Something that I have observed in my body is how I react to stress by ‘clenching’ – not just in the obvious places such as the stomach – but in different parts of my body according to what it is that is getting to me. This can be a very subtle ‘tightening’ and can occur when I hear something about myself I don’t like, or about someone or something else. Or someone singing whose voice I don’t like, or a song I don’t like, or saying something that produces some kind of unhappy resonance. Or doubt, or fear, or worry. And, sometimes, I become aware that this little tight spot is being held; that I am constantly holding it – the way one might try and hold a handful of sand trying not to let it escape. And it occurs to me just how much energy it must take to be holding on to so many little ‘fistfuls’ of stress. Further it occurs to me that each little clenching draws towards it the flesh around it, pulling on it like tiny blackholes distorting space. And I wonder if these clenchings taken together over time lead to a bowing of the body, a cramping up, a twisting. And I know from yoga – a practice a main benefit of which might be a stretching free of such knots – that misalignment in the body, in posture, leads inevitably to more of the same. It’s as if we were a frame of rods held together by a system of elastic bands that are optimally in dynamic balance, but that, if one elastic band begins tightening, it will pull the whole frame out of shape; folding in on itself, limiting its natural movement, until the whole thing collapses into a paralyzed ball…

So it seems to me that it might be wise for us to cultivate an awareness of such clenchings, for becoming aware of one, we can gently ‘let it go’ and this is better done before it has become a knot. After all is it likely that such knots do not have a parallel in our minds…?

Posted by Ricardo

writer and blogger

4 Replies to “clenching…”

  1. Hi! I stumbled on your books from browsing on Goodreads, a book recommendation and reading community. I hope to see Kindle editions of your books on Amazon soon, as I would like to read them without the inconvenience of shipping 🙂


    1. Hi stef, glad to be stumbled over *grin* am currently working on the kindle editions – that are available over here in the UK, but, through an oversight, not in the US… required me signing a new agreement… these things, alas, take time… Will announce it here the moment they are available…


  2. Ricardo, you’d very much enjoy Tim Parks’ book “Teach Us To Sit Still” … there’s so many parallels between your blog post and the fundamental content of that book. It’s also a hoot to read!


    1. I keep on coming across this kind of comment: ‘there’s so many parallels etc’ – not entirely surprising – we all have much the same life experience, and there are a lot of us – what would be stranger – and alarming – would be if we were all coming up all the time with observations that were entirely unique…


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