If I had to pick a word of the year for 2022, knowing what I do now about the past 12 months, it would be “embodiment.”
I have not lost myself in parenthood as I feared I might, and yet everything — even the way my brain functions — has changed. Through it all, one of the best practices I have done (and can do) for my physical and mental wellness is to trust the wisdom of my body.
This can look like:
As Bessel van der Kolk writes in The Body Keeps the Score, “Once you start approaching your body with curiosity rather than with fear, everything shifts.”
My 36-year-old body, one that has been shaped and reshaped by life and childbearing and stress and personal growth, can better receive the benefits of movement and nourishment than it could at age 15 or 27.
Lately, I’ve been wondering what it would mean to apply this framework to my home and belongings. I often think about making decisions based on my values through a lens of environmentalism or anti-capitalism or social responsibility, for example, attempting to repair an appliance instead of immediately buying a new one. But what if, say, mending a hole in a sock could benefit my nervous system as well as the planet?
I’m reminded of the Japanese practice of kintsugi, in which cracks in a piece of pottery are repaired by being filled with powdered gold. The mending emphasizes the flaws rather than camouflaging them, adding beauty to the brokenness.
Artist Molly Martin says this about repair (in her case, mending clothing) as an act of care and a reflection on the self:
This is the sense of care and intentionality I am trying to live out as life continues to pick up speed and blurs the memories of simplicity imposed by lockdowns and social distancing.
(I keep chanting to myself a new spin on the 90s-era PSA: “Mend, heal, repair.”)