Recently my sister sent me a photo of her and I as kids. I had not seen this photo before and when I looked at it, something about it made me come to an abrupt halt. What struck me so forcibly was seeing how naturally loose and relaxed our bodies were. There is an exquisite lightness and natural ease that seems to flow through both of us.
When I look at that photo now, my body remembers exactly what it was feeling at the time. Firstly, I was upside down and my whole body delighted in being upside down; it also loved to spin, jump, run, tumble and roll.
The climbing frame that we are on was made by my Dad out of branches and my hands and feet knew every single inch of that climbing frame. Just behind the climbing frame was a compost heap; my nose still remembers the rich, mulchy smell of warm, decomposing grass. Next to the compost heap was Dad’s shed, which was an intriguing place that smelt of creosote.
My body still holds the memory of the stiff bolt that had to be worked free in order to get in amongst the wheelbarrow and tools. Next to the shed was an enchanting willow tree, whose bendy branches draped right down to the ground, making a giant skirt of slim tough leaves. Another world existed when we went under the skirt of leaves and into the tent of the tree. My body was as supple and natural as the thin young branches of the willow tree.
Somewhere in the garden, Tommy the tortoise was hiding. I delighted in trying to spot his smooth patterned shell and ancient shrivelled neck. When I watched him eat, my eyes were riveted by the sight of his strange lipless mouth, grinding up lettuce. To this day, my body still recalls a feeling of timelessness when I hear a plane high up in the summer sky or the sound of neighbours mowing their gardens at the weekend.
I lived life from my body; my senses were what connected me to life. Life and I were one and the same. Life was simple, life was joyous, life was harmonious and life was very, very easy. I never thought twice about the fact that I loved life. This is how life was for me up until I was 9 years old.
At the age of 9, my family moved from a small village in North Yorkshire to Watford, a major town not far from London. We swapped the countryside that I played in for major roads and a lot of traffic. That in itself was not enough to change how I felt about life, but it was coupled with a difficult transition into a new school and it is how I chose to react to the challenges that presented themselves that set me on a completely different tack.
The children in my new school were very different to the friends that I had left. Despite the fact that we were all only 9 years old, many of them had already hardened and become aggressive. My sensitive body felt assaulted when it heard the F or C word and it reeled from the animosity that was directed at me and others. This was the first time in my life that I can remember feeling emotional pain in my body. I felt like I was being suffocated from the inside and I was at a loss as to know what to do with the pain.
My reaction was to actively choose to change the way that I was being. My body hardened as I pretended that I was not hurt by what was going on. I tried to fit in and please others, I tried to fly under the radar. The ironic part is that if had I chosen to keep being the real me, then I wouldn’t have needed any protection at all because it’s impossible to hurt an open heart.
But alas, I left the Land of the Real Me and went walkabout in the Land of Who I Was Not. My walkabout lasted nearly forty years. It seems that once I left The Land of the Real Me, I also lost sight of who I was and so chose an array of different images to inhabit. For all intents and purposes, I became as authentic as a hologram.
Weary and exhausted, I arrived on the doorstep of Serge Benhayon and the teachings of The Ageless Wisdom. The profound teachings that Serge Benhayon presents have supported me to re-connect back to my body and I am beginning to feel like the beautiful, willowy child that I once was.
I have come to understand that it is through our connection to our bodies that we re-member who we are. By re-uniting with my body, I have been re-united with myself and by re-uniting with myself, I have been re-united with the connection to God that I knew in my body as a child.
‘Thanks,’ even if ‘heartfelt,’ is not in any way sufficient as an expression of my gratitude to Serge Benhayon for being all that he is and all that he brings.
By Alexis Stewart, partner of an amazing man, mum of a stunning boy, dedicated student of The Way of The Livingness, care worker, yoga teacher