“I have been afraid of trees. I have felt the Earth as my enemy. I did not live in the forests. I lived in the concrete city where I could not see the sky or sunset or stars. I moved at the pace of engines and it was faster than my own breath. I became a stranger to myself and to the rhythms of the Earth. I aggrandized my alien identity and wore black and felt superior. My body was a burden. I saw it as something that unfortunately had to be maintained. I had little patience for its needs.” ― Eve Ensler, In the Body of the World: A Memoir

In Eve Ensler’s astonishing memoir, In the Body of the World, she writes about her journey back to her body after a lifetime of disconnection. Stage three uterine cancer returned Eve to her body,  and her fixation upon a slim tree outside of her hospital window returned her to the Earth.

Our women’s bodies are inherently vehicles of connection. Through monthly cycles that keep us tethered to embodiment, through the experience of pregnancy and labour that link us to our progeny, through our many daily acts of love. Our bodies connect us with our stories as well, by our scars seen and invisible, by the trauma and joy stored in our cells. Bessel van der Kolk writes that “the body keeps the score”, and this statement applies also to our bodies’ capacities to transport us to the essence of our truths by way of our writing.

There are so many ways to connect with the stories stored in our bodies, from yoga to massage, from walking through physical therapy and energy medicine. Our bodies are living libraries waiting for us to enter and explore!

Rather than push the body and its turmoil to the side in our efforts to write, we must delve into her wisdom, however painful. That’s where the gold is. So, we meditate before we write, quiet our racing brains and welcome ourselves into the harbour of our bodies. Once we are anchored there, we observe that our senses connect us immediately with presence, emotion, memory, love, history and the Earth itself. 

The September/October Muse Lab includes a session where writers focus on the body as a vehicle for story. Other themes include inciting incidents; obsessions, compulsions, addictions; legacy; and ascendence. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *