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space), protruding breastbones (pushing
yourself forward in life), tense jaws, braced
knees and weak lower backs indicating
a lack of self nurturing and self support.
Social and parental influences show up
in control issues and the many ways in
which we seek to get recognition, love and
acceptance. We may put our hearts out
for others, stick our necks out to get what
we want, or dig our heels in and refuse to
Hermann spends time with each of us
and sheds light on some of our patterns.
To some extent, we have all been bent
out of shape by our thoughts -- the body
never lies -- and as we come face to face
with ourselves, the truth is somewhat
confronting. Standing against the
plumbline, I am an impressive 80 per cent
out of my body -- and we are not talking
the bliss of a light filled trance. I am,
however, in good company; this is very
much the headfirst, mind-first shape so
prevalent across both the developed and,
increasingly, the developing world. No
wonder it hurts!
At this point, Hermann tells us the
amazing story of Canadian John Morgan.
Born with McCune-Albright Syndrome,
a bone disease that deforms the body,
John's bone structure in his skull and upper
chest grew to such an extent that by the
age of eight it had destroyed his optic
nerves and damaged the muscles around
his eyeballs, rendering him blind.
Interestingly, John did not inherit
his disease genetically, but as Hermann
explains it, John's soul journey and past
life experiences are manifested in physical
form by his top heavy shape: he has an
enlarged brain, small pelvis, narrow legs and
twisted feet. John, now 28, grew up with
such strong determination to overcome
his disability that the focus of mental effort
enhanced the distortion in his body.
Working with Hermann and his
students as a study body two years ago,
John experienced an extraordinary
transformation. At the start of the day,
he was slumped in his wheelchair, his
eyes dull and his breathing shallow. By the
end of the day, breathing deeply into his
chest area and, for the first time, through
his nose, he came to understand and
acknowledge his special purpose in life and
to communicate his experience to others.
"We are blessed and honoured to have
worked with John," says Hermann with
great gratitude and respect. "He is a master
teacher and a living example to all of us
how an inflexible mind can damage the
flexibility of the body."
Rather than fighting a perceived
imperfection, John has learnt to use his
hands to connect with his heart centre
and feel and sense his body, softening the
mental dominance to reintroduce softness
and create more flesh on his bones.
In psychosomatic therapy, the bones
represent our formation and the flesh
on our bodies how we perform in life.
By extension, the mind and the bones
stand for the male aspect and the flesh,
the creative, life giving feminine aspect.
We need a balance between the two to
nurture not only our own bodies, but also
humanity as a whole. Hermann draws a
parallel with top heavy business models
where those in power neglect the needs of
those in supporting roles underneath.
So how does all this relate to a room
full of locked knees, set jaws, chins and
necks jutting forward? As co-creators of
our body shape and life experiences, we
can start to shift our thinking and release
mental and emotional blockages to bring
our body back into alignment and harmony.
Using our awareness, we can soften the
excess of mental energy, learn to support
our bodies and nurture the life within.
The first simple step is to learn deep,
three stage diaphragmatic breathing, one
of the pillars of psychosomatic work.
Breathing into my stomach and ribs
as if inflating a pair of bellows, I find
myself standing taller while softening
and expanding into spaciousness at the
same time. What a good feeling! Another
wonderfully practical and simple tool is
stepping and pumping the legs to build
strength and support in the lower half
of the body. Who needs the gym when
you can lift your own body weight while
waiting for the kettle to boil?
A few weeks later listening to a talk
entitled, "Loving yourself more fully", given
by New Zealand healer Keith Mason, I am
captivated by the concept of surrendering
your head to your heart. Keith encourages
us to get out of our thinking minds and
into the feeling place of the body. "It's
about re-membering", he says, tapping
down his arms to emphasise how we need
to reconnect with our limbs and all the
different parts of us.
A strong and active mind can be a great
asset, but not if it is constantly thinking
habitual thoughts and dashing between
past and future. Keith reminds us that
we don't have to do anything, but rather
just stop stopping the flow. Effort becomes
effortless when we stop the doing, thinking
and the striving.
In a meditation the other day I asked
for guidance, and the message came back
to drop into light and love. I am learning
to give my body a break from my mind.
My grey matter is still busy creating and
conjecturing, but I simply acknowledge it,
bring myself back into the now, breathe
deeply and let my heart soften. It's so
simple and so transformative.
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