4. September 12, 2019

This week I am thinking about physicality. In re-finding an awareness of strength after experiencing sickness, I am thinking about my body in space, my body as a tool, my body as the vessel that holds all of my internal worlds, and simultaneously links me to others. 

Building the raised beds on Monday and Tuesday, I dug with my hands, I shoveled with my shoulders, I found ways to protect my back by bending my knees deeply when I was carrying a wheelbarrow full of topsoil. I found breath and rhythm, and tried to notice the latent anxiety that what I was doing wasn’t the real ‘work’ (that the work on my laptop inside was the actual work). 

On Wednesday, after our communications session on listening, I am also thinking about myself as a supportive listener, and the ways that I find and give support through physical touch. I am recognizing this as an ingrained habit, and am feeling grateful for a new awareness, and an interest in expanding my toolkit to include other ways of compassionate or active listening to meet others needs that may not be physical contact. How do I understand my default responses and ways of being as valuable, while also looking to expand my vocabulary to be more adaptable, to live a more full life? How can I best have someone else feel heard without reaching out (physically) to them? How can I be supported when so many of my loved ones are not physically present with me here?

I am feeling the ways that my body is changing living here - a new type of heft that had been lost from sitting at a desk most days, now being replaced with a thicker thighs, thicker shoulders, blistered hands, dirty nails from processing pounds and pounds of carrots for winter storage.

This evening I danced. For the first time in weeks, I felt the rhythm of a song and a confidence in the exploration that my joints and limbs wanted to follow in response. It felt like a new rhythm, a distinct purpose from the muscles being built by hammering a nail, the muscles (or new neural networks) I am trying to build in practicing self-compassion. I am sitting with the ways my body can serve me, can inspire me, can serve others, can need rest. I am learning to love the cycles and rhythms of my physicality, and the enduring support and inspiration it can provide me so that I can provide for others.

Martha Snow