand on your heart and a hand on your diaphragm and take a deep breath in through your nose and out through you mouth. Do this 4 times and see how you feel…. Better right? That’s because you were in your body when you did that. So if you don’t know where to start, start here. Then do it again tomorrow, ask for help and prioritize your healing. You will not regret it.
*This post was written in partnership with Bohemian Mama.
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Sending you so much love and support.
With Hope & Healing,