I’m interested in embodiment, both personally and professionally. My masters research project studies the role embodiment plays in the wellbeing of survivors of intimate partner violence. My life is spent in pursuit of embodiment.
Menzel (2005) describes embodiment as “a state, and, hopefully, a trait in which one experiences one’s body as an essential aspect of the often interrelated experiences of competence, interpersonal relatedness, power, self-expression, vitality, and well-being” (p. 2). She lists the fundamental aspects of embodiment as being “respect for and care of the body, physical freedom, instrumentality and functionality, empowerment, a relative lack of externally oriented self-consciousness about the body, the ability to know and voice bodily experiences and needs, and a deep mind/body connection” (Menzel, 2005, p. 2).
I think of embodiment as a deep knowing of the body–understanding and respecting its abilities and limitations–and a sense of coming “home” to the body. And there are many paths to embodiment. My research suggests that certain forms of exercise (strength-training, yoga, martial arts) increase embodiment. My personal experience suggests that getting out into nature increases embodiment.
I grew up in a temperate rainforest. I never feel as embodied, alive, and connected as when I’m walking through a lush green forest in the pouring rain. I went for just such a walk last night and it was truly magical. I don’t mean magical in some supernatural or woo-heavy way, but in the sense that everything quieted down and things felt right in the world for just that moment. It was invigorating and calming at the same time. Grounding and energizing. My shoulders dropped about two inches, my lungs filled up, and I was filled with awe at the beauty I’ve spent much of my life taking for granted. In a word: magical.
How do you find your magic?