From the archives is the post all about the Po. The alchemical spirit of the lungs and how we can incorporate this ancient wisdom of the most primal aspect of ourselves into our modern worlds .
I have all these incredibly intellectual ideas and theories to share on the soma; the physical body, and its responses and how the Po is an expression of the innate wisdom of our cellular bodies. And I”m sure I’ll get to that at some point… there is an endless amount of information I can share from this elemental point of view.
What I am really feeling tonight when I think about the Po is the gentrification of the body and the senses and how thats effecting our health and our relationship with our bodies wellness. Oh is that all… the ‘gentrification’ of the body!!
The Po is experienced through our senses, taste, texture, scent, sight. Its the automatic functions of our bodies like breathing and peristalsis (digestion). Its experienced in that space between our skin (our awareness of where we start and stop) and the outside world. Its the animalistic aspects of our functioning bodies and our psyche.
Its all the bits we have no control over yet constantly inform our likes dislikes and urges.
And as highly functioning modern upright people, we have a few issues with these urges and tastes don’t we? ( This is where the gentrification bit come in ) Our minds and intellect, and our hearts and dreams would have us operating from an almost utopian platform. We have been culturally disciplined to detach and suppress the so called less attractive aspects of our bodies and minds. There is much that still today we wouldn’t dare discuss ‘in public’ . And yet much of these taboo subjects include basic bodily functions that are quite essential to our wellbeing and survival ( think poo and sex ).
So what happens when we suppress the Po and ignore the innate wisdom of our bodies and trust that connection between the body and the mind? Pain and ‘psychosomatic’ symptoms ranging from stress-related skin disorders, eating disorders and chronic undiagnosable pain.
Our bodies only ‘language’ is our nervous system and its through this system that it will try and get its messages across to us. They sound something like this.
“Hey, you up there! ” (patient pause for response) “Hey! We don’t think you should be eating that… (another patient pause) HEY!!!! (huddle together for a brain storm) I know, we’ll create some pain, that’ll do it. (patient pause) Damn it they just took a pain killer….. hmmmm Ok Ok I’ve got it, some red skin that always gets them ok GO!
Ok so this isn’t exactly scientific but you get my point. The bodies wisdom; the innate cellular wisdom, that gut feeling, intuition, or a ‘sense of knowing’, does actually need to be heard occasionally! Or, quite simply there are consequences. Now this doesn’t mean that we have to go all primal and throw out all the other functions. The other spirits have their place.
Ideally they work together. Depending on our own make up and our cultural learnings some are going to be more easily integrated than others. Myself, I live in this visceral world of experiencing life through the Po. I probably give this spirit way too much free rein! What does that look like?
Senses, texture and environment are paramount to the Metal element. There are always scented candles burning and fresh flowers and my house has always been full of animals (lets not mention the bats here ok). I work physically with peoples bodies. I have a bathroom full of more oil and lotions than any one body is ever going to be able to absorb and I spend almost more time in the ocean than on dry land. In winter this is replaced by the bath tub (Tonights blog is proudly bought to you by Embody Bath Salts). Textured cushions, natural fibres, LOTS of colour, really I could go on and on. If this sounds like you and your saying, well thats every modern woman surely, I’ll tell you sadly this is not so.
This genuine external expression of the Po is matched with an internal nourishment and respect of that animal instinct. The ability to ‘check in’ with our bodies and interpret its metaphorical language. This I believe is becoming quite a rare ability as we seek to cover up, pretty up and medicate the aspects of ourselves that we don’t like, don’t ‘fit’ or are fearful of. To bring that full circle and back to the bodies I spend my day working with, this results in disharmony. Disharmony of mind and body expressing its self in pain and inflammation of increasing severity.
As I read this I realise this really is my primary function with my treatments. To work as an interpreter for the body and to translate the pain and inflammation that my clients are experiencing so they might heal themselves. What can you do to nourish your Po? Well, any of the above is great, experiencing your senses, in what ever way is fun for you. (You don’t have to turn it into the extreme sport as I tend to do)
One of the easiest ways is to simply ‘check in’ with you body. When I think this or eat this how do I feel? more or less calm? more or less tight in my shoulders? BREATHE! yep just slowly calmly breathe. You’ll be surprised to find just how often your holding your breathe.
To finish off, here is a quote from one of my favourite books “Five Spirits” that so beautifully articulates the place I wish to take my practice.
By Lorie Eve Dechar. Lantern Books 2006
“When the acupuncture needle penetrates the surface of the skin, there is a moment of silence, an emptiness, a wondering and not knowing. When the metal needle meets the living body, there is a silence, a pause …before the tiny whirlwind spins and the qi redirects its course. For thousands of years, the intentions of healers and patients have met in that single breathless emptiness, that turning point of the soul that is the moment of transformation.
Perhaps, as we open to another form of consciousness, the present silence of our world will become that empty turning point, that breathless moment of change. Perhaps, if one by one we humans reclaim our vision of a living cosmos imbued with intention and intelligence and illuminated by wisdom, we will become like ten thousand silver needles penetrating and healing the body of the earth. Then perhaps , through healing our planet, we will heal ourselves and hear again the songs that the stones of the earth are singing to the clouds of heaven .”