A client of mine introduced me to the word. It’s a good one huh? Take a guess, what do you think it means? We Brits don’t often hear it over here – instead I think it’s called ‘pot holing’ which sounds like the least romantic way to spend a day!
As you may have noticed it’s a verb. A doing word (you can tell we’re deep into Yr 2 English here in the Ekins home).
Conjugate the verb to Spelunk: I spelunk, You spelunk, we go spelunking.
The dictionary of Oxford Languages defines it thus:
the exploration of caves, especially as a hobby.
“Neil spoke of the virginal spelunking in the mountains”
But how does that relate to us here?
There’s not a cave to be seen (unless you are, by some twist of the universe, actually reading this in a cavern….)
My darling client used the word to describe her body work treatments with me. Myofascial Release has a wonderful habit of reaching down into the gunk, and as a therapist you follow the path/ or trail it leaves, reaching into the tightness of the body, following its clues like a treasure hunt. Then sitting with the old goop until it dissipates, melts away revealing another layer of old truth or tale.
It’s like following the course of an underground stream, retracing it back to its origin – the font source hidden deep in the winding depth of a cave. We follow, we follow, we follow and when we come to a fork in the stream, we ask questions and use bodily guidance and intuition. Sometimes the tunnels turn into tight little cranny’s and we wiggle and scuffle our way through. Sometimes a tiny entrance will open up into a cast cavern sparkling with crystals and glow worms of such beauty it makes you stop and draw breath.
This is spelunking (both literal and metaphorical).
Take your behaviours, as an example: maybe you are wicked good at sabotaging your hard work and best efforts every time you show a glimmer of success. Why could this be? Where do you not feel safe? How have your efforts been diminished previously? What stories are you telling yourself that can be peeled back and revealed as fables over fact?
This is how I work with you, following the trail, together we wend our way back, illuminating the darkness of beliefs, self opinions, physical tightness’ – after all your body is the page on which your life is written.
We create space, clear the cobwebs and shine the lanterns, so you can see what truly lies in the shadows. So you can hear those sounds are just the watery drips from the cave ceiling instead of whispers or taunts. It’s the exploration of these old gunky beliefs that leads you to fulfilment – that allows your creativity to blossom, that releases the grip of fear and allows your potential to be awakened.
For me the body and the mind are united – what happens in one shows up as an echo or a shout in the other. We store our experiences on a cellular level if they have not had the opportunity to be resolved or processed – they act as markers, significant points on the trail.
When our nervous system has been stressed and not allowed to restore calm in a way that makes sense to the brain, a flag is thrown down in the body. A part of us forever remains in a tangle of fight or flight. This is actioned by the limbic system – the oldest, most reptilian part of our brain, where logic and rationality do not serve. If you have reasoned your way through scary experiences and still find that you have a nervous flutter when reminded of the event this is why.
Gathering these flags and removing these markers can take place when we reunite the body and the mind – this is why hands on therapy and forms of gentle restorative touch are so essential to the body. It matters not whether you choose to place your own hands on your skin, or whether that restorative touch comes from another – reintegration happens and the nervous system is grateful (This is important to note, especially when touch has been the enemy and also in our increasingly touch deprived society).
Whether you choose to work with me in person, or virtually, the benefits of going spelunking are high in value. If you’d like to know more about working with me 1:1, take a moment now to arrange your discovery call with me, click here on my calendly link.