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Retracing the Path of our Formation: Journeys in Infant Movement Development

Updated: Jan 16, 2020

Early developmental processes commonly arise in Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy work, and are a core part of the healing process. In table work, as clients deepen in, body memories of embryological and birth processes often reveal themselves in subtle patterns and internal motions of the body as well as the client's felt experience. Such patterns can speak of a whole spectrum of human experience, from encountering early traumas to experiencing a joy and playfullness in the womb. In a recent session a client described feeling very young, with the sense of a fluid environment all around. Here she contacted a joyful freedom and ease of being, in which a pure pleasure of play arose.

Of course this is not always the case. It can also be memories of trauma that arise from our experiences in the womb or at birth, holding patterns that continue to impact and infringe on our capacity for fullness of health and ease of being. As early processes arise on the table, we see how the body is retelling a story that wishes to be witnessed. In the midst of stillness, presence and holding, the possibility emerges for repatterning as the system naturally orients to states of healing, expansiveness and wholeness. The nature of our developmental journey is one of creativity, self nourishment and wholeness, and whatever our early expereinces, the possibility remains for us to heal our earliest wounds and re-establish our capacity for connection, healing and satisfying relationship.

I find this way of working mirrored beautifully in Somatic Movement work. Here too we have the opportunity to contact our ealiest formations, and within this practice we discover that movement lies at the very heart of our unfolding and which guides our relationship with ourselves, the other, and our environment. This is demonstrated in the formation of the vestibular nerve, which is one of the very first cranial nerves to form while we are in utero. The vestibular nerve orients us to our environment, our position in space and allows us to experience our movement in the womb. In ultrasoud videos we see images of feotuses spinning playfully through their fluid world, twins that touch and make contact, tiny beings that sooth themselves with the sucking of a thumb. Our physical unfolding tells the story of our coming into being, showing an embryo that explores, expriences and plays through movement.

I feel a deep appreciative of the body as the site of direct experience and integration. The journey of embryological development that we are retracing tends to disappear from our conscious mind and memory, but somehow, delving into movement and image making, we rediscover these paths and the wisdom that guides our formation. Of course that journey never left us, it is who we are. It echoes out through our lives and informs each moment, if only we are able to listen.

"This is a human story, a story not simple to read or hear, but to enter into, body and soul, with all our feeling and imagination. In this way we can experience the tones and shades and subtle shiftings that take place in ourselves in this unique and indiviual journey. This is learning of a different order, and in the process... there lies an opportunity to explore and connect with both the wisdom of the body and the knowing of the mind in a very direct and personal way."

Linda Hartley, 'Wisdom of the Body Moving', 1995

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