As I sit here reading and absorbing the work of Richard Strozzi-Heckler PhD, it became clear to me that we are indeed "from a somatic point of view, living a distance from our bodies'. We mindlessly go about our day. Head-down-arse-up. Pushing the body, expecting it to work like a machine. Numbing ourselves to experience. Just to get through one day at a time. So much so, that this is what becomes the norm. We ignore the signs, pains or twinges in the body. We become detached. We are living at such a distance from our bodies, that we don't have the impetus to change until we are faced with crisis. It is generally only then that we start paying attention.
So my goal for today was to perform at least one task with total awareness. A total living, sensing and felt experience. What better time than breakfast?!!
After my little ritual of sending love and gratitude to the chickens for the eggs and hoped they have a happy life, I tucked into my breakfast. But not with my usual mindless scoffing approach. Today I took my time; no books or newspaper to read. No TV. No electronic devices. Today, I took a somatic approach to eating my breakfast. Today, I ate breakfast with my whole body!
I was fascinated how we have mastered the skill of using tools (a knife & fork) and the coordination and movement of the hands to apply the right amount of pressure to cut through the crusty bread. How the muscles of the shoulder assist in this task.
How the brain, eyes and hands work together to cut the appropriate size food portion to fit in our mouthes (okay, sometimes I don't always get this right!).
The manoeuvre of the hand and rotation of the wrist to navigate the wide open space in a direct course to the mouth (insert toddler memory being fed with the aeroplane spoon). The precise timing of the lower jaw descending to open the mouth allowing for that little 'ol
aeroplane to land.
I sat and listened to the crunch of my crusty toast; noticed the combination of textures of the rough bread and the soft creaminess of fried egg; then the soft burn on my tongue from the spicy chutney.
It was at this time I noticed my habituation of chewing on the right side, more so than the left. When I purposely chewed on the left, it felt awkward - a little like clasping your hands in one direction, and then trying to do it with the opposite hand on top.
Observing that great big muscle of the tongue; the way it pushes food around assisting in masticating it to a soft pulp, just before the swallow reflex kicks in, then down the hatch it goes.
Taking a little pause before my next bite, I let myself linger in the moment. I could still hear a faint residual echo of crunching. Pause. A little rumble of my happy tummy from being fed. Pause. My jaw muscles warmed with energy after the event of chewing. Pause. A faint gurgle in my throat. What was that?!! Pause. Then a little moment of realisation - You smell on the inhale, and taste on the exhale! (You're trying it out now aren't you?!!).
If we can start with just one task per day, I wonder, in time, how many more tasks we could perform with this awareness? Perhaps begin with small tasks - making a cup of tea, preparing a meal, walking to the photocopier, delivering that report to the bosses office or even simply stapling documents together.
Movements in the body - could you use the less dominant hand/foot? How does this change your experience?
Mind state, mood or emotion
Breath - is it fast or slow? Are you breathing in the chest or the belly?
Sensations - do your reactions create a certain tone or texture in the body (prickly, doughy, soft, shimmery?)
How can you come back to inhabiting your body the way you instinctively know how to?
I'd love to hear how you go.