When you hear the word ‘body’ what do you think of? For many folks this is image comes to mind. Muscle bound specimens who don’t rest until their biceps bulge and their six pack develops into an twelve pack. For some of us, this is what the body is all about; a purely athletic endeavor.
For others, when they hear the word ‘body’ these images pop into their head. Sleek models who adorn magazine covers, they’re skinny and dressed to impress. Your body is just the hanger for the clothes and your job is to look good no matter the cost. We need a new understanding of the body, which is not defined by movie action heroes or heroin chic fashion models.
Both of these definitions are all too common and are often the cause of many problems. When we embrace these concepts we separate ourselves from our body. This separation causes stress, anxiety, conflict, anger, sadness, and a whole host of more serious issues from eating disorders to suicide. Being disconnected from your body also makes you an ineffective leader and more likely to have conflicts with others. If you can’t understand yourself and how you feel, how can you understand others? Without understanding, you are destined to encounter problem after problem and eventually no one will want to work with you.
We need a new understanding of the body. My preferred definition comes from the Greek word soma. Soma is the living body in its wholeness. Your soma encompasses the totality of your being; your emotions, your language, your spirit, and your mind all in one single body – a Soma. So the next time you hear the word ‘body’ don’t think biceps and supermodels, think again. Think soma.