The political is personal. The personal is practical. The practical is related to embodied daily life: it is reflected in how you carry out your life and acts. Many of us go about our lives in a disembodied/dissociated way, feeling that our bodies are somehow split from our minds. We exist at different locations on a spectrum of dissociated/disembodied to embodied/integrated.
Social forces and personal trauma split us apart, rendering us zombie-like and feeling distant from an embodied, emotional existence. But our bodies are not abstract, nor are they delusional: they are the home of reality. All of our lives happen right here—there is nowhere else to live from. Our bodies and minds have never been split, although we have felt them to be. We are not institutions, we are not museums, we are not abstractions, and we are not sites of occupation or projects of improvement.
Nor are we discrete. We live within larger social surroundings and the structural oppression of these surroundings is real and violent. Racism is violent. Patriarchy is violent. Late capitalism is shot through with violence. These are the forces that act on each individual and culture. To disavow this uncomfortable complexity is a delusion that serves the split. Violence runs through us, in us, and out of us; part of the collateral effect of these traumas is a breakdown of narrative, of a sense of cohesiveness. Our metaphors for this state have to do with unraveling, falling apart, or coming undone and they reflect an experience of shattering something that was previously whole.
Every body is a series of open-ended questions–a third space complicating the inherited binaries of nature/culture, self/other. What might be possible if we turn towards the queer assemblage of ourselves, towards the complexity of being a “self” born of various people’s genetic material, ancestral archives, social forces, gendered and racialized paradigms, and myriad viruses and bacteria? What might happen when we release control of our sociability and let go of our delusion of discreteness?
A practice involves time spent doing, being, and weaving the narrative of ourselves into cohesion through making the unconscious conscious, emotionally and somatically. It is not about boundaries. It is about the capacity for integration within the self and an enhancement of our authentic connection to others.
Photo credit: James Giles.