Shaking

When do you shake? Do you shake the water off your body after a shower? Do you shake after you have a shock? We use that phrase – to be shaken by something. And there is some body-truth in this, but really, we need to shake after we’ve had the shock.

I love shaking. I love dancing and I guess shaking is an inevitable part of this. Over the years I have shaken wildly be it through waves of 5 Rhythms or in our women’s circles with Jules Heavens. When I attended a poetry dive retreat with Kim Rosen in Wales many years ago, we shook a lot. She explained that shaking allows us to get a bit of space from our conditioned selves…our conditioned thinking can be too tight and restricting, and so when we shake our bodies we loosen that small-mind off too, so that have more space to Be.

Throughout my Authentic Movement training with Joan Davis in Original Nature, I shake a lot in our movement circles. And intensely. It is one of the most liberating movements for me. As I tracked this over the years, I have noticed that initially I was the one who was shaking my body, but increasingly I would describe it as my body shakes. There is no one doing the shaking. I find it so satisfying. Why does it shake so wildly?

When I was learning about trauma healing many years ago, I was struck by something Peter Levine wrote in ‘Waking the Tiger’. He describes what an animal does after a shock – it shakes. The shaking disperses the built-up charge that has resulted from the shock – the animal is releasing the excess so that their nervous system can be rebalanced. We are part animal, and our nervous systems work in the same way. I remembered how for weeks after having a traumatic birth I cried most nights- sobbing, heaving, SHAKING. Of course, I didn’t know at the time that this was my body doing exactly what it needed to do and was releasing some of the charge. I judged it. I thought I should get over it. I could only see the crying and not the physicality of what my body was doing. For a while I simply couldn’t stop the flow of it but eventually, my old conditioning, controlling mind took its place and battened down the hatches. Can you relate? Once we’ve suppressed it we think, hope that it’s gone away. It doesn’t go away like that!

Trauma is held in the body and to release it we must work with the body…it’s a very simple process, but it’s intense so it often helps to do it with someone who is able to hold things steady for you. It doesn’t need any talking even. The only requirement is that we feel safe now. So, we put whatever we need in place – another person, a professional guide, a safe space. And we let go of controlling our body and let it move and shake and it will release itself! I have experienced the healing effects of dance, movement with voice and breathwork in this way. I also sense that very active, shaky sex has the same impact! I’m talking about the kind of sex where we cry with the release, maybe even tremble.

We can shake at any point throughout our day to day lives – we don’t need anything special. We can find a quiet space: a loo, our bedroom, our garden, the beach and just ‘go for it’ for a few minutes. We can do it standing or sitting. We can shake a limb or our entire body. We can shake quickly or slowly. Trust your body and let it do the shaking. Our bodies are made up of 70% fluid, so it is like shaking a bottle with liquid. Take some time to let everything settle afterwards. Write, draw, sing, pray. Try it! See how it impacts you.

I am offering a regular (very early!) morning shaking practice on our Bodyspeak FB CommunityMondays-Fridays 6.15-6.30am (UK time) starting February 1st. If you’re fed up of sitting in it, wallowing in it, suffering in it, being stuck, being overactivated, overwhelmed, bored…if you want to shake things up, then this practice might help you to release and rebalance. I look forward to shaking with you!