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by Donna Brooks

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3 Ways Embodiment Helps Navigate Loss

Loss is quite present on many of our lives. So, how do we navigate this turbulent terrain? This article offers 3 ways Embodiment helps navigate loss. Please understand, there are no hard and fast answers. However, embodiment can be a powerful aid in navigating an uncertain landscape that fills you with pain , uncertainly or dread.

What is embodiment and how does it help navigate loss?

Embodiment is about feeling and sensing. Of course, you may feel like you have felt enough loss and grief! But, I don’t mean that kind of emotional feeling.

Humans beings can feel through something called interoception. Actually, this is a sensory experience of the internal body we all have. It’s often neutral – like feeling too warm or hungry. It’s “body-up” messages that get from experience to the brain.

We also have proprioception.

Balance, movement in space and use of your joints depend on this ability to feel and sense. Understandably, dancers, martial artists and athletes make this type of feeling more conscious.

Finally, we have exteroception. Here we use our senses to receive impressions from the outer environment,

Embodiment uses these senses and the feelings with them to ground us in current experience and bring us home to our own body.

So, below are some “shortcuts” in using embodiment to navigate loss in 3 ways.

Actually, becoming a deeply embodied person brings clarity. As you perceive yourself with aware movement, your brain and nervous system work less hard. You can relax. Yes, even in the face of the difficulty of loss.

Embodiment brings us into the present -helping navigate loss

if you have been up on loss coaching and counseling you have probably encountered the advise of focusing on the here and now. That is easier said than done! But, what if there were a natural way to easily live in the moment?

Noticing how air feels on your skin or how your weight rests on a chair can facilitate being in the present. Sometimes, even that is too hard. So, doing something simple; something like shifting your weight from side to side can make your brain take attention of feeling and thoughts of loss and grief and into this moment. Try it!

Embodiment builds the resilience needed to navigate loss

Navigating loss can be turbulent. Think of being out at sea in a storm. The durability, strength and responsiveness of your boat goes a long way in determining your success at navigation. So, building a better boat is essential.

This ship has to navigate even if it has lost its way. Here is a way to start building this type of embodiment:

Simply lie on your bed or the floor. take a moment to imagine how and where your body would imprint the ground if you were on a damp or wet surface. Maybe, it’s sand. Gently, rock your pelvis so your lower back moves towards and away from the surface. Go easy – this is NOT exercise. Spend a minute or so and look at your contact points. I will bet they have changed. Perhaps, your lower back feels closer to the surface and your breathing is slower.

When we are in the throes of loss and grief we often get back pain. It’s part of a stress reaction. So, doing something simple, easy and pleasurable that takes the edge of stress will help you build a better boat. Perhaps, the waves won’t feel so fast or furious.

Embodiment eases rumination helping you accept loss

Okay, so it is pretty normal and natural to ruminate when you lose something. Obviously, loss is often inconceivable even when it has happened! So, we try to figure out what went wrong. Or, what we could have done differently. Even more painfully, you might be punishing yourself or remembering words or actions better left unsaid.

Did you know tuning into your heart can short-circuit rumination and help navigate loss? I have added a video below – Jellyfish Heart Breathing- which can make you feel ease in your suffering my feeling the beauty and aliveness of your own heart. Please, try it and let me know how you feel!

An Embodiment for Navigating Loss and Grief.

If you need help or resources for navigating loss please keep reading.

I offer ongoing courses and one on one sessions working through grief with your body. This is crucial because so much grief counseling and material focuses on the mental and emotional aspects of grieving. This is valuable and yet, engaging the presence and ground of my body with somatic movement (You can learn more about what that is here) is how I continue to get through all of those terrible emotions without being completely overwhelmed. Somatic Movement helps me keep an even keel and trust into the uncertain future.

If you want some embodiment, you can visit my Youtube Embodiment Meditations for Grief and Loss Playlist.

Most importantly, if you are someone you know is suffering with grief and loss reach out to me. It turns out, the wind does not have to be sucked out of your sails after loss.