Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Lower Back in Character Development

Over the past 10 years, my writing partner Suzy Prudden and I have developed a whole program called Body-Life Therapy. We developed a certification course, wrote a small book and developed body-life cards. What we discovered was that when someone has an issue with their life, they very often have pain, discomfort or other problems in their body. The body problems consistently correspond to the life challenges.

As we were working on this book, Suzy was doing “Energy Breaks” at Carolyn Myss conferences. We had a product table and we put the cards in a basket at the front of the table beside the book. It never failed, if someone pulled a card it would relate to a life and body issue. If someone looked up a body issue in the book, there would be a corresponding life issue.

When I decided to write my book “The Character Book,” which I am using to write this blog in bits and pieces and will eventually post as an e-book, I decided to add body parts as part of character development. If a character has life issues, it expands the character significantly if they have a corresponding body issue.

For example, the lower back:

The lower back symbolizes support of all kinds. In this contemporary American culture money, real property and emotion are the greatest areas of “support” or lack of support that corresponds to lower back pain.

Pain or injury in the lower back occurs when there is a deep fear that there is “not enough.” Not enough money, not enough love, not enough emotional support, not enough work. “Not enough,” covers a broad spectrum.

Don’t let appearances fool you. A very wealthy person can feel that there is not enough money as easily as a poor person. A happily married person can suffer from doubts that love will last as easily as a person who is visibly unhappy within a relationship. Jealousy is unreasonable. Lower back issues are fear based. Fear and trust cannot exist in the same place.

If I were writing or acting a character like Ebenezer Scrooge in Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, I would give him a backache. I would actually have him twisted with pain. Characters like Scrooge live in terror of not enough, they are rigid in their lives and their bodies. Most actors will act him with a curved back, his back curving around to protect what he has – to hold onto what he has – which would probably also give him arthritis in his hands. He hoards, he is frugal in the extreme, he is selfish, mean, meager and barren, all antonyms of generous. He could be called “tight” which you can act because you can be both tight in your life and tight in your body. If you are tight in your body you are apt to court injury because of inflexibility.

Within the context of his transformation can come the surprising release of pain and tension in the lower back.

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