My father used to call out at me when I was little “Hey Prawn!” if I was in the way of his vision watching television. He was telling me of course that I am not transparent! We are all oblivious of our affect on others until they tell us. As we mature, we can anticipate our effect on others from our past experiences of losing attunement and belonging. We are designed to adapt in service of belonging which necessitates our survival.
I feel like I have spent much of my life in a kind of prawn peek a boo – “now you see me – now you don’t” as I have navigated feeling safe enough in belonging in being seen and learnt like we all learn that we are not transparent or ineffectual even if we are oblivious of our power or hope we are not being seen!
There are some people who are so solid, it’s hard to read how they feel or what their motives are or what they are thinking but even that is a transparent way of hiding. When the ice melts or the rocks crack open in heart break, its like a waterfall or dam bursting. Water will always find its way through the cracks in the earth. The waters of our feelings are not meant to be held inside. We are all actually transparent whether we like it or not!
Prawns live out in the ocean transparent so they are not seen by predators and turn bright blushing orange when they are caught and fried alive. I see our woe as humans a bit like this when we feel exposed and easy to eat with aspects of ourselves we have been hiding. Many times in my life I have experienced feeling like a transparent prawn, either hidden safe and free or lonely out at sea or feeling exposed with shame on the beach.
I have had the following quote surfacing in my mind for over thirty years:
“It’s a joy to be hidden but a disaster never to be found”
From the book “Playing and Reality” by Donald Winnicott showing how the creative process begins between infant and carer in service to the integration of our internal worlds with each other as humans in relationships. Both the carer and child co-create their world together.
Body Poem can be understood as being in the creation planes of what he calls “transitional space”. This is the interpersonal reality that we create with each other that is a bit like the center parts of a venn diagram where our worlds meet simultaneously being updated in response to each other’s contributions.
This is both internal, interpersonal and transpersonal. This third space that sits between us where our worlds meet. It has a life of its own, like a painting emerges in the dance of directing and receiving the images, body poem emerges in the dance between these two parts of the mind that are together directing our experiences and receiving the emergent descriptions of each experienced moment.
Body Poem accesses censored aspects of the self which can feel like a radical update to our versions of reality that in turn expands consciousness.
The origins of shame, that self-limit consciousness, can be understood to be in service for maintaining identity constructs in service of belonging.
Body Poem supports the metamorphosis from prawn to becoming a turtle and a way of overcoming the shame of feeling like an exposed prawn on the beach from having been hidden out of awareness into a Turtle who belongs out at sea and on the beach protected by her shell.
We are all learning ways of swimming with the internal waters of our feeling states while maintaining reliable stable containers for these. Turtles are equally at home swimming with feelings in the sea and reflecting with identity updates on the beach.
In and out of the sea
The working metaphor for Body Poem is learning emotional fluency feeling at ease in the sea of our feelings as well as feeling at home on the beach being witnessed and reflecting with our self concepts as aspects of our identity are updated.
As we move between the sea and the beach together in the Body Poem structure inviting “What kind of sensation are you noticing? and what’s that like to notice? and if this could speak and had a voice what might it be saying?” we are learning the emotional fluency of a Turtle.
We can transform implicit memory from inside into the physical symbolic laying down of eggs in explicit memory to hatch out new ways of being from safe foundations connected with the earth and the planet.