My Journey in Body Awareness
Suffering with migraines and living with an eating disorder, Charlie Boyd once ignored her body's cries for help
Movement meditation and sound healing helped her recover and regain her mental and physical health – here's her story
For me to really get to the core understanding of who I really was I had to break everything. I needed to find freedom within myself and reveal the person I was before all the societal and structural norms took over. Movement and sound took me there.
In my late twenties I started to experience some chronic health issues, which I now know was my body trying to talk to me, actually it was screaming at me. It took me a while to listen but when I did, it revealed a whole world of knowledge about myself, my environment and my mental wellbeing. I knew I had to ask for help and really go deep inside.
I had body image issues and eating disorders from a young age and I had spent a lot of my teens and twenties suppressing the fact that it was an issue. Ignoring the signs my body threw at me: no menstruation, severe headaches, mood swings, highs and lows, depression and anxiety. I was over-exercising, I was restricting food, I thought as I had stopped purging that I didn’t have an eating disorder. The fact was, I was not nourishing myself in any way. I ate a diet of grains and greens but very limited and very controlled. I didn’t let anybody cook for me and I could barely eat out, not without a lot of anxiety and sadness.
After a life haul, divorce and some good therapy, I had space to look inside myself. I had been experiencing chronic migraines for three years, the migraines were cyclical every two weeks and so violent I couldn’t hold down a job and became hugely unreliable which was such a shock to me as I had always been a perfectionist. I hadn’t menstruated for ten years, which is something I largely ignored. Deep down, I knew something had to change and I had to listen to my body shouts and groans. Having always been an adventurer and traveller I had been exposed and dabbled with yoga and meditation from a young age. I started exploring further into different types of meditation, plant medicine, herbal medicine, homeopathy and then movement. I tried many somatic techniques and found my rhythm in conscious movement and dancing. I had been a bit of a raver in my more hedonistic days and loved the freedom I found in dancing but when I stopped partying, I had pretty much stopped dancing.
Once I started dancing on a regular basis and exploring different methods of movement, studied macrobiotics and traditional Chinese medicine and began to understand myself on an emotional, physical and spiritual level. I understood that to have complete harmony in the body and mind I need to fuel every part of me in the right way, according to my environment and listen acutely to what I needed. I learnt to express my emotions rather than pushing them down and I learnt how to articulate them to others, respond and not react but listen deeply.
Now I’m 37, my journey with my body is constantly unfolding, I am forever learning and releasing more and delving deeper into my unconscious. Movement allows me to free up my mind, find where the stagnation is in my body and with dance I can then find a way to really feel it, express it and if ready - I can release it.
I have been a singer and songwriter for as long as I can remember and music has always been my place of solace.
So falling into sound healing practitioner training felt very organic to me and when everything fused together. I heard my voice in a different way and realised how healing it can be. I understand sound, music and listening in a completely holistic manner and found myself in awe of the vibration and resonance that sound could create inside and outside of myself.
Sound has the power and effect to relax, soothe and even heal. Sound healing neutralises the stress response by invoking the parasympathetic nervous system, which slows the heart rate and activates healing in the body. As a sound healing practitioner I use my voice and other instruments to tone different sounds into the body which allows me to apply the exact frequency for each person and their needs. This can be very effective for restoring resonance back to that which is vibrating out of harmony. We can actually tune the human body like an instrument and in sound healing even use tuning forks to do just that. Throw a sprinkle of magic in there and you are all set for a deep personal sound bath & experience.
When weakness becomes strength
My experiences and my difficult times ended up being my strengths and inspired me to start Firm Feet® and create Dance in the dark®. Here, I can share my experiences and offer what helped me in the hope that others can find release, rest, and balance their mental wellbeing in the practices I offer. For me, movement and sound are a daily practice for maintaining my mental health. I can no longer switch off from my body. It opens up everything for me, every feeling, every expression and my connection with myself, others and nature. I now have regular periods (hooray), no migraines and a constant dialogue and communion with my body.
Charlie Boyd is the founder of www.firmfeet.co.uk