Black people have a lot of trauma to process and healing to engage in as a result of the centuries of abuse and harm we’ve experienced at the hands of colonizers. To arrive at a place of true healing we need to remember and utilize every tool and technique known to Black folks. One example is remembering that the body as a vital component in the healing process because the body holds a depth of memories that the mind has long forgotten.
Engaging the body in feeling allows you to gain a deeper knowledge of your emotions, thoughts, and patterns. It expands the tools and techniques you can use to manage difficult emotions and amplify pleasant emotions. It unlocks a whole other level of understanding and healing. This is especially pertinent for Black folks because this has always been a way our ancestors processed situations and expressed emotions.
…this has always been a way our ancestors processed situations and expressed emotions.
Although powerful, it can be hard to strengthen the mind, body, and spirit connection that is needed to feel with your whole body. Especially, if engaging with your emotions in this way is new to you. So, here are two suggestions that can help you start the practice of feeling with your whole body:
Use a journal prompt.
Identify a feeling and write about it. As you’re writing, notice where you feel it in your body or what changes happen i.e. tightness in the chest, breathing change, and heaviness all over. Find ways to change or deepen those physical sensations, which can influence your feelings/thoughts.
Choose a song that reflects how you feel, how you want to feel or a feeling you want to investigate. As you’re listening, notice where you feel it in your body or what changes. Move the parts that you’re noticing to change or deepen those physical sensations. Turn those movements into a repeatable sequence or mantra to use later when you need to feel deeply again.
...creativity is expression from the soul.
If you want support in your body healing process, I encourage you to seek holistic Black mental health practitioners, such as a dance/movement psychotherapist, somatic-based or mindfulness-based therapist, and/or other African body-based healing practitioners.
Lastly, using the body helps us tap into our creativity which is vital to our well being because creativity is an expression from the soul. While writing this piece I was not only inspired to move but also moved to create. Enjoy.
Feet firmly planted like the root
connected, feeling, feeding the earth,
energy moving up and moving thru.
expanding and refreshed, releasing and loosed.
Lungs, belly, heart, hips, breast, gut,
the core, the center, the 2nd brain
feeling inside and expressing out,
circulations of sensations across our channels and streams
pacing, setting tone, and guiding the flow,
Arms stretching, fingers tingling
like leaves and branches catching the breeze
recognition that something is moving outside and within.
The head, the eyes, the mouth and ears taking it all in,
absorbing, filtering, recycling again
this is where our thoughts and patterns live,
often separated from the rest,
a part, but apart
like the nest in the tree
Part of the system, of our eco, but forgotten
the dwelling of the species that germinate the earth
like the thoughts the sow good deeds
like the actions that plant growth seeds.
We are one,
Inside and out.
We are one,
Spirit and earth.
Feel as one,
Sensation and idea.
Feel as one,
Body and mind.