By Eva M. Belanger, LMFT, SEP
We are human beings so it may be challenging to imagine your life as a hawk, but let’s try. Through our imagination we can envision what it may be like to sweep over grasslands in flight, just skimming the surface of the grass popping out of the water. We may be able to envision circling high above earth, slow and steady, using our hawk vision, which is eight times more powerful than humans. Using our agility and ability as a bird of prey, we can sense and fly at speeds of over 150 mph to hunt. As hawks we feel with each feather, the wind beneath and around each piece of our body. Hawks are considered one of the most intelligent birds in the world who use all their incredible senses to live their life. Hawks are adaptable and adjust to their environments and as those environments change, so will the hawk adapt and change, migrating based on its needs to survive.
Now just for a moment, could you imagine being a hawk, living in every part of your body, attuned to it, recognizing its needs, and being acutely aware. Can you imagine using each gift and aptitude you have as a hawk? Imagine feeling every feather, as a hawk does, and feeling every surface of the body as it engages its surroundings.
What am I getting at?
As humans we have a tendency to live in our heads and not in our bodies. Generally, most of us live in our heads and neglect noticing body and all that it tries to tell us. Do not worry, it is not your fault! Society, cultural norms, family systems has taught us to disregard natural impulse of the body and instead has conditioned the human to primarily think, problem solve and judge. Brain power is awesome, but it is not all there is. Thought is paramount, but it is often not trying to tell you truth, but keep you in fear.
In the military, the warfighter is taught to accomplish the mission despite any physical pain they may be in. They are trained to ignore the needs of the body to fulfill a role and accomplish the mission. Trained to disregard personal needs, transitioning out of the military into a civilian role how would you imagine the adjustment goes?
The young boy is taught to not cry, because crying is for sissy’s. Socialized to be tough and not show emotion, the little one is taught to ignore a very real and necessary way of feeling into his body, to know emotion and what is happening in his body as a result. In essence, in that very moment we have taken away a sensing and expressing tool that is useful, powerful and much needed to maintain health and stability.
Over the course of time, and through the journey of being human in this day of age, there is a prize for being able to turn off all emotion and to not feel. So many times I have heard, “I got shit to do, and don’t have time to feel!” To be like a machine, that marches forward without tiring, or feeling anything at all. The problem is that you were born human, so you DO feel no matter how hard you try not to. We are born with all the same emotions, male or female. Not a single one of us is devoid of feeling, and this feeling comes from our bodies. So, are we in the game of suppression or in the game of progression? To suppress is to hold a very real energy inside a body that can be filled over its capacity. To progress is to process what is there, when it arise and not ignore what is happening, but rather allow it to transform us.
As you may have guessed, most of us are not like the hawk.
- The hawk is fully in tune with it’s body, knowing its needs, adjusting at the time it needs to adjust and adapting.
- It does not wrestle with its mind, or with what other hawks will think. They do not have Dad Hawk or Mom Hawk peering in over them shaming them for not being so “hawk-like”.
- The hawk does not wait until its alone and it does not wait for a better time, but it adjusts when needed.
Being a hawk means being in tune with the body at all times. We do not always have this luxury, but can we do this at times? Let’s be real and authentic. The reality is we can’t just wear our emotions on our sleeves, but there is a difference between never feeling into the body, and doing it when you feel safe enough to do so.
The hawk life is one that is cohesive, coherent and integrated; mind and body work together to survive, thrive and live. The human being? What’s the difference? Do we live in the moment? Do we adjust each moment as necessary according to our environment? Do we notice what is happening in our bodies, allowing it to feed us information, contribute to our overall wellness and knowingness of the present moment? Now, there is a reason we do not do this. We are highly intelligent mammals and have grown in our capacity to think and override what our bodies may need to do at any given time. Think about how many times you have been in physical or emotional pain just to push through, distract and stay busy. This is a defense mechanism, but also a mechanism that keeps us locked up in pain, in suffering and ultimate creates confusion in a system that ultimately knows what it needs at all times.
Society has conditioned nature out of us.
Let us regain our true Nature?
Much like the hawk we are meant to feel the ground, feel the sky and space around us. We are meant to smell the flowers, grass, trees that feed us oxygen to breath. We are meant to be the hawk, aware of its surroundings, attuned to its environment and in a body that reads it accurately. Not through fear, judgement or insights of others, but of the self alone. That body knows how to survive and thrive.
Engagement of the senses that our bodies naturally have, like that of the hawk returns us to a state that is natural for us. To know sight, touch, smell, taste and to hear; to use our entire body to observe and orient to our surroundings.
The hawk knows when its safe by engaging its entire being. Now, do you?
Challenge yourself to be like the hawk, embodied, connected and oriented to the environment around you. Allow it to sink in and make your entire system aware of its state. Clear the path for your system to return to its true and natural state; our return to health through true embodiment of