Stay Close to Your Body

“Bodies Are Cool” is a body-affirming book for preschoolers. Check it out here.

“Stay close to your body.” These words, shared by my ballet-dancing, Episcopal priest friend on her Instagram feed following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade, have been repeating in my head like a mantra.

“Stay close to your body.” I need these words right now like I need water and air and food. Because I, like many of you, want to run far from my body these days. My body, which has “kept the score” of past traumas (both other- and self-inflicted), has been coursing with fear, anger, and despair since Roe was overturned. And although I am recovered from my eating disorder, there is still a well-worn cognitive pathway in my head that says, “This is too much feeling. Too much physical sensation. It’s time to numb out.” The numbing used to take the form of bingeing, but it has taken other forms, too: nail-biting, wound-picking, drinking, exercising, and restricting.

“Stay close to your body.” It won’t surprise most of you to know that there is a strong correlation between eating disorders and sexual trauma. So, I’m assuming that many who have experienced sexual or body trauma of any kind are struggling with this Court decision that ultimately takes away women’s ability to make informed decisions about their bodies. A decision like this one, along with all the vitriol and violence being thrown about on social media and the news, can certainly lead to a strong desire to flee, escape, numb out, and dissociate from our bodies.

Maybe these mantras will help:

“Stay close to your body”

“I can stay close to my body.”

“I will affirm my body’s goodness.”

“I will tend kindly to my body’s needs.”

“I will seek the support of others who can help me stay embodied.”

In addition to these mantras, you might also want to try any of the following embodied practices:

Mindful body scan

Progressive muscle relaxation

Vagus nerve breathing exercise

Butterfly tapping

Qi Gong for grounding and centering

Ballet for Beginners from Faith on Pointe

Or try any form of dancing, breathing, mindful walking or mindful movement, gentle self-massage, or mindful eating/hydrating.

Peace and all good as you try to “Stay close to your body.”


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