December 12 – Body integration

This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present?

I’m not sure I can relate very well to this prompt. Maybe I’m missing the point, maybe I’m odd, maybe I’m incredibly lucky, but: my body and mind seem to be mostly well integrated, to the point that I only need to think about it as an “issue” on the few occasions where the system breaks down. Yes, I can pinpoint several challenging situations this year where the one part of me went into panic mode or on strike and refused to support the other. On a rock face, able to work out exactly what manoeuvres I needed to make to get to the top, yet physically paralysed with exhaustion. Or huddled at the side of a road in France, this time paralysed by the fear of cycling a stretch that was far, far more challenging to my overactive mind than it was in terms of physical difficulty or danger, as it later turned out once I finally conquered my fear.

However…

I look at these minor niggles and find my mind wandering to other people’s lives this year. How many people do I know who have faced major or chronic problems because their body just doesn’t do what their alert mind wants it to, or whose mental health is not nearly as robust as their physical frame would have us believe, or who have had to deal with addiction problems that cause a major fissure, a titanic struggle between body and psyche? I could write quite a list. Several of them, though, have been helped in some way this year, either by medical intervention or by the forces of nature and/or willpower.

This is all quite humbling, and maybe I can relate to the prompt better than I thought after all. Either way, I come to the end of 2010 feeling hugely grateful for both my own body/mind stability and for all those I know who have been able to reclaim theirs to some degree this year. I will continue to hope that others on my list will be able to have their own share in this feeling of success and stability in 2011.

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