I had an aHa moment this past weekend as I was sitting back to back with my partner, waiting for our dance workshop to start. We had arrived early in order to warm up and get comfortable in the space. I hadn’t felt like moving much yet, as it was still early, so I had suggested sitting back to back for a few minutes.
Immediately I noticed the warmth of his back against mine, and I felt my spine melting. I pushed a little bit, just to test the stability of this back support, and bent my legs so my feet were together and I could sit up straight.
Then, I noticed, I felt a bit emotional and I wanted to talk. To share. To communicate verbally how I was feeling. Of course, in order to do this I had to crank my neck around and try to speak into his ear, which didn’t work very well. After a few awkward attempts, my partner turned his head to the side and said, “I think this exercise is meant to be done in silence.”
Of course! I got that he was right. But my mind was still wondering why did I feel such a compulsion to talk to him about my feelings?
And then it hit me, I was feeling vulnerable.
I could feel the support from him, the “I’ve got your back” kind of sensation. I sensed that he was there and that I could fully let go into my morning musings without worrying about anything. That felt like a very intimate and vulnerable place. I wasn’t sure how to be with that.
I wasn’t thinking about supporting my kids, or whether I’d forgotten to turn the stove off, or whether we had to get eggs on the way home or not. I was fully present, feeling supported, and able to spend a few minutes with myself. This was a new and pretty amazing feeling.
So as I allowed myself to relax and be with my own body, I realized that I didn’t really need to talk about the experience, I could just HAVE the experience.
This idea of being open to an experience and not talking about it is something that can be hard for people who identify as women. We are taught to talk about, analyze and generally manage our feelings and everyone else’s around us, from an early age. We are NOT taught to just feel the feelings.
It is possible that boys have a different experience of this growing up. Many of the toys and games that are aimed at boys, are experiential, not verbal. They are told to ‘just feel the flow’ much more than their female counterparts, who are told to ‘play nicely’ or ‘work out your feelings with your friends’.
I realized that for me, talking ABOUT the feelings also keeps me from FEELING the feelings as strongly. It protects me from losing myself in the emotions. And what emotions would come up if I was able to surrender to being fully supported?
Well, let’s see, for a start, relief. Then gratitude, relaxation, surrender, love, fulfillment, a whole host of vulnerable feelings would arise. I realized this feeling of having someone ‘have my back’, was something I was longing for. I believe most of us are longing for someone to lean on.
So what did I do with all these thoughts? Well, I kept them as thoughts, I let them flow through my body as I sat there with my back against my partner, and I felt them. Ta DA, my moment of realization! I didn’t need to talk about the experience because I was busy HAVING it.
I did talk to my partner later and try to explain how profound this small interaction had been for me. He didn’t really understand why I was so excited. But, I didn’t care. I had FELT supported, and I had allowed myself the pleasure of the moment, and that was enough.
In my work with clients, I often do this pose with them at some point in our sessions, it has such a profound effect.
Have you had a longing to feel really supported? Not just in your mind, but feel it in your body?
Try this with a good friend, lover or family member and see how it makes you feel. Breathe as you enjoy the contact through your back. Allow yourself to feel vulnerable, to feel supported, and to feel that someone ‘has your back’.
Interested to learn more about Somatic Coaching and this type of experience?
I look forward to talking AND feeling with you.