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The Art of a True Move : creative training in embodied presence

“When we’re doing the practice, I get confused between awareness, attention, and intention… it seems that… when I…”  My fellow workshop participant searched for the words, head bowed, eyes darting back and forth along the floor.

“Tom?” Arawana said softly, “We’re just practicing with what it means to be a human being.”

He nodded softly, and looked up again.

“Sometimes,” she continued, “…sometimes we have to go beneath the questions, or upstream of the questions.”

And just like that, I’m reminded of what I already know – I can’t mutter, hypothesize, or otherwise think my way into freedom in this moment.  It’s moments like these that keep me coming back to practice mindful movement with Arawana Hayashi

I came back late last night from a week of learning practices from Hayashi’s workshop The Art of a True Move – which she’ll be offering this weekend (5/30-31) at The Interdependence Project.  We brought mindfulness to movement that is completely ordinary – sitting, standing, walking, lying down, turning, acknowledging others with a bow -- individually and together as a moving meditation.  It was a dance not because we were doing anything special, but because we were bringing attention to the shifting arrangement of our bodies in relationship to each other, in relationship to space.  And somehow, through the mindfulness to the most simple of gestures, my experience of my own body started to take on a dimentionality and a freshness that I found incredibly rare.  Over the days we worked together, as my awareness of my individual part in the social body became more refined, I noticed how my choices affect others and how they affect me, in a felt experience kind of way that brought the concept of interdependence into full living color.  It was easy, spacious, the most natural thing in the world – taking a walk as a solo, sitting down with someone as a duet, joining in a group activity – being a human among humans, held within the social skin, all different, all together. 

I observed myself, I observed the group, and I learned that most of the time, our patterns in movement are no different that our patterns in speech, in romantic relationships, at work, or elsewhere in the world.  I find it hard to give a gesture a clear ending, preferring often to just let it trail off.  I am hesitant to initiate a new movement, but quick to join in and mirror someone who has broken away from the herd with conviction.  I’m sure I knew these things on some level, because when I recognized these patterns in practice this past week, they struck me as completely true.  The clarity with which that knowledge came was just as striking.  There is a knowing that really lands through the body, landing in a way that that I can never seem to get at through the thinking mind.  Or, for that matter, by myself.  This is relational embodied practice, and the wisdom that I access through it is the wisdom of the community.

A "true move" is a gesture -- physical or verbal, individual or collective -- that comes out of nowhere, and is totally genuine, spontaneous, and appropriate to the context.  Moving, speaking, and listening with compassion and authenticity are natural to us -- AND we can train in the kind of presence that creates the conditions for these moments of truth and connection to shine through more frequently.  I find this to be very, very good news for all human beings.  

Let the dance begin.

Arawana Hayashi will be teaching from The Art of a True Move and Social Presencing Theater at The Interdependence Project Friday 5/30 and Saturday 5/31, 2014.  

register here: http://www.theidproject.org/events/2014/05/30/weekend-arawana-hayashi

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