Seasons of a Woman – September Body Map
SEPTEMBER – Sculptured Integration, Renewal and Female Power
by Laura Forman
My Body Map Story
I came to Body Mapping through a growing awareness of the power of working with my body in many ways, to heal and liberate by looking at creative ways of discovering the language of the body.
Over twenty years ago I came across a chapter, ‘The Body’s Poetics of Illness’, in Care of the Soul by Thomas Moore. This marked the beginning of my lifelong exploration, a creative, poetic dialogue with my often painful symptoms, encompassing and uncovering the forgotten. Often this process revealed early trauma and pain.
I embarked on the first session in order to consciously begin and embrace a new transition as a woman, coming in to the elder chapter with the changes and ending of menses and the beginning of a new phase.
Process & places
This body map came into being over two weekend workshops separated by a period of six months. The first was during the month of November, which mirrored my entering the winter season of age, as I prepared to enter my 50th year. This time in a woman’s life offers her tremendous change – physiological, spiritual and cultural. Life invites us to be conscious. Being present to the body in the midst of such potent change is tremendously enlivening, and for me there is sorrow and loss too.
From the beginning, body mapping helped reveal my deeply held patterns of illness – shown in the central area of the body map, the throat area and the head. Working with the other women in the group was integral to its creation and form, through my connecting with their reflections and where they each were in their own lives and bodies. The intimacy of having the outline of your body drawn with care by another is a wonderful way of being reminded of your interdependence and connectivity.
These early creations on the map brought alive my symptoms of nausea, headache, vomiting, collapse and feeling overwhelmed, which connected to my having been in a coma for three weeks as a small child. It was very powerful for me to transmit myself onto the map and find self-expression through different forms and textures. At first, I created the interior of my head with white netting, nails, and sharp pine needles. On having the map erected, to view as a mirror reflection, elements of it fell away to the floor, including a clay circle in the throat, a red piece of wire being the last of my blood and the full interior of the head leaving emptiness. What fell away was significant. And it is still unknown to me.
I hung the Body Map on my bedroom wall, and left it there for six months allowing dreams and visions to arise, as well as time to be with the emptiness, the incompleteness. As I increasingly recognised this incompleteness, I greatly welcomed the opportunity to continue with the map. This follow-on time was in May – Spring, the time of new life emerging. I felt a different energy, a new emergence, and connection with the map. I spent much of my time integrating the whole body map, with delicate pale pink paint providing a connection to its different parts and giving an interior to the whole. I felt a strong desire to bring a sense of connection and form to the inner and outer worlds. The heart area took new form, as did the head area.
Interestingly, I brought back the original netting, the original interior of the head that had fallen away, and used this as an element integral to yet separate from the map. I found myself adding new elements, softening it a little with paper and painting the paper.
Living the body Map
I spent some time towards the end of the second body map session just being with the map, quietly contemplating the integration I had achieved, my sense of renewal and power and movement. Since returning home with the map I have looked at it only a couple of times. The headaches and sickness seem to have lessened. I believe I have more to share and it is still unfolding.
Message to the world
Whoever looks upon this: Where does your eye travel? What do you see? Does the map find you?
All our internal maps are unique and beautiful, they never stay the same. They are lost and renewed at different times of our lives, just as the rivers and mountains change with the passing millennia, or as man carves his way into the earth for some purpose.
Trust what is revealed and speak to it.