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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Healthy Boundaries

What is a Boundary?

A boundary is the periphery of the energetic field that emanates from our center and orients us in the world in relationship to other beings, things and situations.

When our boundaries are intact we feel a sense of well-being, autonomy and an “I am-ness.”

“Having a container that has no leaks (clear boundaries) allows for more of the experience to be felt”, writes Saida Desilets in her book Emergence of the Sensual Woman. “When our boundaries have been crashed into by another, or if we fail to consciously set our own boundaries, we can become uprooted from our center, unsettled in our own skin, stuck in our energy, less potent and powerful”.

Boundaries are not walls

Often boundaries are mistakenly thought of as separating us from each other. The truth is, however, that when we learn how to have healthy and distinctive boundaries, we can be more truly present with each other, and more authentically connected. Identifying the meaning of having authentic boundaries, we’re more naturally motivated to create them. Remember, boundaries are not walls meant to keep others out, they are defining parameters that allow us to have more of who we authentically are.

When I teach, present or facilitate group process, I notice that the way I relate to the group is strongly influenced by my ability to stay conscious of my boundary. Without a sense of my own boundary I’ll often feel unsure of being able to hold the space for the group, most likely because I am not even really holding the space for myself.

When first I hold the space for me, by consciously creating my own boundary however, there’s an instant sense of coming home in my own body. This connection to myself is what it means to be in my power. From this place I can hold a reverent and dynamic space for others, inspiring them to trust in my leadership.


Notice in this moment if you have a sense of yourself beyond your own physical body.

If you do, how far does your energetic body extend in this moment in a 360degree radius around you. This tells you how much space your taking up and letting others know you need and deserve.

If you don’t, how is this showing up in your relationships with others? Do you feel seen, heard and respected? A lack of boundaries can often result in lack of acknowledgement by those around you.

Ask yourself these questions and notice.

In my next few posts I’ll share more about having healthy, authentic, felt sense boundaries so that your relationships flourish and you feel safe in your own body.

Learn more and experience
boundary exercises in the
Vividly Woman Monthly Community Online Program.

Leela Francis is a speaker, facilitator and Embody Power Expert. She’s the founder and CEO of Vividly Woman, helping women to tap into their embodied power to become thriving, healthy and fulfilled leaders, personally and professionally.

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