The Third Third

Postcards from The Third Third: 2 of 4

My second postcard from the third third says. “MY BODY IS TAKING A BEATING FROM ALL THIS HIKING!” The second message from the third third is to put down your reliance on words, step into the silence, and listen to your body. I frequently tell my clients, “The body never lies.” It is keenly adept at sending us just the date we need when we need it. And in the third third, the body calls u to live a different rhythm, a rhythm of our own choosing, not the thythm that the external world imposes upon us. David Whyte, the poet, says it this way: “The road home in some ways is the road back into the body, a time to get to know ourselves again on an interior, almost cellular level. By now, of course, the body into which we journey is middle-aged. It does not respond so well as it used to to the physical demands of the outer world, but its goals can be more humble now, more appropriate to what our hearts know is good and soul-nourishing for us. It has learned how to rest fully into our intuitions and our basic instinctual knowledge of what is right, possible, and useful.” When I first heard these words, I knew them to be true. I live in the world of words, but words were getting in the way of my soul’s inner truth. When I first opened my private practice over 20 years ago, I said, “As long as I am doing therapy, I will be in therapy myself.” So over the years I have made sure that I had a therapist, or a spiritual director, or a supervision group, or a circle of trust of some sort that would help keep me honest, with myself and with others. This has been my way of assuring that I was showing up with clients to focue on their personal work, and not my own. But at some point I realized that the next piece of spiritual growth would not be found in words; I would find it in my body. Each week I attend a yoga session for therapists like myself, and every other week, I work with a massage therapist. I practice sitting meditation. I walk the labyrinth in our office. And I walk the neighborhood in which I live. When I am working, I frequently call my focus to my breath and do a “body scan” to see what is happening in my cellular awareness. I can’t say that words completely leave my consciousness during these times, but they do recede far enough into the background so that I can listen to the wisdom my body has been holding for me. Part of what led me to this time of less work and more reflection was a problem I was having with my right shoulder. As I listened to what the pain and tension were telling me, I realized that I was choosing to carry a greater load of responsibility and obligation than felt comfortable. The work had ceased to be fun and I was on the hairy edge of becoming burned out. It was time to step back and find a new posture in the world. The question for you might be: How do I listen to my body? What is it telling me at this time in my journey? How do I need to adjust my stance or my posture or my movement so as to live more fully into the sacredness within?
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