The Seasons of the Body: A Practice for Tuning Into Your Body's Creative Cycles
As part of Earth's ecosystem, the body is exquisitely attuned to its place on the planet: the climate, season, water, plants and foods of the given geography that the body inhabits. Each time the body travels to a new place, a process of adaptation and syncing-up ensues. Day after day, the body not only adapts; it also becomes the place, altered by the spaciousness, sun, temperature, rock, wind, and soil of the sensuous terrain that holds it.
When seasons change, the body responds: a harmonizing happens between the body and its earth, and this harmony has granted our survival over millennia. I think of these as the earthly cycles of the body, and these are powerful to respect and live by. But there is another kind of seasons that I invite you to contemplate today, the inner season of the body, the internal dynamics between falling and rising energy, creativity, and rest , unique to each individual organism and clearly operating beyond the demands of clock time. I call these the creative seasons of the body- the way the body knows in a felt way what it’s time for in our lives: seeding and waiting, incubating and gestating, growing, moving, and making, birthing and producing, or simply sitting still and blind in the dark womb of the unknown– resting, recharging, listening, confronting our fears.
Sometimes the creative seasons coincide with the earthly season in our place of body. But often, they are more nuanced, vary in duration, and can last a very long or a very brief time.
Why is it important to listen in for those inner seasons? Because in learning to move to our individual body’s rhythm, in not overriding the intelligence of our felt inner state and honoring it instead, in running on earth time instead of clock time, we discover the genius of balanced creativity, the gentle dance between being and doing, the happiness that emerges from that harmony. All we do in the world becomes art-making and soul-crafting when we commit to this rhythm.
Given of course that there are seasons within seasons, and cycles within cycles, I offer you today a brief practice to let your body tell you about what creative season it’s in, and what it’s time for- rest, seed, wait, make, or pounce. It's a practice that can serve all genders, and has been a great guiding tool for me.
TUNING INTO THE CREATIVE SEASONS OF THE BODY PRACTICE
: For a few long moments, sit quiet and simply feel and sense your body: scan the body with your felt attention and notice its overall “signal”: is the energy felt in the body– strong or subtle, Intense and heated or subdued and gentle? Instead of looking for answers right away or letting the mind give instant words to what you’re noticing, wait, be quiet, and feel. Let the body speak its language.
: Take a sense-based journey into the creative center of your body.
––– Firstly, explore the ‘birth center’.
If you have a womb, bring a few breaths and your felt attention there. If you don’t have a womb, contact your energetic womb or the hara- the body’s creative center regardless of sex or gender, the blueprint of a womb in the body, regardless of anatomy. “Sit” in the middle of your womb/hara with felt awareness, and sense the signal there: intensity, temperature, sensations of aliveness or numbness or blockage, absence, movement, sharpness, feelings, direct knowing. As you sense and feel, the inner eye may also show colors, images. Do not rush to make meaning and be done. Just sense for a good while, without purpose.
After a few minutes, see if you can notice if the energy of the womb is coiling in/moving inward/ feeling contained, or is it looking to expand outward, project itself beyond the body into the external environment, is it ‘buzzing’ to get out and make happen ? Feel what the energy of your birth center is saying about the creative season it is in. Take into account all sensations and images that have surfaced, with a relaxed and quiet mind.
–––Now, explore the left pelvis. Bring a breath into the center of your left pelvis- the area to the left of and under the belly button, all the way down to the pelvic floor. This would include, relatively, the left side of your womb/hara, the left side of your underbelly and left ovary if you have ovaries. Breathe into your left ovary (or the energetic ovary, if u don't have a physical one) and feel the parameter of its signal and energy. Edgy, sharp, hot, active, intense, vibrant? Subdued, slow-paced, weak, gentle? Absent? Notice the sensations and qualities of the entire left pelvis. The left pelvis, governed by the right brain, is the physical and symbolic seat of the feminine principle/intelligence in our own creative system. It is the receptive, intuitive, gestating quality of our creativity, the ripe soil that can yield harvest when the time comes. If this is the more active side of your pelvis, you might be finding yourself in the internal autumn and winter of your creativity and productivity: Time to harvest from previous seasons, cultivate new soil while resting a lot, care for yourself and body, take baths, walk in nature, limit vigorous movement and overdoing, and sit in the vast potential of what is possible, receiving input from your own depths and the universe around you for that which is ready to come next. Vision, paint, take sacred baths, talk to birds and plants on your walk, imagine, dream. And rest, rest. Be still.
––Next, learn from the right pelvis. Bring a breath into the center of your right pelvis, the area to the right left of and under the belly button, all the way down to the pelvic floor. This would include the right side of your womb/hara, the left side of your belly and right ovary, if you have ovaries. Breathe into your right ovary (or the energetic ovary, if u don’t have a physical one) and feel the parameter of its signal and energy emanating from it . Edgy, sharp, hot, active, intense, vibrant? Subdued, slow-paced, weak, gentle? Notice the sensations and qualities of the entire right pelvis.
The right pelvis, governed by the left brain is the physical and symbolic seat of the masculine principle/intelligence in our inner creative system. It is the go-doer, the make-happener, the one that brings our voice in the world, the one planning and taking tangible steps to manifest what until now has been an idea. If this is the more active side of your pelvis, you might be finding yourself in the internal spring or summer of your creativity: Time to feel your zest for living and channel it forth. To move the body actively, exercise, connect with new people and communities, climb peaks, seek expansion, and begin taking the steps it will take to create what you dreamt of in the last two seasons.
Consider that sometimes the internal season will move from one the the next within a week, even a day. Sometimes your primary inner body season will take a year while cycling through the other season only quickly. You know best which activities or the lack thereof are most adequate for who you are. Make a list: what do you think is nurturing/needed for you in each of your inner seasons? The more you practice respecting the seasons of the body, the more balanced in pace and duration they will become.
: Make a drawing based on your inner season body meditation. You don't have to be an artist, or to make a coherent or pretty piece of art. Just grab a piece of paper and some pastels/colored pencils, and feel what colors you are drawn to and what shapes come out naturally when you ‘translate’ on paper that which you felt in your sensory exploration. Let the drawing happen on its own. Let it surprise you. Obey your intuition to go for unexpected colors, shapes, or images. When done, contemplate. What do you see, feel, imagine? Write a brief poem based on the drawing. Give it a title.
Now to the final yet most important point…
: Choose to honor the inner seasons. If you have let yourself slow down enough and listen in for the true season of your body, that is a great first step! The true mission however starts here: Confronting conditioning– the tyranny of clock time and the societal to-do-and-be-lists that manage our sense of self more often that we acknowledge. Braving a face-off with your inner dictator who gets uncomfortable when things are not going according to plan or deadline, the one who has a solid timeline for what feels adequate, the one who might equate having a good day with being productive or getting stuff done. This will be the hardest task: To practice trust in what is internally known and become a warrior in protecting this inner knowing. Face your dragons. Ask yourself: What would happen if I trust and obey my body compass at all cost?
Practice going by your internal clock and season, dear friend, and a new world might very well be emerging here.