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Reflections on Posture . . .

March 8, 2010

At the end of class on March 5th (see the After Class Tidbit for that day), I mentioned that one of the ways I practice taking the “tone” that results at the end of an Awareness Through Movement lesson into my daily life is to think about what I hope to do or how I hope to interact with someone. It is very important that we find ways to use this work in our daily lives, not just when we are on the floor being guided through a series of movements.

My example was that if I am meeting a friend for coffee, I think of what is up for me and for my friend, to the extent I know about it. And, I think about what I hope to feel with this person. If it is my very good friend that is easy. If it is someone, friend or family, where there is a little stuckness and we need to navigate our boats to get aligned, or not, then sometimes this is a little trickier.

So, I reflect back to a lesson I’ve done recently where I felt a certain smoothness and ability and I remember it, or I get down on the floor and do some of the movements to evoke the feeling. Then, I go off to my meeting with the person keeping the image of that feeling and how my body was moving in my mind during the encounter. It’s very interesting to feel how that actually shifts my time with the person.

And, I had a chance to do a real-life practice on Saturday which illustrates perfectly what I meant. For some background, I have not seen my stepfather in many years. My mother died in 1984 and I’ve seen my stepfather off and on a few times, but not to sit down and talk. There are complications from his wife and how she feels included or protective of him and so feelings have been complex and roller-coaster-ish. But, I’ve been missing him and since I was headed to their town, I called and asked if we could get together.

I parked my car and composed myself. All the way there, I’d been practicing keeping an easy posture and full breathing. And, I connected with that as I got out of the car. I fully expected to be met with a judging statement and I’d been practicing staying soft in the face of that judgment. I walked in to the restaurant with a strong step and a full breath and was met by my stepfather’s wife who threw her arms wide and offered me a hug. I accepted it gratefully and hugged my stepfather. We had a promising lunch together, not without a few quiet moments, but everyone there was soft. There was no pushing, no pulling, and lots of respect and breathing.

I’m pretty convinced it could just as easily have gone the other way. We humans read things into the postures another person holds. Had I been tense and guarded, who knows what would have happened. And, who knows if I could have retained my softness if she was tense. It’s all a big “what-if.”

But, I’m happy to report, I kept my softness and breathing all through the weekend, on my big trip down memory lane through plenty of volatile and potentially volatile situations. I remained soft, calm, and satisfied. And, I’ll add that I was able to avoid my old habits. I was clear and strong in my stance, but soft at the same time. Does that make sense?

I wonder what your story will be if you try this. You’re welcome to send me a private email if you do try it and you’d rather not share in public.

All the best,

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