My body, my beautiful beautiful body. All too easily held prisoner by my old story of body image.
Despite feeling at ease and accepting myself way more than I did say 5 years ago, those old stories still emerge, whispering in the background and putting barriers up to participating in life fully.
It brings me such pleasure watching Contact Improvisation, it is so gorgeous, such fluidity in movement, graceful and light. I remember trying a workshop a few years ago at Small World Festival, not really knowing what it was. I really struggled to take part as I was terrified of putting all of my body weight on someone and worrying what their response would be. I was holding huge shame around the meaning of my body, my weight and what other people might think. I couldn’t let go and enjoy the class. I never allowed myself to try Contact after that, it was something other people did. What I really mean by that is that I perceived it as something people ‘my size’ didn’t do, I can’t join that club. That familiar story of when I stopped swimming (despite loving it) when I was about 11 years old as I became aware of my developing body and felt ashamed to be seen in a swimming costume. I’m not allowed to be in that club.
Fast forward to summer this year where I went to Into the Wild Festival. I knew my old story was fully present when it came to Contact Improvisation so I challenged myself to give it a go. I was scared, especially as I was wearing a bikini top and skirt. I was worried my body would be ‘too much’ and people might not want to work with me. I had a wonderful pep talk from Alla, a gorgeous being I met through the Facebook Group I started and we met in person at the festival. Alla teaches Kundalini Yoga and reminded me of my beautiful and unique body.
I loved it. I more than loved it and went to a second workshop the next day. My festival highlight was being on the floor with grass in my hair, melting across different bodies and then being lifted up by a man. I pointed my toes, spread my arms out wide and glided through the air with a huge beaming smile on my face. We landed on the floor, the man took my hand, firmly lead me to my feet and flowed into another interaction with more lifts and the occasional squeal of excitement mixed in with some ‘oh shit I’m in the air’ fear.
I’m actually doing it, I’m one of those other people that do contact improvisation. My body shape feels like a non issue in this space, the complete opposite to what I imagined as an outsider looking in. In fact there were beautiful bodies of all of shapes and sizes there. I felt that I fit in, there was space for me here, I AM ALLOWED TO BE HERE. My 11 year old self is doing gleeful cartwheels across the field in her swimsuit – thanking me for giving us permission. I think a significant shift in why I was able to be in my story and move through it is because I am much more comfortable with physical contact and intimacy these days thanks to the wonderful work I have been doing around tantra. Being with myself in contact with another, noticing what arises and accepting what is. The other reason is that the facilitators (David Basak and Laura Doehler) held the space really well, they were super inclusive and whenever I felt shy or a bit overwhelmed there was always reassurance and an invitation to re-join the dance.
I was so incredibly happy that I worked through this and look forward to taking part in future classes. No doubt my story will pop up again and I’ll be with it and work through it. What limiting beliefs are you holding that are stopping you from trying new things? How can you gently challenge yourself to break out and create a new story for yourself?
Why not come along to the new 5Rhythms Class in Surrey that I have organised, lead by the wonderful Neda Nenadic. 5Rhythms is a great way of being in your body and working through whatever is going on for you at the time. I hugely recommend it. Huge love to you all ♥