Hopeful and tense, I cycle in the autumn of 2015 from The Hague to the old parish of Schipluiden. I've been living in my head for years. But now I'm on my way to a naturopath who will put me in touch with my body.
My body is unknown territory. Most of the time I have no awareness of what I really feel. And when feelings and emotions present themselves, they are so intense that I feel overwhelmed.
Especially in intimate relationships, it gets complicated. I long for love and acknowledgement. But if one gets too close, I freeze. My body locks up and I flee to my head.
Again and again this hinders me from making a real connection. Out of sheer frustration, that fall I decide to investigate what I can do about it. Why am I not feeling anything? Is there something wrong with me?
And is there anything left to save?
An online search brings me to a naturopathic doctor. On his website he explains that many of his clients experience physical blockages. A head full of thoughts, a tense body, heavy and absent. The recognition is so big that I step over my fear and make an appointment.
Two weeks later I am lying on a grubby treatment table in the attic of the parish in Schipluiden. The doctor conjures up a set of needles from an old worn-out doctor's case. My eyes follow his hands as he shoots multiple injections into my chin.
And then it happens. A warm, tingling sensation spreads throughout my whole body. I get moved.
Suddenly my body feels like mine again. An euphoric feeling that I am alive. And with a broad smile I cycle back home.
Now, seven years later, I know that there are other ways to restore contact with your body. For instance through breathing exercises and body work, something I prefer myself.
In my work as a coach I often meet men who have gradually lost contact with their bodies. This is often characterized by tension in the body. It may also be that the heart or pelvis are kept out of contact during a hug. Or that breathing is shallow and falters regularly. The body feels flawless when things get exciting.
Such a dichotomy between head and body can arise if a child between the ages of three and five does not learn enough to descend in his body.
At that stage, love and sexuality are not yet disconnected from each other. The child experiences contact with his pelvis for the first time. And out of curiosity and open-mindedness, it practices graceful and seductive poses on the parent. In this way the child seeks recognition on the question: "Am I nice, beautiful, sweet or tough?"
Within a healthy development, the parents validate and bound this behaviour. This way a connection can be made with the rest of the body, and then especially with the heart.
But sometimes this distribution also confuses the parents. If father is uncomfortable with physical contact or does not trust his own sexual feelings. Or if the mother reacts tensely to the approach of the child.
This can lead to a deep hurt of the child and a split between love and sexuality. The child subconsciously concludes that the heart or pelvis is not welcome, and the energy might stop flowing.
When this pattern repeats itself in adult life in intimacy and sexuality, a dynamic of attraction and repulsion follows.
Maybe you recognize it. One of the partners craves passion and affection, while the other one is more focused on sexuality. Heart or pelvis stays out of contact, so you never fully get the other person.
At such a moment, both have the challenge of surrender themselves. To allow the other person in, even where it becomes difficult or exciting. Because only when you dare to give yourself completely, the love can flow again.