Feeling of Power in the Body


In this sneak peek conversation between Life Hack coordinator- Yoek Ling and Campus Partner- Kathy Gabriel, we uncover why narratives while useful can be a distraction from the real work and realization of who we are and how in the upcoming Life Hack #4- Bodyfulness class we go back to the feeling of power in the body instead of just knowing power in the head.


Yoek : What does power look like and feel like to you? 


Kathy: Power doesn’t really have a face or a physical appearance for me instead it’s a palpable feeling of being in tune and in the know of what is going on within myself at all times. Power isn’t always with me but when it’s there, I feel grateful.


Yoek: That’s intriguing and I love it. Cos it’s an idea of power not as relative but more as centered in self?


I taught a session on power before and the concept I shared then was how power is when there is a gap between resource and need (You have something I need= you have power over me). And we discussed power over vs power with.
Therefore, power in this case is as a relative concept. A power dynamic exists when I have something another needs, and vice versa. There is also the idea of power with, where we collectively have power that we otherwise don’t have cos we come together. Power feels big, powerlessness feels small. Power with feels like solidarity. More recently someone also shared with me the idea that power is with the one who’s free


Kathy: I can see where you are coming from. And that is a completely understandable concept of power. I agree. Just to ask a question back, how would that type of power show up in your body or yourself


Yoek: I am more accustomed to learning through words and with my mind. But recently I was reading this book Bodyfulness by Christine Caldwell and one of the exercises was about working with incompleteness in our past locked in our body memories. I tried it out and what surfaced was an episode about power. When I felt like I was in front of a panel of powerful people and I felt small and judged. Trying out the body exercise gave me insight into narratives I didn’t know I had, and I became aware that this could be a very rich source of learning I had not yet connected to.


Kathy: Well, I think that your response was your own story and process. Perhaps a similar exercise could have led others to feel a different sensation and therefore a different narrative.


Although, power narratives are very common because universally, in some way or another we have all been in the shoes of feeling small, out of touch, feeling othered, outcast, all of which are power narratives told differently.


Without going too philosophical about power because there is both positive power and negative power. For example positive power would be me being able to use a concept or wield a tool to my influence or “power”. To be able to have control of my narrative, to be able to command a space perhaps. And negative power would be one that you might see in a society perhaps. When as a collective we may be able to do more things but individually we all have to give up a degree of power to be able to come together as a society.



Kathy: For the workshop, I wanted to focus more on learning how to follow our intuition of your own bodies to help us be more authentic to our own minds and bodies. We learn to sense better through our body and notice what kind of narratives it can bring up. Often times we are so detached from our bodies and thus also not really connected to our narratives. Then the mind comes into disarray and you see this most commonly in individuals with trauma, both extreme and not. They tend to get stuck in a narrative, not knowing how it started, where it’s going or how it will end. Narratives can be useful but distracts us from the real work and from our realisation of who we are.


We use partner work during the workshop to observe and notice. Through both communication and also bodywork, this would allow people to slowly separate sensation and narrative and find power in finding true embodiment in themselves. In other words, through being more bodyful or through somatic experiencing, we can learn to reclaim the authority of our body. That in itself is power.


Yoek:  … and when you say “separate sensation from narrative”, that is like to be in touch and feel power in its raw sense, before layering on narrative? Also so we don’t keep repeating narratives we are stuck in?


Kathy: Exactly. Feeling what power is more palatable as an experience than just knowing what it is about. And when I tap into the feeling, it usually serves me and those around me. For many other, It’s a choice on what we serve. Power is in the choice.


Come experience this palatable feeling of power in your body with us this 24 Aug, Sat, 8am-1030am at Chinese Garden. Workshop tickets are going at $20 and are on a first-come-first-serve basis. Tickets are running out fast, get your tickets with us at https://bodyfulness.peatix.com today!