I carry a silly amount of unnecessary tension. When I walk, i need to consciously drop my sacrum and my shoulders or else I’m bursting up three feet forward. Every time. My trained walking state is in a hurry, so this grounded, balanced walking is still new to me even though my hip replacement made it possible almost 8 months ago. I’m counter-programming a lifetime of gross motor movements, so it’s really great when I remember and can drive the programming home deeper. Eventually, I hope I can achieve a new, relaxed, grounded walking style as my habitual gait and I can put my remembering on other things.
Same goes with weilding a knife. When I cook dinner, unless I notice, my shoulders are at my ears. It takes conscious relaxation to balance myself in my dan tien and allow the motions to originate from a grounded knowledge of what needs to happen. That’s also how I open jars.
Similarly, my inner dialogue can be brutal. Disappointment in myself for not being cooler and smarter and more accomplished springs up with some frequency. Luckily, having fought this particular battle too many times to count, I less and less frequently take the bait. Also, I often think I’m a bit of a hypochondriac and begrudge myself indulgence in some of the maintenance practices that take too long. Usually my body very convincingly reminds me that I may be a hypochondriac in some areas but i’m just being realistic in others, and that interplay usually has me in bed for an afternoon just listening.
When I listen, I relax. Even when there’s an underlying pain. Turning my attention to the feeling state of my body, I connect with a wholeness that is palpable, even if i would prefer it express with a few different details. Connecting with the center of that, the details become less important (and thereby more maleable) and a relaxation overtakes my composure and I’m reminded that my stories don’t matter, and that my habits can be nurtured in new directions, and this is the stuff of life.
So, I like to do this practice. And, the more I do it, the more I find myself remembering to drop my shoulders and live from a place of relaxation and not trained ‘at the ready.’ What i’m learning is that relaxation is a really excellent form of ‘at the ready,’ too, because it’s ready to meet life as it is from a position of wholeness (compared to my previous default: defensiveness — a huge upgrade) and can more accurately sense and respond as a loving, expansive being.
I don’t know how to change the disturbing things that are happening in the world (beyond being deliberate with my consumer and investment choices) but I do know that I want my experience and expression to contribute to a culture of freedom and equality. My favorite thing on earth is engaging in conversation about life itself, nature, divinity and possibility. My favorite thing about it is that each person accesses it within themselves, and so by reminding us of this inner availability we create a culture of empowerment beginning very deeply within the self. That is just so exciting to me, because it means we don’t need more information or more training or more suffering, we just need to be ourselves – and the more we access that, the gentler a world we live in.
I do this public practice because I need it. I also do it to share it because it is so effective in helping me turn the rudder of my ship, and if it can help others return to themselves that’s time well-spent. I do it for my own accountability and to give me the constructs that support my evolution towards deeper intimacy with life itself and upliftment. The great news is, for me, it’s working.
My next growth area is to do book reports – talking about the brilliant teachers I’ve encountered. We all have lists of people who inspire us. I think it would be cool to have channels where we curate our philosophical role models. Perhaps its sortof a nerdy idea, but it can include music and art playlists as well because we know these things shape us. Curating our time, curating our lives, eating from the tree of wisdom, sharing, living and growing wise…