Body Betrayal?


A recent experience held up a mirror for me to see just how far I’ve come since I started on my personal growth journey. A surprise injury turned into a beautiful chance to contemplate how my relationship with my body has shifted.

One Saturday, I had a delicious day all to myself. My gorgeous husband took my kids so an expansive day of possibility stretched out before me. In the afternoon, I brought a basket of laundry upstairs, set it down and then stood up, but, shockingly, I couldn’t stand up anymore.

A sharp pain shot through my back every time I tried to straighten up. Having never experienced severe back pain, I was very surprised. For the next hour, I experimented with my new reality. I could walk hunched over, twist, crawl, meditate and sit comfortably. I just couldn’t stand up or walk normally. The possibilities for my day became much more limited.

An older version of me would have freaked out! Much of my current income comes from teaching dance, so I would have dropped into a spiral of ‘what ifs’. The newer ‘Vividly Woman’ me was more curious about the whole situation. I trust that my body will never betray me and that its main purpose is to support me and my growth. Although it hurt significantly, I had cheerful expectation that there was a gift in this event and I was excited to discover it.

It just so happened that my good friend, Ungela, offered to do a Bowen session with me. If you’re unfamiliar with Bowen therapy, it’s a healing modality that stimulates the body to heal itself. With some guidance and gentle manipulation from the practitioner, the receiver trusts in the wisdom of her body to return to its optimal state of health and vitality.

I hobbled into the appointment like I was 9 months pregnant. During the healing session, Ungela asked me if I was going through any major changes, where I was feeling stuck. I replied that most of my life was in a state of huge change, so that could definitely have something to do with it. She explained that, often, acute injuries happen when we’re on the verge of something major, such as expansion, and if we don’t seek out a way to move through them, the injury can become a chronic problem. I love the idea that my body is supporting me to expand and that it knew just what to do to help me overcome my hesitations.

Ungela also asked me to ponder how could I move into my expansion with grace. What did I need to know to do that? The answer that came to me was beautiful. I had a vision of a flower blooming like in time-lapse photography and the word that came to me was “Sassy”. The way that purple flower in my imagination unfurled unapologetically and expanded into its full glory was magical. There was no hesitation. It just followed its instincts and its destiny. It came to me that I could do that too.

Later in the session, I noticed that my lower back felt like a solid brick of pain and tension. It felt “Stubborn”. Something in my body was blocked and I felt like I wanted it to stay that way because it was safe. With my Vividly Woman work, I have embraced vulnerability and revealed more about myself than ever before, but in order for this expansion, I would need to let go of my most tightly held reservations. I felt like I didn’t want to do that yet and that I wasn’t ready.

As the Bowen energy flowed through me, another image came to me. Through the brick of tension in my lower spine, I felt butterfly wings begin to grow. (I know, pretty weird, hey?) I distinctly felt these wings tentatively experimenting with opening and closing, testing out the possibility of flying. The stubborn feeling transformed into curiosity. The gifts from my injury were being revealed and they were more plentiful than I could have imagined.

After the session, I was able to stand up with a significant decrease in pain and my trust in my body was even greater than before. I discussed the experience with my husband the next day and here’s my synopsis.

I’m experiencing lots of change and am on the verge of significant expansion. My mind alone couldn’t force me to do what was beyond my realm of experience and possibility, so my body took over and did what it needed to do to bring that block into my awareness. With some help from a gifted practioner, my blocked emotion and energy were able to flow. I don’t have to “force” myself to do anything.

So did my body betray me? Quite the opposite. It gave me permission to allow myself to take time to recuperate. After just a few days, the pain was gone and some major shifts began happening with ease. When I was more in my masculine side, I thought I had to power my way through things I didn’t feel ready for yet. In my feminine side, I’m much more willing to ask for help, to let emotion move through me and to avoid classifying things as good or bad. I appreciate and recognize the magic in this event. I’m becoming that flower, blooming into all her glory, no apologies necessary.

Have you ever had an injury or illness that turned into a gift? Please leave a comment below.



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Self Love Sweet Love

The number one issue facing women today is chronic and destructive lack of self love. It’s a sad reality that living with as much opportunity, wealth, rights and freedoms as we as women do in this part of the world, that we still inflict punishment on ourselves in the form of self hate, self judgment and lack of self worth that is almost as destructive as what we see in misogynist societies.

What the world needs now, is for women to be in love sweet love (with ourselves). It’s one of the only things that there’s just too little of!

The paradigm shift slowly heading our way, where the values and blessings of the divine feminine are heralded and celebrated, cannot come about until a critical mass of women can honestly say, I love ME, and mean it. This isn’t something we can feign. That won’t cut it. And I know that all things have their time, but I have to confess I’m a little impatient for this one. Particularly because I now know just how juicy it is. That isn’t to say that I don’t have my ups and downs, moments and hours when I resort to my issues of shame and self blame. I still know those places intimately, however I am way more the witness, versus the victim to those corrosive tendencies.

So here are a few tips I’ve learned and discovered over my years as a tumultuously juicy woman with moods and emotions that sometime seem like they could fuel a jet plane.

Tip #1 Give yourself sensual gifts. Choose things that won’t induce guilt, like rich desserts or expensive ticket items. Instead, here are some ideas: Take a warm bubble bath, massage yourself with fragrant lotion, cuddle up naked with a soft throw. Please add to the list at the Vividly Woman Facebook group! We want more juicy ideas for being sensually loving to ourselves.

Tip #2 Spend time in nature seeing yourself in the mirror.Nature is so beautiful and she is a reflection of you. Spend lots of time in her loving embrace and remember to ground in your oneness.

Tip# 3 Move your body. Dance every day for at least 15 minutes. You can do it on your own, or join a global circle of sisters who are dancing together virtually. Dance Your Power Daily Dance-A-Thon

Tip# 4 Identify and prioritize meaning in your life. Move out of victim and into the power of self love by choosing to do things that have genuine meaning, and choosing to find and stay conscious of meaning in all the things you do.

Tip#5 Express love to yourself. Make it a frequent daily habit to tell yourself, “Leela, (your name) I love you”. Say it a loud, sing it in the shower, write it in the sand, write it on a card and mail it to yourself, send an email to yourself.

Self love isn’t a science, it’s a creative practice that requires devotion. Aren’t YOU worth devoting yourself to?

Leela Francis is the founder of Vividly Woman. An embodiment Expert, facilitator and coach, she inspires the values of the divine feminine in work and in play.

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