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  • Stefanie Cohen

Body Time

Image Description: Altar for the spring equinox in the northern hemisphere.

Red gerbera daisies rise up from a deep blue glass vase, flanked by eggs, stones, and red, orange, green, and gold crystals, and a yellow rimmed plate with citrus fruits, dill, and ginger. Photo by Stefanie Cohen.

As land dwelling creatures, just how much of us needs to feel the assurance and support of ground in order that we may bravely/safely extend out into space?

How much may we permit ourselves to rest and incubate in faith-filled dark corners of not knowing? Even, or especially, when we are unable to discern their true timing?

Januafebruary” — an unofficially termed subset of winter in Michigan, where my body has resided for two decades. (And, truthfully, the lifetime in New England before that).

It is an inward-calling, sleepier, cozier, hearth-tending time, when I experience it in its most positive, (albeit grey-cast), light. When I skillfully resist that perspective, I can feel it as a time of barrenness, uninspired-ness, and frigidity -- marked by the emphatic disinclination to unfurl my limbs out from under the covers or from the same, rotating couple of sweaters.

Deep within me, however, I know that the season will shift. That the light and air and the earth underneath will softly begin to yield way. That a thaw will take place, inviting me into rejuvenation and renewal.

To a season of familiar newness.

This time around, however, within the dark/cold, I experienced both cognitive AND corporeal dissonance. After nearly a year of pandemic lockdown it was as though it had never not been "Januafebruary". Might never not be again.

Within the simultaneity of lockdown and continuous, unmistakable, full-throated calls to enact change on structural, interpersonal, cross-generational, and personal levels, I felt within my own body the impact of repeated collisions of calls to both slowness and urgency.

And urgency truly tried its best within dark winter to call the shots....

...until my nervous system just said "Nope", and firmly took my hand and pulled me back into the groundhog's den.

As a somatic practitioner and artist I am humbly grateful to the containers and relationships that help me to surrender.... in order to discern and act. To the practices that enable me to participate in the kind of slowing down that ultimately makes it easier to respond swiftly and effectively to circumstances that rightly call for that.

The grounded settledness from which intentional action may spring forth.

I feel likewise honored to hold spaces in which clients, students, colleagues, and friends can listen to the language of their bodies in the timing in which it needs to be told. A listening and attending that requires yielding to a sense of BODY TIME that may, or more often may not, conform to that imposed by society. Or weather patterns. Or the tilt of the planet.

What follows here are offerings and invitations to YOU to observe and align the seasons within your body and those that your body inhabits. To practice both slowing and settling into fertile ground and extending with vibrancy into active space.

Sending you love and gratitude, as a fellow traveler in body space/time ,



Witnessing Your Body Moving in Time/Space

Stand, sit, or lie down

Supported by the surface on which you rest

And yes. For this moment you may certainly rest.

Yielding, even just a little

to a softening, ripening earth that tingles with its cycles of

gestating, birthing, blooming, living, ripening, dying

and renewal.

Inhale -- extending the envelope of your skin

Exhale -- settling your subtly expanding vessel down into ever-yielding ground

From here, bring your eyes

or your mind's eyes

to the parts of your body that begin to move into space —

that have been moving all along, however subtly,

as evidence of your aliveness.

Your hands, perhaps, gently and firmly touching one another

or other parts of you,

or your belly undulating with your breath.

Watch your own body

unfurling, even slightly

in space/time.

Allow yourself to linger,

witnessing your body interacting with its self

with its environment

marking this moment with your attention;

confirming for you that you are here/now.

That you are HERE/now.

That YOU are here


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