Is all your pain typically on one side of the body? What do you make of that? Is it because of that snowboard crash when you were 15, where you landed on your tail bone SO HARD that you saw stars? Did that accident create a scoliosis in your body, which over time concentrated all your pain on one side? Or is it because you’re right-handed, and you use the right side of your body more, so it hurts more? Or is it because you use the left side of your body less, so it hurts more because it’s weaker?
These are all plausible explanations for why your foot, knee, hip, shoulder, ear all hurt on that one side of your body, and there could be a zillion more physical reasons. But guess what – we aren’t just physical beings! We are also emotional, mental, and spiritual beings, which means that how we think, feel (or don’t feel), and live can create pain & sensations in our bodies. And according to many teachers, medical professionals, and research, where we feel pain in our bodies can be a clue as to what is imbalanced.
For example, the right and left sides of the body represent different qualities. The left side of the body represents more “feminine” or “Being” qualities; whereas, the right side is our “masculine” side, which represents more “Doing” qualities. Take a look at this list (which I received in Dr. Betsy Rippentrop’s Yoga for the Mind course).
|Left Side/Feminine/Being||Right Side/Masculine/Doing|
- What qualities would you say are typically more valued in our society? Does our culture encourage us to explore, to be open and receptive to other’s ideas and ways of life? Are we supported when we need to rest and restore ourselves? Or are we typically encouraged to be productive, to be the best we can be, to trust logic and science over mystery and intuition?
- Do you identify more with one side or the other? How might your body be trying to get your attention by presenting you with pain on one side of your body?
All of us, no matter our gender, need a balance of all of these traits to be a whole being. As I reflect on this list, I realize that while I have made progress in integrating more of my feminine side, I still am imbalanced. For decades, my life has revolved around getting shit done, driving forward, and accomplishing things. This focus started at an early age; growing up, I prided myself on not being a “girly-girl.” I rarely cried. I didn’t wear pink. I was motivated to excel. I was practical, sensible, reliable – the planner and organizer.
I’ve started to get to know my body better, to tune in to my inner landscape over the past few years, I repeatedly notice that my left side feels very dim and muted – almost as if it’s shy. And I am beginning to understand why. I have split off from my feminine nature. And I am not the only one!
“In spite of the successes achieved by the women’s movement, the prevailing myth in our culture is that certain people, positions, and events have more inherent value than others. These … are usually masculine or male-defined. Male norms have become the social standard for leadership, personal autonomy, and success in this culture, and in comparison, women find themselves perceived as lacking in competence, intelligence, and power.” Maureen Murdock, A Heroine’s Journey.
The author states that our quest at this point in our culture, is to fully embrace our feminine nature – that’s what we need to feel integrated, balanced, and whole. In working with my clients, both men and women, I’ve realized that is what we all want – to have balanced lives, to be connected to all the parts of ourselves and to others, to understand ourselves, and to have the freedom to live in alignment with our true natures.
How do we do this? How do we identify where we are lacking balance and start to rectify it?
There are so many tools that can help! Journaling, meditation, working with a therapist or coach, taking to a trusted friend, getting bodywork. All of these things help us slow down and show up for ourselves.
How am I going about repairing this rift with my feminine nature? Well, Wednesday afternoon between sessions, instead of studying or cleaning (aka DOING), I laid on the floor with my feet up on the couch and looked out the window at the trees and the sky (aka BEING). I’ve also been doing a lot of journaling. I’ve been prioritizing meditation over getting shit done. I bought some new makeup and am trying to be more thoughtful about my appearance – taking pride in taking care of myself and looking pretty. I’m inspired by one of clients and am considering taking a belly dance class. What ideas do you have for healing the split between you and your Being nature?
If you are curious about your Self and would like to feel more integrated, self-aware, and appreciative of the yourself, I would love to partner with you. CranioSacral therapy and coaching are both excellent resources for this journey back to wholeness. You can book a bodywork session or a free 15-minute consultation here.
The Sunday Letters
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