Learning from the Inside Out

I’ve never been someone who followed the pack. I’ve always been a leader. Leading excites and often surprises me. I love the thrill of surprising myself and the world around me. I love to create and turn things into something better, whether by way of my art, people’s bodies, minds, hearts and especially through thinking. As I see it, everything that exists comes from thinking. We always have the opportunity to shift our thinking, and I believe with the right kind of thinking we can change the world. 

Take for instance the issues of women’s rights, their fitness, health, power, and beauty. I see these things as tethered to what people think and believe. To me it’s all a story we can and need to rewrite. I believe that with an open mind, curiosity, courage, and education we can make things better for ourselves and ultimately affect the world to change in ways that make things better for all humankind.

When it comes to thinking and education, I’m one of those people who seek revolutionaries, leaders, and visionaries like me who love and respect the body, who see life as sacred, and who see the divine in all aspects of life. I call us “body people.” 

Gil Hedley is one of those people. He is into the body, and while I practice the art of living in the body through Nia and as a Sensation Scientist, Gil’s practice is one of mastering the art of dissection, what he calls “an act of introspection.” I had the pleasure of taking Gils’ dissection course several times. His education comes not from moving, but from unwrapping the layers of a body, where he promises you will uncover the hidden layers of the body and yourself. Having just returned from Gil’s six-week course, I can say, “He kept his promise.” Not only do I know more about the body, I know more about me and why I love exploring the body and life. I know I can never know the whole story, but I can keep seeking and exploring and that excites me. 

The body, my body and your body, is a reflection of how we have lived our lives. It is our stories. I love to unravel the story of the body, life, and people. I love to discover what we can do to live in the body in deeply respectful and meaningful ways. I refer to this way as “The Body’s Way,” which, when traveled, leads to fitness, health, power and beauty.

As Gil says so beautifully on his website, “The image of the sacred heart which graces the pages of my site represents to me the unity of the divine with these flesh and blood bodies of ours and the sanctity of embodied life. After many years of believing I needed to overcome and "get out of" my body to achieve holiness, I realized what I really needed was to enjoy and appreciate the incredible gift my body. The sacred heart represents that central insight for me and much more.”

Gil made me a Somanaut, a term he coined to represent people like me who want to explore the story and terrain of the human body through dissection. I coined the terms Sensation Scientist and Body Literacy to represent people like me who want to explore the story and terrain of the human body through movement. 

Ask me what I want. I’ll tell you. It’s to live and die well! So far Gil and Nia are giving me exactly what I want. From each one I’ve learned we can rewrite our stories and live life in ways that make living and dying something to be proud of.