Posture and Politics

What are you doing with your body when you find yourself at an edge?  Are there places in your life where your body defaults to a curl or twist?  Concealed at those same edges may be opportunities for changing habits, postural or otherwise…. Before I tell you about my recent edge, just a reminder of what I teach, believe and try to practice: if we can be oriented to ground and spaciousness then that gives us the best possible body organization for that moment, and the best possible point of view.

Tuesday night I spent several hours volunteering at a “phone bank.”  I received a script of what to say, and learned the basics of “prescriptive dial-up.”  That’s what is happening when you say hello into your handset and are met with a gap of silence before someone on the other end begins to speak--that someone, in this case, being me about to urge you to vote “yes” on California Proposition 34.

Phoning strangers to speak about politics is not something I’m comfortable doing. Many people don’t vote in California because the state so predictably swings Democratic for Presidential elections. But this year there are other important matters on the ballot, so I found myself in a room with other people who were speaking loudly into phones.  I concentrated on being friendly as soon as possible after hearing the beep that meant someone had said, “hello?” Timing was essential because you can’t be persuasive if the person hangs up.

Prop 34 is an initiative to end the death penalty in California. It’s an emotional thing to call people up about.  It felt amazing each time someone actually listened to my statistics, but it was hard coming up with good answers to others’ objections--hard because we were talking about scary  things, about big money, and about lives ruined and lost.

Near the end of the session, I finally took a moment to notice my hunched shoulders, my straining ears, my knotted belly. A little late, yes, but at least I looked for the perceptual resources I knew would help:  resting the weight of my pelvic bones into the chair, sensing my feet on the ground, letting my visual awareness include the spaciousness of the room, the tan carpeting, the other people spending their evening putting drops in a bucket. As I tuned in to spaciousness behind my body, I heard my voice become more resonant, and a vague headachy sensation dissipated. Perhaps I could then have been more persuasive. But my next call was a woman who worries the Big California Earthquake will spill all the violent offenders out into the streets.  Kill ‘em all, was her view.  I checked her off as a No vote, took a breath and clicked “dial”.  Next Tuesday offers me  another opportunity to get out the vote and to re-format my own mind/body. What can you do at your edge?


© 2012 Mary Bond