Embodiment and the Pearl
The body doesn’t lie. “You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.” Mary Oliver. The instinctual part of us moves towards pleasure and avoids pain, its inherent animal nature. This natural tendency is confused by the mind’s normal processes of calculating, controlling, comparing and strategizing. The body’s innate wisdom has been demoted in this culture. Integrating the body’s knowing with the mind’s reasoning is a powerful marriage.
When desire and passion align with action and awareness, the distinct individual is formed, the “pearl beyond price”. Three conditions interrelate in creating the pearl: a hard outer shell, the soft, inner tissue and the trapped sand. The body holds the key to the mysterious process of becoming a unique human being.
Becoming the Pearl
The first stage of pearl making is focusing on the shell. Just like the shell of an oyster we need a strong container to hold the difficult and sometimes painful process of becoming a true human being. Strengthening the shell’s resiliency allows us to contain the soft tissue of our feelings and increases the capacity to tolerate vulnerability. The body and our movements reveal the places that we are holding on too tightly and even those where we are too loose. Playing with the sensations in the body and the breath allow us to expand our movement repertoire and recreate a protective, but permeable container.
As the body expands and contracts to become more resilient, this provides greater safety for uncovering what is inside. Through the process of Authentic Movement the mover (with eyes closed) and witness learn to listen, attend, and come into relationship with the internal world of feelings, sensations, and images. Passion, aliveness, joy and expansion are discovered within the guise of desire or what attracts. Each desire contains at least a kernel of truth.
The third part of pearl making is the necessary ingredient of sand, the irritation that life and relationships inevitably bring. Alongside the soft desire for pleasure is the hard sand that frustrates brings us into relationship with what we want. As the body becomes more flexible, and the inner world has a home, even the pain of irritation can be held and eventually absorbed into a new self.
The Embodiment of the Pearl
Being embodied naturally allows all aspects of self to be experienced, creating the conditions for pearl making. What is loved points the way! Sand is life’s clarifying intelligence and body confidence moves us towards the goal.
Suzanna Yahya Nadler, MEd in Dance/Movement Therapy, Body Poet and Licensed Professional Counselor.