Jumping off an airplane without a parachute and choosing to enjoy the ride

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Those of you who have been paying attention to my journey might know that I am on a quest to define and understand the relationship between mind and body for myself. This is what is motivating me in my newly launched individualized continuing study program called “Somatics, Improvisation and Embodied Pedagogy”. It’s great fun because I get to continuously conduct experiments on myself as well as taking in information from the outside by taking different classes and workshops, as well as engaging with intriguing ideas through reading and viewing materials.

I am asking questions:

  • Am I fully using my potencial for awareness?
  • Are there different kinds of awarenesses?
  • What is being embodied like vs. being disembodied?
  • Why understanding this distinction is so important (to me at least)?
  • How does one live an embodied life?

One perspective that I got from my beloved mentor is that disembodiment is when we’re cut off from sensing our physical self and it is not really useful to try to figure out anything in our life when we’re not simultaneously sensing our body.

Is this true? I have to admit that I haven’t been able to stop trying to wrap my mind around this idea and I’ve been experimenting with it ever since in every opportunity.

As I’m sitting down now, engaged in this highly intellectual task of writing this blog, I find myself thinking

  • How is it different to write when I can sense my body in comparison to being cut of from it?
  • How is it different to think about anything from this place of embodiment?
  • Is the process itself different?
  • What about the results?

One thing that I can tell for sure, as far as the process goes, is that it’s much more easeful (and therefore more pleasurable). It feels more spacious, more satisfying, bigger, more grounded. That, in and of itself, is worthwhile.

It’s harder to determine the results, because there’s not always an alternative to compare with, but I can share something that happened yesterday that might be an indication that being embodied is valuable.

Some of you know that I practice a form of peer counseling. I was counseling two of my co-counselors, one after the other and, as part of my experiment, I tried to remind myself to stay connected as much as I could to my own physical experience while paying attention to them. I think what followed was that I had a clarity, a strong inner knowing that I needed to guide them to go beyond the story that they were telling me, to get to the deeper feeling underneath it. I needed to help them make room for their story to exist in their bodies and stay connected to their sensation of the feeling. Then I had to encourage them to befriend this body feeling and bring heart to it as much as they could. That clarity led to some big emotional catharsis for them, which I equate as healing. They both seemed to have quite fruitful sessions.

As a result of this experiment and many others I can’t help but think: what if there’s a whole new way of being in this world, for me, that is very different than what I’ve known all of my life and it has to do with letting go of trying to figure anything out from a purely mental place?  I’m not even sure how to do that, honestly, but it feels like I’m onto something big here that could have huge implications on so many things: on how I dance, how I teach, how I make decisions, how I do every single thing in my life.

I think that I’ve already started experimenting with this new way of being but I’m playing with here now is with the notion of applying it to absolutely EVERYTHING!

I have to admit that when I had the chance to consider this possibility with the attention of my counselor, what came up in my body was this huge wave of sheer terror. It’s probably coming from the idea that I would have to let go of a big part of how I learned to be which is so closely tied into my sense of survival. Now that I’m consciously trying to change it, it feels like jumping from a huge cliff or from an airplane without a parachute and deciding to enjoy the ride. Wheeeee.

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