body as safe space

Each day I struggle with the aftermath of my surgery. Each morning that I meditate, focusing on my breath, I experience the same pattern—breath held, life held back. I breathe only so far. I breathe shallowly. Each day, I must let my body know that it can receive the breath fully, from finish to start, not censoring the last part and ending too soon so that the satisfaction one gets from allowing one’s whole breath cycle to be breathed goes unexperienced. I have studied Middendorf Breath Work for years, and this practice allows me to make peace with my body. 

In my earliest days, I learned that my body was my enemy–it could kill me if I wasn’t careful. My body learned to speak the surgeon’s words, taught to me by my mother —If she cries, she dies. You must keep her from crying.  I am tethered to these words—a puppet, playing out an age-old drama, still performing on that stage. My body is an actor, if you will, and I must coax myself away from playing this part, a part I played in the past in order to survive. Be still was my mantra. Be quiet. The stakes were high, and I was a quick study.

This role suffocates me now and has for many years. The place that I write from is a body still in recovery. The symptoms are gone, the problem is fixed, thanks to all who rallied to help me, but on a deep level, I am still in need of repair. This is where writing comes together with breath. I write to heal me, to put into words what has happened, and to make sense of it. I write to give expression to emotions that are scary, many of which were learned when I was a tiny. I write to create a place—body place, body being—where I can be free. I write to make peace with my body. And I write to let others know that it is possible for them to heal, too.



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