You are here – Living in Our Bodies

Living in our bodies

Laura Hawley


You are here.  You are here, we read on a map posted along a city street or on a college campus.   I always find that reassuring.  We look at these maps to find our way when we are lost, and  there it is, that little red symbol.  There, I am, on the map, oriented in space. There are many other ways to get disoriented or lost.

Ask yourself where you are in your body.   Where do you feel that you live in there?  Many people point to their foreheads when asked this question.  They identify themselves with the brain and locate the mind and spirit inside the skull.  The body then becomes a vehicle to move the brain around.  For some people, this feels comfortable, but for many, it can like one is trapped inside a cage, cut off from our vitality.  I have to get out of my head, we may say.

Like many experiences, this feeling of being too much in one’s head and not enough in one’s body falls along a continuum, from a vague uneasiness to intense anxiety.  It can be a response to work that requires a lot of mental focus, to a culture that is critical of less than perfect bodies, or to trauma that makes having a distance from the body seem like a good idea.  It is easy to retreat from the body. We do it when we stare at our smartphones on the bus, or use a high tech bracelet to tell us how much exercise we are getting.

Sometimes this feeling of being outside the body is the primary issue that a patient brings  for treatment to Open City, and sometimes it is a peripheral issue, not a concern at all. Sometimes the return to wellbeing provided by the treatment as well as the healing relationship with the practitioner is remarkable and immediate.  “I feel like myself again.”, says the patient.  Sometimes it happens more slowly, over a span of treatments and conversations.  But always, the return to wellbeing comes through a sense of a renewed relationship with the body. After all, you are here.