In the last week and a half I have been caught out by a lot of road works and was sent on many diversions. For me, that represents very accurately what’s happening in my life. I feel that there have been a lot of distractions, some further dismantling, but also a laying down of some foundation for the future; an investment into what is to come.
Even though it feels bumpy and disruptive at the moment and literally some of my usual journey times were doubled, I can also see how this is a re-orientation towards something more solid, stronger and more beautiful. My feeling is that I have been sent around the houses on many different levels and ended up in a lot of cul-de-sacs, had to reverse and try a different route. My sense is that these detours are part of life and instead of fighting them, I’d like to bring curiosity to them and trust that this is exactly where I need to be. And very importantly, I start to get a glimpse of something brighter.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, I have been studying extensively with Dr. Bonnie Badenoch, a psychotherapist, author, mentor and speaker. She leans heavily into Ian McGilchrist’s work of the divided brain, which I have found increasingly fascinating. It is proposed that the left side of the brain attempts to create certainty through categorisation. New information is dismembered and sorted according to familiar classifications. The left side is about plans and goals; it continually asks the question: How will this benefit me? Protocols, interventions and task-orientation is coming out of this side of the brain. There is an “either/or” perspective and a tendency towards judgement. The cortical columns of neurons in the left side of the brain are relatively isolated and there are far fewer interconnections. It could be said that the information becomes somewhat dead.
On the other hand, the right side of the brain orients us to the space between, the “relational space” and how it is unfolding from one moment to the next. Everything is held in context and becomes a unique experience that is unrepeatable. Whereas the left side of the brain is concerned with either/or, the right side of the brain can accept the paradox and a both/and perspective. There is an awareness that there is uncertainty and with that a potential for both suffering and meaning. The cortical columns of neurons in that side of the brain are “richly interconnected”, which makes it a well-wired network.
It is not about vilifying the left side of the brain; it’s about understanding that both hemispheres are important with their relationship to each other being vital. However, it is crucial the right side takes the lead and the left supports. Both McGilchrist and Badenoch postulate that a significant shift in society towards “left dominance” has happened, which essentially prevents us from being fully present and in our bodies. We’re unable to process stress and trauma and derive meaning from life, which can only happen when we inhabit and lead from the right side of the brain.
For the last couple of months I’ve been fascinating on the body skill of “containment”, i.e. the ability to hold onto and regulate energies that are arising from within, including stress and emotions. As much as we need to learn how to say “no” and set clear boundaries, it’s equally important that we learn how to manage our own internal energies, which is very different from squashing them down. Containment enables us to pause and thereby facilitates a position of more choice and therefore freedom. According to the Bodynamic system, a Danish school of body psychotherapy, there are several muscles that hold the potential for greater containment. In this short video I have prepared, I’ll talk you through a simple exercise of activating TFL and the IT Band, which are related to this particular body skill and which are located on the outside of the thigh. I hope you’ll find it useful.
Let me know your experiences of doing this short video.
Yoga, well-being and mindfulness... always walk in beauty.