Hello, body!

As the dragonfly says ta-ra to his chapter as a nymph, so I have found a new, more consistent, appreciation for my body. It has nothing to do with weight or size, but rather a simple acknowledgment of the house I live in.

— Insert self-love anthem here 😉 —

Amidst some ups and downs, from sloth to super-being, I have, as I imagine many others have, taken up some new activities in recent weeks to relish the time as best I can.

As I said, there has been some curvature on my progression chart, and my rather on/off relationship with yoga has been starkly highlighted during this time at home with no excuse for a lack of routine, and yet, irregular bouts of yoga. I LOVE the idea of being as flexible as possible, and being in tune with my body’s needs and wants. The reality is that I only seem to remember to ‘tune in’ once I feel discomfort. Another factor is my struggle to prioritise health when I have any extended time between gigs and contracts. With the next possible gig being 4 months away, I guess that’s now…

Body awareness comes with the territory of performing, and I count myself very lucky to have worked with some phenomenal movement practitioners and directors on my portrayal of boys, girls, men and women on stage. I consider myself relatively well-equipped and self-aware and love to question whether how I am walking/sitting/glancing is innate to me as Camilla and if so, do I think that’s right for the character? This element of choice is so, so interesting to me, and the more we learn about our ‘normal’ habits of walking and talking etc the more choices we have.

Have I maintained a level of awareness offstage, out of rehearsals, reading a book, or knitting, out of sight? Nope.

BUT I had a breakthrough last week, and I think it’s a game-changer: 15 minutes into a YouTube rabbit-hole of related videos (that very rarely bare resemblance in subject matter), I came across a Q&A with Thich Nhat Hanh.

He said something that quite literally induced a transformation. Instantly I was aware of my body in a way that felt utterly healthy and absurdly new.
‘Breathe in and go home to your body’
He suggested. Ask yourself ‘Do I have a body?’ Yes? Say hello to it.

That was it.

‘Breathe in and go home to your body’
Ask yourself ‘Do I have a body?’ Yes? Say hello to it.

This small act of reminding myself that I have a body has stayed with me, and I have tried very hard to repeat this ‘going home’ and acknowledgment throughout my days. I so often sit rigidly while reading or knitting or will remain in a position that’s not uncomfortable but also not comfortable. In the last 6 days, I have recognised it sooner and I have had markedly less aches and pains since.

What I love about this (for me) new-found technique, is that I now notice my body as much when I am inactive, as when I am actively using it. Do I still slouch on the sofa? Yes. Have I still gotten myself into uncomfortable positions? Yes. But, and this is the transformative element for me, if I have chosen to remain in them, due to laziness, I have done so knowingly and those times have been rare. It has mostly gone against the grain to be in any position that’s not good for my body when I am so acutely aware of it.

Self care. Simple. Sorted…or at least started!

Highly recommended, but beware the rabbit hole!