The community within me

Our next Nurturance group will be on exploring our cells: the communities that live within ourselves and how they connect us to our wider environment, and each other.

Some thoughts and inspirations:

‘Cells don’t live in isolation. This simple fact offers a lesson about our lives: Living creatures are tender and vulnerable and only thrive in situations that offer supportive context. If a person stops feeling connected to community and world, he or she will not thrive.’
(How life Moves, Caryn McHose & Kevin Frank)

Does this strike a chord within you? What arises?
I’m curious.

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Looking in, I sense a longing. A truth that lands, quite literally, within my cells. Sensing in to my cells I find the edge where my self meets the world around me. I am both individual and part of a much larger living matrix.

And, yet, here we are living in isolation from each other – in the wider world I mean.
I wonder what that does to our cells?

The longing within my cells is to live this truth of ‘supportive context’ – I need you and you need me. Yet, there is also a wisdom that speaks to me of the importance of boundaries – also embodied within the cell. How do I be me, with you – and how do I let you be you, with me? And how do I embody a reciprocal relationship with our world? How do we live in dynamic alignment with one another?

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It strikes me that somewhere along the way, our essential trust in one another has been severed. The nervous system can recognise the ‘other’ as a threat – and very likely for a wise reason that served in a particular situation. That situation may no longer be the living truth but the pattern sticks as a survival mechanism repeating itself through relational experience. How do we learn to trust one another again? Equally, how do we stand in our own presence as worthy of another’s trust? How do I trust myself in a world of so many voices, with such diversity? How do I learn to be responsive to each moment with regards to trust?

‘Some… may notice that to feel comfortable they need to move their body away from the group. [They] may then judge themselves as lacking capacity for intimacy. It is important to point out that acknowledging the level of proximity that is truly comfortable is the beginning of self-organisation and regulation of health. By noticing what is true for us, we can be spatially far but relationally present because a key barrier to relationship has been removed. Often our greatest barrier to health is an image of what should be. We encourage enquiry in to what is true in the absence of judgements and self-image.’
(How life Moves, Caryn McHose & Kevin Frank)

In my very early 20’s I witnessed many self development / ‘body based’ groups that asked me to come closer when I felt safer on the periphery. I have been told I need to be more open, when openness was defined by the amount of physical contact I was willing to endure or how much of my personal story I was willing to divulge. I have also had my boundaries outright violated without permission sought at all. I say this not as victim but as someone who is walking the long road of taking back ownership of my edges, learning to feel them, learning to trust and embody them.

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I seek safer sanctuary and trust my story with those I sense can hold it, with those who can be with me, while staying within themselves; with whom I can stay within myself while being with.

Empathic connection isn’t found in projecting myself in to you – or allowing you to project yourself in to me –  and vulnerability isn’t telling you every secret I hold. I find those qualities in the ability to locate myself within myself when I am with you; to know where I stand with you, while being receptive to your presence and the space between us. Dynamic relational attunement.

And, so importantly, to allow myself to be at the periphery until my body invites me to move a little closer. To get to know my edge, I must first be able to feel it – otherwise, how do I know where I am, let alone where I am in relationship?

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This, I believe, is where trust begins; at our edges. These edges are not fixed places. They can change, but we must get to know and embrace them before we can allow a new sense of edge to emerge. How many times have you overridden your body / needs in order to fit in, or people please, or because you simply don’t even know where you end and another begins?

In somatic practice, we explore these boundaries in a safe environment, within small groups. We works at the pace of nervous system integration. We don’t seek ‘intense’ experience, rather allow integrative ones; ones that allow us to land in our skin and point towards the regeneration of healthy connection with each other.

Sensing in to my cells there is both a longing for connection and closeness and a need for safety, for boundary. Seemingly opposite experiences yet I find connection within both. There’s a community within myself that I think may know a bit more about this. I’m delving in to the wisdom of my cells to enquire more…

Does this strike a chord with you? What arises?
I’m curious.

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Published by Hayley

Hayley Price: PG. Dip. Dance & Somatic Wellbeing. Yoga Therapist Children’s Movement Facilitator Hayley has been facilitating movement in the community for over 15 years. She has worked with children of all ages in schools and developed a movement mentorship programme called ‘Girls Allowed’ for pre-teen girls to support them in transitioning times. Her work is multi-layered and focuses on creative emergence through movement, voice, healthy relating and embodied relaxation. She draws heavily upon the principles of Authentic Movement in her work. Hayley has facilitated movement based support groups for the general community, for women with postnatal depression as well as one-to-one based work with young adults in the Royal Edinburgh Hospital and those in the community with anxiety, depression, eating disorders, bi-polar and other structural and functional issues. While she lived in Scotland, she facilitated a programme to support teachers in schools. This focused on nourishment through embodied relaxation, gentle movement a safe space to share. Her work is creative and inquiry based, tailored to the needs of each group or individual.

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