Thank you for reading. It's not easy these days, and it's so worth it. :)
Working, camping and dancing this past week at Envision Festival was a lot-- I mean, a LOT. No escape from the unusually high heats in the jungle, tents stacked on top of each other, new bacterias in the water and food that my system isn't used to, and 3 days of sickness laced with many miracle moments of profound beauty and connection.
If I learned anything, I learned a lot about the expectations I put on my body, and broadly, how ridiculous they are. I haven't been to a festival of that size in about 5 years, and my oh my how much has changed in that time-- such as what my body needs to stay healthy, how much stimulation my nervous system can take, and the reality that I am on a more sober path now for many reasons. And events like these are kind of built around the consumption of some kind(s) of altering substances (probably to forget that you're tired and actually want to sleep, but you can't because the music is blasting from all angles until 4 am).
While I was learning day by day just how much my body is not made for the jungle (long term and camping), I faced an old, nagging, and whiney voice in my head..... "Why can't I just party and have fun like everyone else?" "Why can't my body keep up anymore?" The truth is - I did. I have. And it has had a price. (I also learned a lot about how capitalism has worked its way into so much of our language...more on that later).
What I realized from my unusually sober state of being (and a mind blowing talk by Alnoor Ladha on "embodying postcapitalism") is that I walk around so much of the time with an unspoken, incessantly-craving expectation and sense of entitlement to live without having to feel any pain or intestinal discomforts, and to have infinite access to all my energy at all times to do whatever I please without limitation or consequence. This is a magnificent form of torture. Where the hell did this unattainably high bar of feeling like superwoman come from?! I will say, seeking the source of what bothers me does, and does not, matter in this instance - I can see how culture has shaped this expectation for all of us, but that awareness doesn't always lead to action steps for the now moment.
As far as I can tell, we all have the human experience of pain, pleasure, beauty, limitation, growth, decay, and the whole gestalt things we incarnated to feel. But many of us don't understand (or even accept) this gift of incarnation. It's a gift we have been given from Life, and there was no promise to feel no pain and have it all go our way. We were actually entrusted with this epic, intelligent, wondrous body to be able to come alive on this earth plane. We were entrusted with life, but most of us have not learned to get past our entitlement and step into doing the work of what it means to be human.
There are many ways to spin this, but broadly what I've seen in the bodywork and breathwork trade is that people come to see me with their aches, pains, tension holding patterns and such, and are not actually doing much to listen to the body and create a remedy for the situation. We are entitled to feeling well without doing the work of wellness. When you expect to have no back pain, for example, two things could be happening-- you think pain is bad, wrong, or not allowed in your human experience; or, you are not listening to the wisdom of your body in a way that allows you to respond to its sensations in an attuned way.
The body is your gift from God, and thus where God talks to and through you. It's the only reason I know of that I get to be alive on this Edenic planet we all share, and goddamn am I grateful for that.
The western mind severely battles the conditioning of separation, and this leaves no space for feeling the deep generosity of incarnation. If we feel separate from our bodies, we also probably feel separate from God, from our tribe and community, and from our inner wisdom and connection. These are not just meat suits you get assigned in space (that's a cute idea though). These bodies, with their immense wisdom and ability to heal, shift consciousness, create life, and unite heaven and earth, are actually tools of great technology we have been entrusted with to care for, learn from, and surrender to.
Can you feel that? It's probably a counter-narrative to a whole lifetime of feeling victim to this body, unsure why you were born, what the hell to do now... It's a big responsibility to come to understand this human experience and its paradoxical conundrum as a gift, I get it; but it is. Most of us just haven't learned how to receive it fully.
This is why things like bodywork, breathwork, sobriety, prayer and devotion, love making, dance, and ritual can all point us back into the Divinity of this human experience, and gift us an opportunity to fully, consensually, CHOOSE this life, that we have been entrusted with, to let go of the immature patterns of entitlement and learn how to give back. We do this by entering the temple of the body, descending into this form fully, and seeing how much power lives within to create whole worlds.
But what are we talking about here?
the fact of having a right to something. "full entitlement to fees and maintenance should be offered"
the amount to which a person has a right. "annual leave entitlement"
the belief that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment. "no wonder your kids have a sense of entitlement"
Entitlement as an embodied ethic, whether conscious or not, pervades our western culture, inherently due to the nature of privilege. This is not a fact for all beings in the western world. But, when I type it and feel it in my own life, it pings in my body as an "oh, damn, yeah, there's something here to look at". Indigenous cultures from around the world, and specifically the BriBri people of Costa Rica (I got the deep pleasure to spend some intimate time with elders and women from the territory here) have an innate belief that they incarnated for a reason, to be of use to to the whole web of life in a critical time on earth. They know they were ENTRUSTED with their humanity to be used as a tool for love, healing, and beauty. It's a damn shame in the western world how much we have lost our sense of belonging (more on that soon), our cosmology/ creation story, and our ability to feel like we are actually capable of being good, of being more than just a disastrous entity that takes more than it gives. It's so easy to shame ourselves as humans into a state of complacent non-action, but it's not time to sit and watch; it's time to remember and take action. I heard this week at a talk this quote that went all the way into my bones: "We are culpable for our non-action just as much as our actions". What's at stake if we don't remember our responsibility to use our incarnation for good? By not attuning to a deeper embodied shift towards entrustment from entitlement, we are continuing to perpetuate a fast-paced decline from "the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible" and head into even darker days of disassociation and disdain. To entrust means to "give trust with confidence". I believe the creator of life has confidence in us, and that it's not too late for us to remember our ability to receive the higher calling for our humanity. *Read "The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible" by Charles Eisenstein for more hopeful wisdom on what's already possible for our humanity.* Ok, so that's a lot for one little blog, and I am realizing I'm quite the radical philosopher these days and value sharing what moves through my field to pollinate yours with words that may shift your perspective just a hair, a gentle lean, towards coming home the the holiness of being the infinite in form. Basically, this week showed me my own shit (always) and I am with you on the path of learning how to embody this gift the Creator entrusted me with, and to soften my adolescent entitled BS to step forward in my life as a grateful and powerful human who gives a shit about why she is here, and I want you to come along with me.
Here's a cute metaphor:
Think about it - you're 6, all you want is a pony, and 'lo and behold, you get one for your birthday. You're stoked out of your mind, but then quickly realize this thing won't feed itself. It poops all over the yard and it's starting to accumulate, and it's actually kind of dangerous without proper training. This is like your life :) If you just expect it to be taken care of for you, you lose all of the meaningful relationship of being a caretaker and kin of something so beautiful. But if you learn to rise early, tend this animal with care, listen to its needs and keep it healthy, this is a creature that holds mystical powers that could change your life. And I feel like we are all still kids, complaining about doing the work but still wanting to have the pony. Your well-being and belonging is the pony... So, on a basic level, this is why I am devoted to breathwork, bodywork, and truth. Because when we go into the body, open the breath (life), and make peace with the fullness of our human experience, literally the whole world shifts towards a state of honor and reverence for the gift. This-- the times we are living in, Now, is a great place to start again. It's not supposed to be easy, the plow and the grit, but it's beautiful beyond words to remember what we came here for, and as much as I can tell you my belief of that, you too must find that truth within your own body and soul. And I guarantee you, it's there. Thanks for reading! And for my social science and philosophy nerds: Check out Alnoor Ladha and his work:) I'm here to be in full service to your embodied awakening. With love and a sweaty upper lip, Jenny