As a follow up to the burnout & emotions posts, I want to discuss de-armoring. This word / technique is something that a lot of people are using so I encourage you to be careful about what you hear / practice etc. The way I’m discussing de-armoring is the way I’ve been trained and how I use this practice for myself and my work. It’s based on the Reichian armor ring theory in addition to a gentle / slow approach to unwinding tissue / body patterns that is trauma-informed. The “soft-touch approach” instead of manipulative / hard-touch.
There are many deep experiences that run through the pelvic bowl (check out my post on emotions for a practice to begin there). De-armoring is simply unwinding or releasing patterns in the body. These patterns could be emotional, relational, physiological, ancestral. Many layers can come up and out depending on how far you go. Please know that one layer at a time, at a pace that feels sustainable to you is the best way to let your body integrate and not be blown out of the water / stressed to the point where you say “I don’t want to do that again!” I always bring this up because a lot of people who are into healing / evolution / growth can often bulldoze past the boundaries of their own body which ends up over-riding the system. One of my favorite mentors said to me once “it takes many lifetimes to unwind conditioning, so you may as well take it slow and enjoy.”
So…body armor. What is this?
The de-armoring process I relate to uses a spectrum that can relate to physical, emotional, and mental experiences and manifestations in the body. On one end of the spectrum is numb / disconnected / frozen. On the other end of the spectrum is alive, warm, spongy, vital, healthy tissue.
How do we get from numb or dead to warm and healthy?
This is an interesting question. A lot of the medical world says that dead tissue / dead nerves cannot come back alive. I wonder about this. From my work, I have felt nerves that feel like they are completely offline. Sometimes, after much time and practice and healing work, those nerves return to life. I’ve felt it in my hands. So…just saying 🙂
Back to the spectrum. If one end of the spectrum is numb, we start there. Breathing into numbness can be challenging because it can be disturbing, boring or anything else we associate with numb. But if we stick with it, that numbness can melt like an ice cube. It will often turn into a tension or pain pattern next. Again, stick with it. If we keep feeling and staying, that tension / pain will sometimes unfold into an emotional release. Sometimes it’s just a physical thing and there’s no emotion. When there is a big emotion, this can be intense and challenging but if we give love, permission, care, and time, that emotional release often gives way to an expansion and openness. In the body. In the heart. In the emotional space. In the mind. This expansion is so beautiful and in the body shows up as an opening, warmth, aliveness, tingles. Vitality is powerful!
Now, the whole spectrum doesn’t always happen in one focal experience. Sometimes it takes many inquiries. Sometimes it takes many cycles of different layers. This is the “it never ends” aspect of de-armoring. There is always more and that in itself is a beautiful thing because it allows us to have no goal. There’s nowhere to be except exactly where we are, and this is something I am always holding with my clients. We are simply being with “what is.” Permission to be, where we are, is the way to get to wherever we are going.
Curious about de-armoring? This is the main way that I work.
If you want to start to practice de-armoring with yourself, here is a beginning practice:
– put a hand on your body somewhere that feels in need, send care through your hand. say a prayer to yourself “whatever is ready to be known, felt, heard, I am here. I am listening.”
– find somewhere in your body that feels nourishing, safe, warm. If there’s nothing, find something neutral (surely your nose or pinky finger has some kind of resource available for you). if there’s nothing in the body available, use an image of somewhere safe and beautiful.
– take 3-5 breaths there and notice what you feel in your sensations in your body
– now find something in your mind, body, heart that feels challenging and uncomfortable. take 3-5 breaths here. put your hand there is that feels helpful. notice what you feel
– return to the nourishing, safe, place. breathe here
– keep alternating until you feel just a little tired and pause. beginning with 5-10 minutes is a good way to get used to this practice
– if you are familiar with working with your internal pelvic bowl / floor tissues, you can do this same practice just with the inside of your body (with your hand or tool, find somewhere in the tissue that is nourishing & supportive, breathe with it, then find somewhere in the tissue that is challenged / tense / whatever you are willing to feel)
– give simple thanks to your body (thank you, I love you, I see you, good work)
If this is simply not possible for you, you may want to consider working with a counselor. A body-based counselor can be a great way to begin to inquire into these levels. If you’re ready to work with your body in these ways but need support and a container, please reach out to me, it is my greatest joy to offer this service to you all.
With love, Alicia
Fatigue. Burnout. Over-caffeinating. Rushing. Exhaustion. Fried.
Familiar? I know I’ve had to encounter this battle full-on through my journey to deeper nourishment and power within myself. In this world today where the sheer speed of the way many humans are living promotes a certain kind of frenzied nature, it’s hard to find balance. I’m going to talk about the pelvic bowl and how it relates to fatigue & burnout and give you a practice to begin this journey.
The pelvic floor is the tissue lining the very bottom of your pelvic bowl (the bowl is made up of the bony structure). The pelvic floor is like the foundation of a building. If the foundation is off, the whole rest of the structure suffers. It goes the same in the body. If the ground level layer of the body is suffering, numb, tense, over-worked, injured etc, everything above it (digestion, reproductive system, heart, brain) feels it. In many traditions, power is meant to come from the ground up, spiraling up toward the sky. When the foundation of that power surge is “off” , the rest of the system is having to come up with its power and resource seemingly from thin air.
This is why addressing the pelvic floor has such profound effects on emotional regulation, creativity, clear vision & thinking, communication, and more.
A few windows into the wiring of the body:
– a nerve in the cervix connects up into the throat (this is why cervix experiences can change the voice)
– the nerves in the pelvic floor run into the bottom of the spine, which sends impulses up into the brain
– the nerves in the pelvic bowl run up into the center of the upper belly and form a little bundle which is a space many people hold a high amount of tension / nervousness / activation / stress
Is your brain having some expansion moments by now or is just me? Understanding this and feeling this in my own body blew me away.
* Not to mention pleasure. The networks of vitality are abundant in the pelvic bowl. The spectrum of numbness to ecstasy is a wild one to walk and once you start, the body does seriously amazing things. There’s so much more there about consent, gentleness, and nuance that I’ll address in another post.
As you’re probably beginning to see…for me, everything originates in the pelvic bowl. To begin to address your own pelvic floor, follow this practice:
– make contact with your pelvic floor from the outside of your body (the easiest way to do this is to place one hand cupping over your vulva / genitals)
– breathe into your own hand, like you’re filling your hand with your breathe
– notice what you feel
– slow down. stay there. keep breathing. if you don’t feel anything, that is common at times, keep giving yourself presence until you do feel something…sometimes that can take minutes or weeks
– if you want to explore the pelvic floor from the inside, stay tuned for the post on de-armoring that will be a follow up to this
Making sense to you?
Questions? I love exploring this FULLY in my programs. Write to me with inquiries, with love, Alicia
The cervix is the opening of the uterus. This is the place where blood is released, where a baby comes through from one world to the other during a vaginal birth, where cervical fluid is released as a helpful indicator of the fertile window, and where one of the most potent & epic orgasmic potential lives. In this post we’ll learn a few things about this wondrous place and help you discover the power of your own cervix and why it’s important.
In the wider culture, I see the cervix mostly being ignored and forgotten about. I know I never got education or acknowledgement for this part of the body that now to me feels so sacred and like an integral part of my sense of myself. The problem with ignoring and forgetting this place is deep. It can lead to painful feelings around consent & penetration, pre-cancer cells on the cervix (ever heard of a LEEP procedure?), difficulty getting pregnant and opening to give birth, numbness & pain during sex, severe health concerns like cervix / uterine prolapse (where the organ falls down and possibly out of the vaginal opening), and more.
* As always, I invite you to hold as much tenderness and compassion for yourself in this exploration.
Follow these steps to initiate and connect with your cervix:
1. Close your eyes, place your hands on your lower belly, and envision your uterus sitting down into the center of your pelvis.
2. Imagine the bottom of your uterus, the small oval / donut-shaped, smooth, pink tissue of the cervix (this is where the uterus opens).
3. Notice what you feel, think, and any memory associated here. Whether it’s sex that didn’t feel good and pain lives there, a beautiful memory of a powerful and positive experience, or a feeling of tenderness about a medical procedure you’ve had, give your body permission to let you know what’s happening.
** If you’re really curious about what the cervix is like visually, check out The Beautiful Cervix Project and peruse their photo galleries. Some people love to ask to see their own cervix during their gynecological visits.
* If you want to touch your cervix with your finger, it helps to do this closer to menstrual time as the cervix will descend around bleeding time and pull upward / inward during ovulation time. If you find your cervix with your own touch and you can’t really feel it from the inside in terms of what this place “feels like”, that’s common. You’ll know when you’ve reached the cervix because it’s very smooth, doesn’t feel ribbed like muscle, and is more firm, kind of like a bump feeling.
Part of pelvic bowl healing work, if you’re interested, is to work with the cervix. Why would we do this? Because the cervix holds much power and wisdom. For example, one perk is that during a cervix / uterine orgasm, a chemical is released in the body that gives one a feeling of euphoria, connection, and peace. A lot of the time, the cervix is numb / tense and needs a lot of care before this can happen. Releasing these old imprints is definitely one of the most empowering and beautiful experiences of my life. The liberation is truly wild, ecstatic, and transcendent.
Curious? Have questions? Write to me! I love hearing from you. Until next time, with love, Alicia
With everything that is happening in this world around sexual assault and violation, I felt I had to write about this. I want to write about this from the anatomy, nervous system, and healing perspective. Pelvic bowl healing has never felt so important and profound to me as it does right now. I’m going to address pelvic trauma, how to begin to feel into your own body about this, and assure you that healing IS possible! These bodies are so brilliant.
Pelvic trauma includes assault but goes so much wider than that. Pelvic trauma can be painful sexual experiences, falling on the tailbone, car accidents, traumatic birth, early life trauma, abortion, medical procedures, STI’s, and more.
** To begin, you may want to make a list of all the experiences your pelvic bowl has had in your lifetime.
The myth is that pelvic trauma may be something like “it’s just how it is” and you have to learn how to deal with it. On some level, there may be something that is a process for you. On another level, I know from my own experience and so many I’ve worked with that the pelvic bowl is able to release the imprint and pain of trauma.
People that have gone through sexual violation (either extreme and known or something more subtle that they may not even understand is violating) have trouble with cognitive functioning, emotional regulation, fertility, circulation, digestion, bladder issues, memory, in addition to the standard assumptions about painful intercourse and difficulty with pleasure.
*Side note: it also changes the voice because of how the body is wired, there are so many subtleties like this.
More often than not, for most of the people I work with on my table, some kind of assault, rape, harassment, abuse comes through. It pains me that this number is so high but it brings me so much joy to offer the service that can release it. I know well the imprint of violation on others. I can FEEL it in my hands. I see the impact of violation on the tissue that is visible and I can feel it in the tissue that is internal. This shows up on the labia. The cervix. The digestive organs. The uterus. The muscles holding the vaginal canal. The nerves running through these tissues. In the ligaments and tendons that connect the leg bones into the pelvic girdle. I can see and feel the way the body forms patterns around it all.
* Notice what you feel in your body right now. What are your emotions? What are your physical sensations? Put your hands on your own body to comfort yourself if this is challenging to read. Take a break and come back to it and know that sometimes this works in small doses.
I can feel it as this all releases. I feel it pass through. I know what rage and grief feels like. I want to cry for them and sometimes I do. I want to rejoice in celebration of their bodily freedom and I do. I feel the collaborative effort it takes between us to release it all.
Do you know what I’ve learned? The body is so kind, so resilient, so loving if given permission and care. Bodies that have been shut down for decades take their first breath of true expansion. This impacts the above pieces and leads to overall well-being, greater health, more clear thinking, less emotional reactivity, more creativity and pleasure, and so much more.
Pure rage is powerful but do you know what is even MORE powerful? The expansion. The liberation and freedom. It is so beautiful to feel and to witness.
In today’s world it is a revolutionary act to liberate and awaken to the true current of pleasure and love that lives inside. To walk through the world in THAT without being afraid of what it could result in.
This, not only this, but this is why I’ve made my own form of healing that is so sacred and precious to me. Ready to take your healing into your own hands? Contact me, leave your comments here, email me, I love hearing from you.
With love, Alicia
The female pelvic universe. This is your power center. In this post, we’ll explore the basics. Even if you’re so familiar with this place, this is always a good reminder. The abc’s is where it’s at for us all. I do this kind of practice every day as a self-care pelvic health practice. You’re going to get the bony landmarks, organ placement, and a way to be in relationship with to these spaces in just 3 minutes.
In my world, a relationship with this body, especially this area, is essential for the health of our entire system. Even if you have had a procedure and some of your organs have been removed, this is still an energetic powerhouse center of your body. My encouragement is to approach this exercise with as much curiosity and acceptance as you can muster!
Follow these steps below to initiate, reconnect with, and foster a loving connection to your own power:
1. Place your hands on your lower belly. Wayyyy low.
2. Find your pubic bone, this is the bone at the very bottom of the lower belly, in the center of your pelvis, that sticks out a bit. Give yourself the kind of touch that feels right here whether it’s light and gentle or firmer and grounded.
3. Move your hands up a few inches and let them rest on the soft tissue of your lower belly. This is the ideal placement of your uterus. Take 3-5 full breaths. Notice what you feel. Check in: how is this place feeling? What are your sensations here? Numb, frozen, alive, tingly, warm, open, tense? What are your emotions and feelings when you go to this place?
4. Bring your fingers a bit more to the outer edge of the lower belly, and up a few inches. This is the ideal position of your ovaries. Take a few breaths. Gently press inward a bit on one side and then the other, notice the quality of the sensation, the feeling. Check in: how is this place doing and feeling?
5. Run your hands along the crest / high ridge of the side of the hips along to the sacrum (very lower back, the origin of the spine). Hold your hand here gentle to sense for a pulse. All of these landmarks make up your pelvic bowl! Let your hands come back to your lower belly and take 3 breaths into your pelvic bowl space that reaches down far under the points of contact under your seat. We’ll cover the pelvic floor in another post, stay tuned for more.
Let me know how this works for you! Do you like what you’ve read? Do you want more? Leave your comments here or write to me, I love hearing from you!