Body Talk worksheet for Path of the Stray

Ian Somerhalder Foundation

Kim Falconer

Body Talk

We know the saying, show don’t tell. By letting characters portray their thoughts and feelings via actions and body language, readers immerse in the story, experiencing the journey deeply because they aren’t being told what to think or how to feel. The body speaks for itself!
But body language is more than a medium for novelists. It has much to do with our authentic communication with others. Mixed messages abound if I say yes but rub the back of my neck, or I’m not upset while I cross my arms and take a step back, or no to a first date if I’m smiling and playing with my hair. Clear and honest communication with ourselves and with others means checking in with the body and seeing what it has to say.
If we want a particular experience, we can focus our thoughts on what we want and state it clearly, helping us believe we can have it. But often we do this without noticing our body’s response. If I make a statement with my shoulders hunched, eyes looking down, hands clenched, there’s a mixed message there. But if I speak with my shoulders back, eyes smiling, open palms, my mind and body are in accord.
Ruby meets Reo for the first time, Path of the Stray pg. 281
‘Sorry. I thought you were a lad.’
Ruby squared her shoulders and lifted her chin. ‘Well
I’m not.’
‘Your clothes. Your hair …’
She pushed her short fringe off her forehead. ‘What
about them?’
‘They’re … different.’ He made a show of checking
his mare’s respiration. ‘What’s your name?’
‘Ruby.’
‘Like the stone?’
‘Like the jewel!’

* * *
If we make choices without listening to the wisdom of the body, we are not in alignment with our true self.

Ruby and Kay alone in the stables, pg 512

‘Would you sleep out here tonight?’ He looked at the
bed.
She shifted her weight. Suddenly she felt stilted, her
throat tightening. She swallowed. ‘With you?’
This was not the way she had fantasised about Kay —
water lapping, soft lights glowing, the touch of her hand
on his thigh … their lips, the kisses. Confidence had
abandoned her. She was left with the reality of this man
in front of her, his vulnerability, and her own. She didn’t
know what to do.

Mind Body Spirit Connection

Every day, your body consciously tends to you, never losing focus or attention. You can acknowledge this faithful service by consciously relating to your body in turn. –Deepak Chopra, Reinvention the Body, Resurrecting the Soul, pg 255

You are not your body. You are not your mind. You have a body. You have a mind . . . As we place our awareness, today and every day, on that balance of our mind and that balance of our body, and the sweet dynamic exchange that they feed to each other throughout every moment, that will determine our level of health and ultimately happiness, ultimately fulfilment. -From Deepak Chopra’s Mind Body Odyssey 21 Day Meditation Challenge

Tryn thinking about Jarrod, pg 336

The whole point of a spirit in a body was to explore
connection, wasn’t it? Expand through relationships?
Intimacy? It was for her . . .
. . . Jarrod had disagreed . . . He’d felt the whole point
of spirit in the body was to expand the thing he called
consciousness.

Janis and Layloni discuss relationships, pg 26

(Janis) ‘Stop thinking about why he upsets you and find
something to appreciate.’
‘Like what?’
‘Whatever captivates you. Whatever makes you smile
when you think of him.’
Loni lifted her face. ‘His body!’

* * *

Janis and Luka discuss Jarrod, pg. 72

(Janis) ‘I wouldn’t underestimate his instinct.’
‘Instinct? He’s a …’
‘He’s a conscious being. The same as you or I.’
‘Not the same as you or I, Janis. Instinct is an
attribute of the physical body; he doesn’t have one,
remember?’
‘Are you so certain?’
‘What? You mean his hardware? The CPU? Digital
display?’
‘He has visual consciousness, why not olfactory,
sensory? Even for us they are simply electrical signals
interpreted by the brain. Why can’t Jarrod have the
same experiences?’
‘I have no idea . . . ’

* * *
Jarrod and Janis flee ASSIST pg 109

He felt the exhilaration again as her fingers laced in
his, sensations of heat and power zapping up the
neurons to his brain. It made his heart race. If this is
what a simple electrical signal to the brain can create,
I’m surprised humans ever get anything done! He was
accustomed to abstract consciousness, but sensory,
tactile awareness was something else. He grimaced at
the burning in his lungs. All these new feelings would
take some getting used to.

Gender and Body Image

Body image is a huge problem for many people, and classically women are the most distressed about it. - Deepak Chopra, Reinvention the Body, Resurrecting the Soul, pg 258

Deepak goes on to say that body image changes when we start to relate more consciously, as if our body were a person we loved dearly. Would we care for them less if they were unfit, ageing, ill? Our culture has taught us to treat our bodies as separate objects that we measure against a (catwalk model) ideal. It doesn’t have to be that way. Connection to all life and each other begins within, with our connection to our bodies.

Ruby reflects on the contrast between life on Earth and Gaela, pg 339-340

Ruby could only fully understand the social shift by
reading her mother’s secreted books. Philosophical
thinkers from the past, feminist thinkers, were no longer
available in public libraries or the ASSIST school
system. In the new paradigm, the retro paradigm,
human beings (man) were the absolute. Everything else
was other, the hierarchy demarcated by gender, race and
sentience, in that order — white male trumping all.
Ironically, mineral (technology) was given precedence
over animal and vegetable, to the devastation of the
environment, Mother Earth — the ultimate ‘other’.
Where would it end? Had it already?
But now Ruby was immersed in a world where the
genders were not only equal, they had few inhibitions
with each other. None, really, that she could discover. It
was disconcerting at times, all this pretending to fit in as
if it were second nature. Anything but . . .


Discussion

How do you treat your body? Do you listen to its inner wisdom? If you have a symptom or sensation, do you try to ‘fix’ it, or is there a moment where you ask, ‘what is the message here?’ What are my ‘gut’ feelings? Do you have them? Trust them?

If your body could talk, what would it say to you right now?

Let’s discuss the experience of having a body, having a mind. Who is it that has these things? Take a moment today to set a new intention and invite your body to launch it with all the enthusiasm in your heart. Get thyself in accord!