The Whole Self

image of The Whole Self

For a long time, hundreds of years, we have believed that the mind was separate from the body. No one was very clear about where the mind was situated, maybe in the brain somewhere, but it was this mysterious substance that was referred to as ‘myself’.

Many practitioners now, and Gestalt practitioners especially, regard the whole self as ‘myself’, meaning body, emotions, mind and spirit. This is what is meant by holism.

I will be encouraging you, at times, to pay attention to your body and what it might be telling you. You may have had a lifetime of disregarding your body, cutting it off from your head, using it as a storeplace for unwanted and painful self-knowledge. Sometimes this leads to feelings of stress and anxiety, to fatigue, loss of appetite, body aches, headaches, stomach problems, and many other symptoms. Of course it may be that you have a physical illness, and if you haven’t explored that with your doctor, you will be encouraged to do so.

However, if it transpires that you have become disconnected from your body, numbed to the reality of old and uncomfortable knowledge, we will try to bring your knowing back into awareness, to give you a sense of being in your own body, to feel ‘gathered’.

Jim Kepner wrote: “If you can’t feel and identify with much of what’s happening in your body, you are missing a lot of critical information about your own life”.

Take some time to consider some common phrases:

  • My heart broke
  • I can’t stomach it
  • It hit me in my guts
  • I am so tired of this
  • He/she is a pain in the neck

What have you been telling yourself? And what have you not been telling yourself?

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