Does Clay Have a Memory? Healing the Body…
When clay rests in my hands I am reminded of the power of creation.
The cool or dry, soft, malleable substance can be created or destroyed from sculpture to bowl, rigid to smooth. My earlier college years brought me into a sweet trance with the use of clay and its therapeutic gifts. Ceramics became my artistic concentration in university although without the use of a kiln or wheel over the years I progressed to working in other mediums of creative expression such as paint, poetry, yoga and dance. Recently I have been craving the need to get my hands back in the soil, the slip, the earthly connection with clay. Why? I believe clay has a memory just the way our physical body does. The cyclical nature of creation sometimes calls us to go deeper into old wounds or revisit some of our ancient aspects of self to essentially smooth out what may have been unfinished or incomplete.
It dawned on me the other day while leading a yoga practice that perhaps my communion with clay has been replaced for my love for the healing the body. With hands on healing touch both energetically and physically I have found that the therapeutic action of sculpting the body back into form can come alive. Perhaps this speaks to the healer or massage therapist within you? Do you also enjoy the potential to sculpt, shape, align the physical body or clay body and wonder why?
Healing The Cycle
My first intuitive healer, Teresa Brandise, whom in which I had the great honor of working with, once explained to me that the body has a muscle memory. Just the way clay can spin on the wheel forming what can feel like infinite cycles or rhythmic patterns. This consistency is what creates both motion and form into one particular direction, thus the creation of something is formed. If the spinning wheel was put in reverse motion, the clay body would tear instantly with the sudden cyclical change. This is because the cycle has been broken. Similar to how we cut chords of our past, give up addictions abruptly, or make a big change that requires letting go of a lot. She spoke of this in reference to my lower spine which seemingly felt torn like the clay from changing the cycle or breaking the patterns of my past. With this came emotional understanding and healing as my injury at the time was more about accepting the change I had made for myself and life direction even though it looked nothing like my foundation. It was about renewal and a new beginning.
Back when I was 22, Teresa told me I had the worst case of sciatica she had ever seen. She explained that I was like a 90 year old woman crawling to the bathroom in desperation, and I was. This is when I began to understand muscle memory and its similar story that clay (the earth) experiences with tumultuous changing times, physical trauma and when we like the Earth choose to cut chords and shift the old belief systems that no longer flow. The degradation of the soil is directly connected to the degradation of ourselves.
Muscle memory is the body’s collection of models. What becomes memorable in the mind is stored in the body. The profound kinesthetic mind has the ability to record data like a computer server, or the akashic records perhaps. Some things are learned by repetition, by repeating the cycle. The body needs to account for the world changing around it and with change comes renewal, shedding and transformation.
The physical body can heal from an injury by sometimes releasing the emotional webbing that surrounds the point of injury. I have found both the movement form of yoga and ecstatic dance to cathartically release this emotional webbing, bringing one closer to the core essence of healing through the root. I can’t count the amount of times I have cried on my yoga mat or brought a student to tears in a practice. This is proof to me that our muscle memory can be healed, released and replenished.
The Body Does Not Lie
About a decade ago, I was performing with my husband in a drum and dance circle on a deck nearby the shore in the British Virgin Islands. An interesting woman whom I never met approached me after the dance to comment that she could see that I had released and healed many of my life traumas through the dance. This was her clear observation and I was grateful she shared it. I often wondered what she specifically saw to grasp that particular understanding although I somehow internally knew. I smiled and thanked her for the confirmation of healing.
With late summer shining and dwindling on I have been returning to poetry. I’d like to share a piece with you that I wrote on the nature of cycles. This wisdom came from the river we were camping on a few weeks back. It speaks to the connection of mother and child, the young and the old. Yes, I cried as I wrote this…
The River Runs Through Us.
Here She Comes and There She Goes
The Rhythm of the River Always Flows
Miraculous Sights and Tears of Glass
The Path From Here to There is a Pass
Like Passing Time and Passing Lives,
I Will Remember You as You Have I…
Always Strived to Stand By My Side
As Hard As it Be, Spirit Granted Me Wings
So That I May Be Free
Although I Want You to Know That It Is Hard On My Soul
To See my Own Child Grow and Let Go,
Of Mothers Threads, Of Passing Time
Like the Web of a Spider, An Infinite Sign
That Love and Life, It Keeps Going and Going
I Am a Witness of the Glass River Flowing.
Proof in the Path that All Life Continues,
As We Wise, Young and Old, Ride the Cycle of Sinuse
I Must Trust in The Way Creator Has Devised the Plan
The Way Human and Horse Must Together Understand
That Some Move Like a Tortoise and Others Seek to Tame a Wild Horse
It is One World and We, All Inside Its Rich Course
So As I See You Come and I See You Go…
I Must Trust That Together We All Learn and Grow
Grateful I Am to Hold Your Hand
And Smile at Your Freedom as the River Expands
You Are My Teacher and I Your Humble Child
Who Inside My Heart is Born Of The Wild
Some Dance with their Dark Horse While Others Seek Solace
Tears of Joy or of Loss, The Same Stars Are Above Us
I Pray in this Time to Sweet Mother Divine
To Be Open to Her Cycles as I Return to Mine
The Solitude and Surrender Brings Me Closer to Know
That We Live in One Another’s Heart as the River Endlessly Flows.
One With the Herd, Jada