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Anxious Skin

How comfortable are you inside your own skin?

I ask because anxiety is such a common complaint in my craniosacral practice, that it reflects a much greater presence in our so-called ‘modern’ societies.

One of the outcomes of craniosacral biodynamics is a settling of the nervous system. This brings about a better sense of safety within one's skin, and reduces anxiety.

But how conscious are we of this protective, loving container? What focal lens do we use when viewing life and our potential within it? Do we tend to focus on the problems or the possibilities?

I recently attended a Continuum weekend workshop with one of its foremost teachers, Cherionna Menzam Sills.

She offered this opened question, (borrowed from fellow Continuum teacher Bonnie Gintis,,“What else is possible?” when uneasy sensations arose during our internal enquiries.

This echoed an orientation we hold in our biodynamic practice: “where is the health?”

In other words, instead of focusing on the pain, the aches, the tight spots, where is the good stuff, the vibrancy, the strength, the support…where feels safe and more alive?

It’s such a great way to nudge oneself from an impasse, change our spatial awareness, and look at the issue from a different and richer perspective.

But it is not denying the symptom in some sort of new age forceful positivism.

For anxiety or any other distressing, painful emotion is a useful symptom, part of an alarm system, a reminder of something that needs just the right amount of attention to lead us to our resources.

It is a tool to break through a set of patterns that lie underneath it.

It is an invitation to a game of hide and seek as Alan Watts would put it.

In The Book on the taboo against knowing you are (1966), he draws attention to how we tend to privilege what prevails rather than what underlies:

“Many people imagine that in listening to music they hear simply a succession of tones, singly, or in clusters called chords. If that were true, (…) they would hear no music, no melody whatsoever— only a succession of noises. Hearing melody is hearing the intervals between the tones, even though you may not realize it, and even though these particular intervals are not periods of silence but “steps” of varying length between points on the musical scale.


Yet the general habit of conscious attention is, in various ways, to ignore intervals.”

In many ways Continuum is a conscious remembering of all that underlies our being, via re-connecting with the primal forces that created us; our first energetic midline: “the field of light laid down at conception” as Cherionna Menzam Sills nicely puts it.

There is a complex vibrational melody within all of us, just like in the universe, that can be readily accessed through this practice.

It is akin to giving yourself a biodynamic craniosacral session.

We are,“the expression of universal forces as well as conditioning forces” adds Cherionna, and just like in a biodynamic craniosacral session we are,“supporting ourselves in remembering our original potential”.

As I was journeying within in “open attention” mode after letting specific sounds resonate in my fluid self, I came to a still, effortless place where my sense of skin was heightened like never before.

I had a conscious perception of the beautiful sophistication of the connective tissues and how the epidermis, this thin layer above it all, was not only a filtering, protective and temperature-regulating blanket but also the point of contact, the interval, between the space outside and the space inside.

This may sound pretty obvious but I guess it was re-presented to me in such a way during this inner journeying, that I could grasp the depth of its significance with a simple but profuse gratitude.

There have been many a time that I took this amazing organ, my contour, for granted but the more present and the more conscious of its support I am, the more content I feel.

Like the intervals between the notes of a melody, all the parts that make us up and the feelings that arise have a role and converge towards realising the whole.

I suggested to a client suffering from eczema and anxiety one day that maybe this persistent rash on her neck, shoulders and back was to remind her of her skin.

I was trying to gift her with the option to view this irritating and frustrating ‘problem’ not as an enemy but rather as a mark of love on the part of her body, with the possibility of an open door or window back to herself.

At first she was speechless and then she had a very moving “aaaaah” moment. It was as if she could see that open door, the possibility of a clearing.

She came back to me one day after a few sessions so proud of herself for having significantly reduced the dose of her anti depressant. She is on her journey back home…

"What else is possible?"

Last week a child curled up in the foetus position at the end of a session and said: “I feel so comfy inside!” with such a beautiful inner smile that radiated from his whole body.

This gorgeous sense of inner contentment is always there for us to reach if we can gift ourselves the right lens, time and a sense of possibility.

Like 15th century Indian poet Kabir quips:

"The fish in the water that is thirsty needs serious professional counselling" ( from Love poems from God, Daniel Ladinsky, 2002)

Here is a poem of his that feels appropriate to add...and end

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