The weeks leading up to my surgery have coincided with a class I'm taking called Body Consciousness, Body Wisdom. It is an appropriate class, to say the least. I had a lot of resistance coming into the class at the beginning of the quarter, though. I avoided taking it last year because it did not sound like something I wanted to experience. Getting in touch with my body? No thanks.
As it happens, this class was just what I needed in many ways. The irony of the situation does not escape me -- I needed to be in a class about body consciousness during one of the most difficult body experiences of my life so I could gain tools for dealing with the situation.
One wonderful tool I have learned is listening to body parts. This happens in a few ways and they can work together. First, you can work with how the part feels in relation to the other parts of your body. During this exercise, I chose to listen to my left ovary and the cyst around it. I laid on my back and felt into the space the ovary and cyst occupy. I moved this way and that, sensing how the ovary and cyst felt differently when I moved. I discovered the ovary and cyst became aggravated when I laid on my left side. To me, this meant that they did not want to be covered up, they did not want to be under pressure, and they did not want to be pushed down. As soon as I rolled onto my back, they felt much better.
Of course, the messages the ovary and cyst sent were not trivial. I know now that my ovaries are precious. They are part of the physical and energetic center of my creativity and sexuality. Listening to them will mean a great shift in my life. Pushing them down, covering them up, and putting them under pressure to perform can no longer work.
Another exercise I found rewarding in the Body Consciousness class was creating a movement in response to listening to a body part. In this exercise I chose my throat, which represents my ability to speak my truth. First, we created a physical movement that represented how the part feels in present time. Then, we asked the part what it wanted to say, or how we could bring about change. For me, the movement included both strength and fluidity. The message? I can be strong in speaking my truth, but also gentle. Practicing this will be a challenge, but now I have a movement I can physically reproduce to remind myself that this is how my voice wants to express itself.
I recommend doing either of these exercises whenever you are curious about the messages your body is sending you. Find a quiet place, relax, center yourself, and then ask a body part to speak. If you are doing the first exercise, move in different ways to see how the body part feels in different positions. You may find one position is more comfortable than another. Get curious about this and ask the body part what it is telling you. Or, don't do any movements at all. Just listen to what the body part has to say. Either way can be powerful.
Of course, there is one caveat: these exercises can go deep quickly. Sometimes it is necessary to speak with a professional about what comes up, because the things our bodies want to tell us are sometimes shocking and difficult to hear. But this dialogue is always rewarding in the end.