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    Moving from Dis-embodied Reality to In-the-Body Presence

    By Jamie Leno Zimron–

    Here are a few thoughts for your day: A major distinguishing characteristic of being a person on this planet is that you receive a physical body. It’s what sprouts and develops for 9 months in the womb, and it’s all your own! It is also the only thing that is with you from the moment you popped out on your birth-day, until the moment you’ll exit this earth-plane for where we don’t know. Not your mom, or dad, or dog or cat, or anyone or anything is with you every second of your life, everywhere you’ve ever been or are in your better and worse and in-between moments, except for your body. In a very real sense, it is where you are located, and short of dying, there is literally no escaping the body that you find yourself alive in.

    Why is all of this important? There are many reasons, starting with the fact that just because you are inexorably located inside your body doesn’t mean that you really live there. This can cause problems, since your body is arguably the most basic, intrinsic and constant part of your life. The majority of people live up in their heads, often getting lost in their thoughts or surfing around the internet. Another term for virtual reality could just as well be dis-embodied reality, and we know that people young and old are spending more and more of their time there.

    Trauma and abuse cause many people to check out of their bodies, and at times dissociate, because it’s just too painful to feel or remain physically present. Then there are the Judeo-Christian ethics so dominant in America. They often don’t help us to feel good about our bodies. Too often we’re taught that sensuality, sexuality and the natural joys of the senses are some kind of cardinal sins, and running around free and exuberant is at best only tolerated when we’re little kids.

    Device Neck/Text Neck

    I’ve never forgotten one day years ago in San Francisco, when a successful accountant came to see me for her first somatic (soma = “the body” in Greek) psychotherapy session. Her career was going well, but she was out of shape, depressed and unhappily single. She lived between spreadsheets and calculators as she sat working all day indoors, moving only her fingers and eyes. Knowing she needed to make some changes, she said her friends sent her to me because I did “some kind of body therapy, whatever that is,” and because their image of her was “a head running around on a skateboard!”

    This was even before the days of electronic devices, which have sent us all further into living in our minds as we incessantly crank our heads to check our phones and tablets. Our electronic behavior is already so extreme that “Device Neck/Text Neck” is a new medical condition. Neck cricks, headaches, achy shoulders, poor posture, spinal strain, skeletal misalignment and irritability all are exacerbated, alienating us further from happy embodied living. Whenever I speak about this in my talks to groups, and share the story and image of the accountant, almost every head nods in recognition.

    Modern media-driven culture doesn’t help either. It is brutally judgmental of physical appearance, and intensely focused on artificial standards of narrowly-acceptable beauty. Who doesn’t think they (and others) are too tall or too short, too fat or too thin, too big or too little? We get depressed and hate ourselves when signs of wrinkles, aging, disability or any of our many natural “imperfections” inevitably appear.

    The body needs good nutrition, proper sleep, regular exercise and loving touch. Yet eating disorders, alcohol and drug addiction, sleep deprivation, lack of exercise, physical and sexual abuse, and even lack of basic food and shelter are all rampant. Unfortunately, going to the gym and adorning our bodies do not necessarily mean that we are on good terms with, and nurturing, our physical being, or that we’re comfortable living in our own skin.

    Developing In-the-Body Presence

    I’m on a somatic mission in life! My work is all about helping people to live from the place of in-the-body presence and connection. The body is your vital vehicle while you’re here, and is truly a temple that houses the unique and amazing spiritual essence that you are. I believe it’s your birthright to be happy and vibrant in your miraculous body. It is also your responsibility to take good care of the one and only body you’re given, and to respect the body of your fellow humans and the body of the earth that supports all of our lives.

    Your body is a voluminous personal library and archive of your life. Being with you every moment, it has been registering every experience you have, including every perception, emotion and belief you’ve associated with what’s gone on for you. The registry has both conscious and subconscious levels. It’s rich with your personal information, memories and meanings, and doesn’t know how to lie. When something is off, or not congruent, the body knows and shows it.

    Perhaps you’ve heard of the many research studies that tell us up to 93% of communication happens not through verbal content, but through what our body language is saying. We are all responding to, and forming opinions about, each other not on the basis of what you say, but on how you’re saying it—through body posture, eye contact, gestures, tone of voice and “the vibes” you’re emanating.

    Being aware and in tune with your body’s sensations and signals gives you so much more access to all parts and dimensions of yourself. Living in your body is also the way to living in the present, and the doorway to more self-control in your communication and success in relationships. It’s easy to get mentally or emotionally lost living in the past—pains, hurts, even fond memories of “better days”—or living in the future filled with worries, fears and expectations. What gets missed is living in the here and now.

    Try consciously breathing and climbing down from your head and out from under your emotions into your body—your torso, belly, hips, hands, legs, feet. Start experimenting with living more in the present by simply being more present in your body! Throughout the day, take a few moments to get centered, grounded, relaxed, connected. Be ready for great and fun discoveries in how getting present in your body can help you shift your thoughts and feelings for the better, and show up in your life with focus, clarity and real personal power.

    Birthrights and Inherent Building-Blocks

    Probably the single most important thing we can do, as individuals and as a society and civilization, is for everybody (yes, every body!) to deeply respect and honor The Body. If you simply honored and lived fully in the one precious essential body that you have, chances are that you would automatically take proper care of it! You would feel your heart, know your mind and be connected to who you truly are and the sacredness of all life.

    The very idea of violating, abusing or harming another person’s body would seem abhorrent and absurd. We would all treasure Mother Earth, and be grateful good stewards of the environment—knowing how totally dependent we are and in vital need of clean water and air, healthy food, natural resources, open space, the beauties of nature. We couldn’t possibly rape the earth, clear-cut trees and rain forests, pollute and exploit, deny animals their habitat, or cause whole species to become extinct.

    In this light of honoring The Body and living fully in the amazing one each of us is granted, we would be certain that every-body has a home. Every human being requires and deserves a safe, warm, nurturing space and a place to lie down each night and wake up every morning, to be able to enjoy and make the most of their days. Affordable housing would be treated as the birthright and basic building-block it is for every single person, and homelessness would never ever be tolerated for any-body.

    Embodiment is aliveness and empowerment! On this day, right here and now, consider these things and ask yourself: Where am I living?

    Jamie Leno Zimron is a 6th Degree Aikido Black Belt, LPGA Golf Pro, Corporate Speaker and Holistic Peak Performance Trainer. Contact her for private lessons and coaching, or to work with your conference or company: 760-492-GOLF(4653) and jamiesensei@thekiaiway.com