There is scientific and practical evidence that entering a state of restorative embodiment can help us build resilience and deeper inner peace. Dr. Alan Fogel has written a comprehensive, interesting, and practical guide to understand what restorative embodiment entails. He also describes and compares the neuroscience underpinning the three types of embodied states: (1) dysregulated; (2) modulated; and (3) restorative. Dr. Fogel describes restorative embodied self-awareness as:
Restorative embodied self-awareness (ESA) is a state of being that involves a sense of peace, safety, connection, oneness, relief, relaxation, and its power to assist in the healing of mental and physical illnesses. When we are in a state of restorative ESA, there is no past or future. There is only now.Psychology Today,
Experiencing a sense of awe can be one way to enter a restorative embodied state. There are many ways we can experience a sense of awe. A few might be:
- finding wonder in the world
- finding spiritual meaning through prayer
- entering a contemplative space through meditation
- being inspired and entering into a state of flow
- expressing gratitude for life’s many gifts
In the Rosen Method of Bodywork and Embodied Self-Awareness, the goal is to achieve what Dr. Fogel refers to as being fully present to a felt experience. When we experience a sense of awe, we center ourselves in the present moment paying close attention to the sensations that arise in our body. According to Dr. Fogel, we live our lives mostly in the dysregulated or modulated state of body self-awareness. Living highly scheduled and challenging lives in which we are always thinking and problem-solving, ruminating on past experiences, and preparing for future ones makes it difficult to enter the restorative space of embodied self-awareness.
David Steindl-Rast, an American Benedictine Monk, draws us into this sense of awe by asking us to “open our eyes” to the specialness of the unique day we are given or living in the present moment.
Take five minutes to watch this piece, listening closely to the calming and meditative words of Brother Steindl-Rast. My experience with this piece has drawn me closer to appreciating the uniqueness within each and every day. It can be challenging to move into a restorative embodied self-aware space, clearing our minds of the thoughts and musings that are so deeply rooted in our minute-by-minute journey through life. Moving from a dysregulated or modulated embodied self-aware state into a restorative one requires letting go and focusing attention on how our bodies respond to the moment.
One of our challenges as humans is to integrate new ways of responding to the complexities in our lives with strategies that help us restore our sense of meaning, wonder, and purpose. Life presents us these wonders every single day if “we open our eyes” to them. Our task is to use them as entryways into creating restorative embodied self-aware states.