Different worlds--different bodies
Walking through a natural setting, among trees and rocks, accompanied by wind sounds and bird cries, your body feels and moves differently than it does when you walk through an environment of glass, steel and straight lines, like an airport. Your emotional state, the rhythm of your gait, your sense of yourself -- it's as if your bodymind mirrors the terrain -- the varying textures and spaces of nature, or the hard, flat surfaces of the man-made world. Your perceptions shape your posture and steer your movements.
Recently I spent time in workshops attended by people in my field--practitioners whose interests include bodies, touch, healing, movement and perception. In one workshop I was a student, in the other, the group leader.
In both workshops (a total of 10 days) the focus was on presence. We were gathered in community to explore presence from conceptual as well as physical, embodied views -- the ways that being present shapes perception, the ways perception supports presence. The ways that presence and perception support healthy posture and movement. We were gentle, amused, creative, inspired, relieved, aroused, soothed, tearful, joyful and soft. We were sentiently, generously alive. What a gift to be immersed in such an atmosphere for so many days.
Back to the "real' world
The price of the gift was to spend a great amount of time in airports. The influence of steel, glass, concrete and straight lines have never felt more anesthetic than during these recent sojourns. I sat surrounded by loitering passengers who seemed alert to little but the opportunity to board and the necessity to wait. Bless the dear souls who spend their workdays under that florescent glare.
I willed myself to sustain the pulsating, flowing sensations of organic aliveness inside my skin. I had to choose this, because nothing in my surroundings invited me to be sentient. Choose to let my feet soften into industrially carpeted ground, to soften and sink my pelvis into molded plastic seating. Choose to extend my peripheral awareness beyond the sounds of a stranger chewing her salad, beyond the phone conversations, beyond the low ceiling that invited me to duck instead of rise. If I wanted my body not to withdraw from this setting--not to collapse and not to harden--then I had to use every somatic awareness I could summon to stay softly, generously present.
Where transformation happens
It happens in the transitions -- not just in your Pilates class, or your Rolfing® session, or during an amazing yoga retreat -- but when you sustain sensations of openness, centering and grounding while re-entering your ordinary world.
© 2014 Mary Bond