And so, I am back from another inspiring seminar at the Karuna Institute in Dartmoor, continuing my training in Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy (BCST). This week we have been delving into the realms of embryology and birth dynamics, learning how these early experiences imprint who we are well into adult life. We are incredibly lucky to have Cherionna Menzam- Sills teaching us, bringing in somatic movement work to help integrate our studies. (If you get the opportunity, I so recommmend attending her experiential workshops.) In her article,'Embodying Embryology' she describes how it is that our earliest experiences of coming into being shape and inform who we are all through life, and how Biodynamic Cranioscral Therapy can help us to access the potential of this original fluid state.
"Floating in our private sea for about nine months, we undergo a miraculous coming into form. The mystery of how this occurs must humble even the most scholarly amongst us. Science can now track early prenatal development with increasing finesse, even intervening to enhance or prevent fertility, clone sheep, or borrow stem cells. We still, however, don't really understand how the embryo knows how to do what it does. What we can do with apparent accuracy and benefits to our health and well-being is to revisit the primordial states of being the pre-nate exhibits."
An aspect of the embryonic journey that I have been particularly struck by is the stage of folding. In 'Embryogenesis: Theory, Principles and Application', 2010, Michael Shea, educator and author in the field of Somatic Psychology and BCST, describes this process, it's implications for the developmental journey of the feotus, and the relevence to our own adult processes.
"The fourth stage of development comprising weeks 4 through 8 is dominated by the movement expressing folding and unfolding. Folding involves a bowing motion where the top of the head or neural tube at this stage curls forward in order to make a better connection with the heart... [T]he fourth stage of folding and unfolding is the delicate balance between the necessity of going in, withdrawing from the world and taking refuge in one’s self periodically and then coming out and unfolding or being reborn into a right relationship with self, other and community... Isn’t this the rhythm of life? How do you manage life’s transitions from one stage to another? Don’t they usually take a couple of months to sort out? Orienting to stillness and a slow tempo allows the compression of life to normalize through connecting to its original function in the embryo."
Reflecting on these early formations, I feel inspired by how much we have to learn from our embryological selves. The embryo demonstrates wholness and an inherent wisdom of self care and nourishment. This can be seen in the early weeks before an umbilical chord develops, the embryo sustains itself with the egg sacks located at its front, floating in the self contained world of the mother. The embryological journey demonstrates our coming into being and echoes processes that continue well into our adult life. We might take this journey for granted, but it is a truly mircalous event. From the meeting of the sperm and the egg, to the folding of the embryo, right through to the treacherous journey of birthing ourselves into the world. And here we are! We all made it, in our own way. However we are impacted by traumas encountered through life, we continue to have the capacity, through such work as BCST and movement practices, to reconnect to the health, wisdom and potential of our embryonic beginnings