Kelsey Blackwell visited our class at Stanford, When Half is Whole, for a workshop on Embodied Storytelling. We were able to get out of our heads and experience the wisdom of the body as a tool for genuine change. We allowed ourselves to just be, with acceptance of who we are at this moment, good enough.
We all have a story to tell that will be of benefit to ourself and others. There’s the story we know, and the stories that have collected in our being passed down in the muscle and heartbeat of our ancestors. These stories want to be re-membered. They want to come through in our voice, movement and genuine expression. Surfacing these truths brings liberation, healing and social change.
For many of us though, connecting to the stories that live in our body means touching the parts we don’t want to look at—the shame, trauma, embarrassment and not enough-ness—that come with being alive at this time. We vacate the knowing’s of our body for the safety of a conceptual reality. While there is wisdom in concept, we cannot think our way into healing our wounds. Likewise, we cannot think our way (though we continue to try) into creating a more just, fair and inclusive society. The wisdom of the body is needed. Through it we can explore how all our parts may reside. By feeling the coolness of the shadow we may also appreciate the warmth of the sun, and in that our wholeness.
I believe being embodied and speaking from this place is a political act. Though our ability to sense, move and share is part of our human inheritance, this gift has been pruned out of us. Our school system puts emphasis on our ability to think. We’ve been taught to live a short distance from our bodies. However, as Audre Lorde has told us, “the master's tools will never dismantle the master's house. They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change.” I believe body wisdom is one such tool for genuine change.
Let us come together to re-member ourselves. Let us empower each other with voice, movement, stillness and story. Let us taste the sweetness of being together so that we may bring more of this fullness as we stand against the stream.
Kelsey Blackwell is a writer, facilitator and coach working at the intersections of social justice, spiritual practice and creative expression. She is devoted to creating a more just, fair and inclusive society by bringing somatic practices into diversity, equity and inclusion work in schools, cooperate offices and at nonprofits. Her writing has been published in Ebony, Southern Living, Cooking Light and The Arrow: A Journal of Wakeful Society. She holds a Master’s degree in Magazine publishing from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She’s also a Certified InterPlay Leader and graduate of Karuna Training, a two-year training in contemplative practice. Follow her writing and hear about upcoming workshops at kelseyblackwell.com.
Here's her post about colonization of self: