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Mindful : April 2017
BOOKS sometimes, anger—the more tender we are with each other, the more present and loving. Body Intelligence It’s not enough to focus on what’s taking place in our minds, Katie Hen- dricks stresses when we speak. “Fear is at the bottom of the issues in most relationships and the greatest obstacle to intimacy,” she says. “On some level, we’re all scared we’re unlovable. And if we don’t feel lovable, we can’t let our partner love us.” In order to turn that around, she explains, we need to start with ourselves. “ We can’t expect to get love from someone else if we don’t believe we’re lovable. We need to start loving all those aspects of ourselves we think are awful.” Paying close attention to the sensa- tions arising in our bodies as well as to our thoughts helps to transform the fear of being unlovable, she explains. “If you don’t shift fear there’s no opportunity to learn anything. If I’m scared, you look like the enemy.” When that happens, we humans get stuck in our primitive, reptile brain and can’t access the more rational, civilized, and peace-loving parts of our brain, including the pre-frontal cortex, insula, and hippocampus. However, Katie adds, “If we identify that we’re scared and feel it in our body, we can breathe into it and move in different ways that melt the fear and allow us to connect more with ourselves and our partners. Then we can let love in at a whole body level.” Geo, who with his wife, Debra, studied with Katie and Gay Hen- dricks, also emphasizes the role of the body in deepening intimacy. “In all relationships there are breakdowns in connection,” he says. “They show up in the form of unconscious judgments, forgetfulness, blame, and endless projections. The body is like a tuning fork and if you pay attention, you begin to notice that these breakdowns begin with tiny sensations of anxiety and tension. But if you ignore them, you tend to resort to an unconscious → April 2017 mindful 61 relationships