There’s something that happens every time we guide people in doing a movement lesson with their feet.
People light up.
Something awakens, and it’s delightful to witness.
There’s often laughter, and always this indescribably look on their faces…
The body’s learning switch is flipped on, and feet become something more than “those things down there you walk around on” and literally, your feet become awake.
I’m not talking about being in your head aware of your feet down there.
But having aware feet.
Know what I mean?
Can you feel your feet and toes right now as you read this?
Can you feel their awareness?
I was thinking of an instruction given to meditators on retreat:
Don’t do anything that makes you leave your body.
I wonder if that’s too steep a gradient for most of us who live in our very disembodied culture.
Like James Joyce wrote of his character Mr. Duffy, who “lived a few feet from his body.” Doesn’t that describe most of us?
Often even people who do body-based practices like running, yoga, and etc. can still be in the head directing the body, instead of truly directly inhabiting their embodiment. (I say this from experience. :) )
So perhaps starting with being in the body with presence first, even a few times a day, could be a place to begin…. until being in the body just becomes how we are.
One of my teachers was laughing years ago about a student of hers wanting to learn how to have an “out of body experience.” She said, perhaps it might be wise to cultivate your capacity to have an “in your body experience” instead. :) That’s definitely a cultivation most of us could do a lot more of!
I heard a touching story this week shared by a wonderful woman in my Women Embodied group who’s working with just this. It was about pausing while in her high heeled shoes at the state legislature in the midst of great busyness to feel her feet connected with the ground. Finding “I’m right here. She said it’s been profoundly helpful for her.
There’s a part of me (a disembodied thinking part of me) that often imagines what I’m about to say is goofy, silly, unnecessary.
But when I actually experience it it’s surprisingly powerful and profound, every single time.
It’s the simple act of pausing, dropping down to feel my presence in my belly, pelvis, legs and feet, and saying silently to myself “I’m right here.”
I do this a lot.
Somehow, I seem to need reminding.
When mind wanders while I’m sitting on my meditation cushion, I notice and remind myself, “I’m right here.”
Whenever a sense of busyness or anxiety arises during the day, how powerful it is to simply pause, and without suppressing whatever is going on in my mind or with my feelings, to add the experience of this fact: I am right here.
Not in that imagined future.
Not in that imagined past.
There’s a saying about it (presence) being as near as a hair, and a million miles away.
Rare and precious, and as common as the air we breathe.
It’s a paradox that feels true to me.
When I’m fully identified with thinking- presence is a million miles away. And it can feel impossible to pause for 5 seconds.
An inner voice insists “I don’t have time!” :)
What else do we have, if we’re lucky enough to be alive?
There’s a snippet of a poem by T.S. Eliot which I shared with my Women Embodied group this week and I’d like to share it with you as well. I love it.
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always–
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
Yep – feels like it costs everything to my ego that needs to surrender to find presence.
And oh, how wonderful when it happens.
And how true, that if we don’t look for it, we can’t know it.
And yet, it’s here. Always.
I like that implicit in this piece is the invitation to look for it!
A condition of complete simplicity.
It’s right here!
It’s right here.
And when I’m right here?
It’s always workable.
Whatever “it” may be.
Or as we say around our house (even 3-year old Mesa repeats this), “Everything is workable and freaking out never helps.” :)
Wishing you a wonderful day, rich in the sufficiency of presence.