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A Lesson in Embodiment


This weekend, I learned so much about myself. While some lessons were learned the hard way, it was a truly amazing weekend. One lesson in particular was so funny and so meaningful that I need to share it with you.


This weekend my husband, our two friends, and I, went snowboarding. We booked ourselves a cute Airbnb amongst the trees and although temperatures were below freezing for most of the trip, we were able to experience some beautiful snow the day we were leaving. I had been so excited about this trip for weeks! My birthday is in just a few days and this is how I wanted to celebrate.


Snowboarding has to be one of my favorite winter activities. It gets my adrenaline pumping, gets me out to the mountains, and quite honestly, I feel so freaking cool while doing it. Most importantly though, it's an activity I get to do with people I love and care about so much.


My husband and I have been together for about 8.5 years now, and in the first year of us dating he taught me how to snowboard. Because of this, you can imagine how important snowboarding is to me. Sure, I broke my right wrist that first year, but you bet your ass that the next year we had the opportunity to go, I went. Snowboarding was (and is) challenging- yet it's something I find fun to learn and it helps me to consistently overcome my fears.


In the last two or three years, I've been killing it on the mountain. Making S turns like a boss, feeling cool as a cucumber, and loving the speed and views as I make my way down the mountain. However, let me tell you- that was NOT the case this weekend.


Picture this: You are at the base of a mountain looking at all the snowboarders and skiers coming down the trails gracefully. Then, over to your left on the steepest trail you can see, you spot a giant cloud of snow and the faint outline of someone sliding down the mountain on their back, arms up, and spinning in circles.


That, my friends, was me.


Before this moment I audibly said out loud "No black diamonds for me today". And what happened? I wasn't paying attention and I found myself sliding on my back down a DOUBLE BLACK.


The universe was like “Oh yeah, Stephanie?” and then there I was, sliding down the hardest trail on the mountain creating clouds of snow around me.


I had been slightly frustrated with falling prior to this, but at this moment- all I could do was laugh. I was laughing so hard at myself tears were streaming down my face. At this point all the frustration melted away and I found the situation to be absoutey hilarious. I was thinking, “This sure is one way to make it down the mountain!”


As previously mentioned, it was below zero on the mountain that day so the trails were ICY. This had me freaking out the entire time I was boarding- right up until this incident. And then it hit me- the entire time I was boarding I was so focused on the ice and other people that I didn’t pay attention to where I was going. I couldn't get in a groove because I was living in my head, worried about things that traditionally I was able to navigate.


I was not embodied.


I'm sure you've heard the word embodiment before- but I'll give you my own take on it.


In thinking about this term, I think about two things:

  1. Being embodied

  2. Embodying an idea or feeling


Being embodied means to be present in the physical body, which is also sometimes referred to as conscious embodiment. Often in our day to day lives, it is very easy to live in our heads. It’s easy to think about all of the things on our to-do list, the should’ve, could’ve, would’ve's, our plans, and whatever else is going on in our day. But to be consciously embodied means to be in the present moment, feeling into all situations with a mind-body balance. Our bodies hold so much wisdom and are truly one of the greatest tools we have. If we allow ourselves for just one moment to experience the world through our physical body, our whole perception can change. Our bodies communicate with us frequently and effectively, as long as we’re listening.


This is the form of embodiment I’m referring to when reflecting on this experience.


If I wasn’t so busy worrying about the ice and thinking about the other people on the mountain, would I have fallen so much? Would I have made it onto a Double Black Diamond? Probably not. I probably would’ve tapped into the muscle memory of my body and looked cool as hell gliding through the snow.


So, I ask you:

Where in your life do you find yourself living in your head, detached from your body?

Where in your life could you benefit from being more consciously embodied?


I can't answer the first question for you, but I can certainly answer the second. No matter the situation, conscious embodiment is going to take you from living in your head to living in your body- experiencing the present moment for what it is.


When we are not embodied, we run the risk of missing important moments, living in created situations in our heads, and not performing at our best. Living purely in our heads can lead to anxiety, worry, “analysis paralysis”, and doubt. It can lead to dissociation in extreme cases, and can really take the joy out of a fun experience.


When we can tune into how our whole body perceives a situation- we can make choices that are more in alignment with who we are and what we want. Being in touch with your body, trusting your body, and listening to your body is incredibly important and can inform you of so much.


However, just like most things, embodiment is learned. It is a practice. Some days it might feel easy to be embodied, some days it may not. For me, I am definitely working on this, and what helps me is to take a deep breath, center myself, and then tune into how I am feeling on a physical level.


I hope this story brought you some laughs and provided an opportunity for you to take a look at your own embodiment.


Where are you on this journey? I'd love to hear your story!


With all the love and light in my heart,

Stephanie


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