By Leslie Blackburn
Welcome to Month #5 of a practice series adapted from my upcoming book, Sacred Sexuality: Listening to Our Bodies. These practices encourage a more fully embodied, conscious, and lovingly connected way of being with ourselves and others. (Find Month #1 and a longer introduction to the practices in the March 2023 issue, p.20, or online here.)
For all these practices, set a regular time aside and stick with it for at least 21 days as you explore and navigate toward a more vibrant way of being in the world.
Title: Widening Awareness of Self
Time to Allow: 5 min
Description & Benefits: It supports us in expanding our capacity to notice and be with parts of ourselves, which allows our energetic and subtle bodies to come online. By moving our awareness into the spaces surrounding our bodies, we expand. As we develop our capacities in the physical and energetic realms, more becomes available in our journey of wholeness. This exercise is a synthesis of practices from my work with shamanic awareness, contact improv, qigong, and other nervous system/vagus nerve, somatic, and body/mind integration tools.
Essential ingredients: You, a safe space to pause and take time for the practice.
Take a seat and get comfortable. Settle in, land, and allow yourself to notice your body and breath. Take a few moments to get centered and oriented, using the Center Ground Orient practice from Month #4 – pg 20 June 2023 issue. As with all the recipes, feel free to adjust the instructions as needed for your body’s ability.
Close your eyes. Feel into the space around your physical body. Place your attention on the following spaces and notice what you sense:
● The area in front of your body
● The area on your right side
● The area behind your body
● The area on your left side
● The area above your body
● The area below your body
What do you notice about these spaces beyond your physical self? Is it possible to sense what’s in them without looking? How available is your awareness to move into these spaces? Can you notice one inch around your body? One foot? One arm’s length? Twenty feet? How does the availability change in the different regions?
Now open your eyes. If vision is less available to you, use your other senses in the directions with the same or similar body motions if possible. Modify the body movements as needed to support your ability.
Turn your head at the neck to your right, allowing your torso to remain relatively still. This supports a settling into the present moment through a relationship with the vagus nerve, a major part of the parasympathetic nervous system.
See what is actually in the space there, even if you think you know, come into the present moment of actually noticing what is here now. Describe it: What colors, shapes, and textures do you witness? What feelings and sensations do you notice in your body?
Then turn your torso, gently twisting further to the right to look behind your body. What do you notice? Describe it.
Return to the center. Feel the spaces at your right and left sides and behind you. What differences do you notice?
Now repeat to the left and then farther to the left to look behind. Notice and describe again.
Come back to the center. Breathe. Close your eyes. Be with what you are noticing and the sensations that are emerging in your body. Take some time to journal about your experience. Repeat this practice as often as you desire. Notice any changes.
Leslie is a queer, white, omnisexual, polyamorous, ecosexual, kinky, genderqueer supporter of all beings to be authentically who they are, and uses the pronouns they, them. Their work blends Sacred Sexuality, Ancestral Healing, Grief & Emotional release, and Anti-Racism work to support collective liberation,
self-awareness, vitality, empowerment, and joy. Leslie stewards the land at One Space: a private sanctuary, home, Temple, and community space on four wooded acres in Ann Arbor, Michigan. www.LeslieBlackburn.com