Happy October Darlings! I have a new book review for you all! Up this month is Reclaiming Your Body: Healing from Trauma and Awakening to Your Body’s Wisdom by Suzanne Scurlock-Durana. It deals with ways to help heal your body from trauma in order to better understand your body’s wisdom. Sounds useful, yeah? Before I get into it, I wanted to include a note from the publisher, New World Library, that contains some background on the text and the author.
“Reclaiming Your Body empowers readers to reconnect with their body’s inherent guidance system. The book explains how unresolved trauma becomes lodged in our bodies, blocking the ability of its communication system to share its wisdom and strategies. This can cause us to flounder when making decisions, remain in unsafe or less-than-ideal situations, and/or end up living a life that truly isn’t ours—while the whole time our body is madly signaling us with the answers and solutions we seek.
The author, who has spent thirty years studying the gifts of the body and teaching thousands how to reclaim them, sets the stage for experiencing full body presence by offering ways to experience direct sensation. She also includes chapters for each main “wisdom area” of the body—the heart, the gut, pelvis, legs and feet, bones, and brain—that explore each area’s unique role in the process of developing full-body presence.”
I will admit, I struggled with connecting to this book. My inner skeptic (who seems to turn off and on as she pleases) had a difficult time with some aspects. There is a lot that I agree with and understand, like the concept that the feelings and thoughts we keep in and cling to can have detrimental effects on the body. My skeptic comes out when it comes to some of the author’s methods, but that does in any way mean that I think they are “wrong,” it’s more that I need more time to process and research. Due to a busy schedule, I give full disclosure that at the time of my reading I did not participate in the exercises. Instead, I focused on the concept of the book itself. If and when I do try the exercises, I will post an update. 🙂
In the first chapter, the Scurlock-Durana writes, “Yet trauma is a subjective experience. We should not judge our own traumas as being large or small by comparing them with anyone else’s experience…(page 5)”. I just want to thank the author right now for that statement. Our lives are in an almost constant state of comparison these days (or so it seems) and some people almost seem to relish in whether their trauma is worse than that of another. We should simply be acknowledging and accepting that everyone has something they’re working through and dealing with and offer support instead of trying to one-up each other. Chapter two deals with “Body Myths” and opens with this quote by Astrid Alauda:
“Don’t let your mind bully your body.”
To be honest, I received more out of this single statement than I did with anything else in this book. I mean this as no disrespect to the author, because her book is a wealth of knowledge and assistance, but this one quote has stuck with me. I find myself repeating it in my head over and over again and even planned a yoga class around it! It is a quote that completely and succinctly encapsulates what I am most trying to work on with myself, and on what many people I know are trying to overcome as well.
The main three “Explorations” (exercises) are focused on in chapter four, and while I did not participate in them at this time, I did thoroughly read through them. Her cues are pointed, specific, and in-depth. The exercises had many similarities with meditation sessions I have had in the past. I think the focus when doing body check-ins on listening and noticing and not try to solve what comes up are on point. What is important to note here is that with her book you also have access to audio for all of these explorations…which is a great resource to have on hand instead of trying to do the exercise and read the book to see what comes next at the same time.
While I mentioned earlier that I had a difficult time connecting to this book, it did get a bit easier once I reached chapter five. From this chapter on, she focuses on a different body region in each chapter and within each chapter there is a separate “Exploration” designed for that region. For example, chapter five focuses on the heart, and there is a specific “Heart Exploration” that goes along with it. Forever the English major, one of my favorite features is the idiom side bar. Sticking with the heart chapter (I particularly liked this one), a couple of the idioms she includes are “Eat your heart out,” and “That touched my heart.” Who doesn’t love a good idiom? I think having a more individualized focus on each region itself instead of a broader focus was what made it easier for me to engage with this half of the book.
I think this book has a lot of merit and the author’s passion for her work shines though clearly. Her detailed Exploration exercises will be an asset to anyone looking to work more on his or herself and becoming more in tune with his or her body. Scurlock-Durana provides extensive research and examples to back up her information and presents it in a simple, yet effective, manner. I’m already planning on giving it a second read-through in the future!
Namaste. Shanti Shanti Shanti.