I love to learn, to think, to theorize, to dissect, to plan, to strategize… alladat. But I can be so lost in my head that I’m not present in my body! Maybe a more accurate way to say it is that I use my mind to ESCAPE my body.
I don’t always like to be fully present and in my body.
Sometimes my body feels uncomfortable. Sometimes it hurts.
To be really real, there are parts of my body and bodily processes that I don’t particularly enjoy and would rather not be aware of at times.
The body will for sure let you know when it isn’t getting what it needs. And the physical body is a GREAT mirror as to what is happening energetically. And sometimes, I just don't want to deal with it.
So, I’ll escape. Through daydreaming, ruminating, reading, writing, watching something, whatever.
My least favorite area of my body to be aware of are my feet.
I was burned when I was child, leaving me with third degree burns on my feet. My conscious mind doesn’t remember anything about being burned or my recovery, but I can assure you that my body remembers. My feet aren't the best feeling place for me, which I'm sure is due to the trauma I experienced. Also, the scarring causes various issues. Not to mention the shame of my scars that I carried for most of my life, something I still struggle with. So, needless to say, I have a complex relationship with my feet and I don't always like to be present in this part of my body.
I recently had a breakdown...let's say a breakthrough where I decided that I no longer want to be disconnected from my body. I set an intention to do daily work to be present in my body and to give it the love and nurturing it deserves.
Here are a few of my daily practices.
I start my day with a body scan before getting out of bed. I also do brief body scans throughout the day to check in. The body scan is a mindfulness practice to get you present and in touch with your body. You can make it as simple or in depth as you need.
Here is a link to a guided body scan. Once you know how to do it, you can scan whenever you feel called to.
How often do you thank your body for the brilliant vessel of the Divine that it is?! Probably not enough. When I am washing my body and adorning it with moisturizers, nail polishes, make up, essential oils, jewelry and whatever else, I use it as an opportunity to show appreciation and to shower my body with love. The act of taking care of your body and adorning it is in itself an act of love, but it’s even more delicious and powerful when you mentally or verbally speak lovingly to your body.
“Thank you eyelashes for keeping my eyes clear of anything that might damage them”
“Legs, you are so fine and strong! Thank you for getting me to where I needed to go today with ease.”
Get into it! Have fun with! You’ll be amazed by how this act can boost your confidence and even heal your body.
My all-time favorite mindfulness movement practices are yoga and Qi Gong.
These practices allow me to slow down and be fully present in my body. I pay attention to my breathing and how the different parts of my body feel as I do each movement. I like to start my day with one of these practices if I can. I am also known to stop, drop, and do yoga whenever, wherever.
I do this practice throughout the day. Especially when I feel tired or notice that my feet are cold!
Close your eyes and take a deep, full breathe, inhale and exhale. Bring your attention to your feet. Visualize a warm, red light surrounding your feet. Continue to breathe as you feel the warmth of this light. Now, visualize roots extending from the soles of your feet down in the ground beneath you. The roots extend as far down as they need to go to reach the soil beneath you. Continue breathing as you allow yourself to feel connected to the earth, knowing that you are safe, supported, and nourished by this force, always. Now, bring your attention back to your feet. Inhale and bring that red colored energy up through your feet and continue up through the back of your body. Once you reach the top of your head, exhale and send that energy down through the front of your body until you reach your feet again. Do this cycle as many times as you want.
I like to use the color red because red is associated with the root chakra. The root chakra, located at the base of the spine, the pelvic floor, and the first three vertebrae, is responsible for your sense of safety and security. It is said that the root chakra contains ancestral memories and all memories that threaten our basic survival. Working to heal and balance the root chakra is great for those, like myself, who have had traumatic life experiences and struggle to feel safe in the world and/or in their bodies.
While working with the color red is very helpful for me, there may be another color that you resonate more with. Go with what works for YOU!
For those of you who want to have a better relationship with your body, may you receive inspiration and encouragement to begin your own mindfulness/self love practice.
Jamila Kani is a witch of many trades. Through her collective, Black Femme Witches Brew, she co-creates spaces for black femmes to reclaim their magic and step into their power as Creators. In addition to her work with Witches Brew, Jamila is an Oracle, Ritual Practitioner, and Life and Spiritual Coach.