Have you heard the line from James Joyce's 'The Dubliners'? "Mr Duffy lived a short distance from his body." It sums up this state of affairs perfectly and I chuckle every time I read it.
There isn't anywhere we can go without our body goes too. It is an essential part of our humanity yet so many of us can forget this as we trundle along with a disembodied head perched on a stick (our spine) which bears no relation to the rest of our anatomy.
I run movement workshops to rectify this. I am on a mission to create more awareness of the kinaesthetic body because when we become dissociated from our it, we are weakened physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
My meditative movement practice is called Moving with Mindfulness. I draw on natural movement, which everyone is capable of to encourage our bodily experience of relationship and connection to ourselves, each other and the environment, which is all most empowering.
It's only when we inhabit our body to the same degree we can occupy our minds that we can appreciate what wholeness means.
We spend the morning widening our movement vocabulary and exploring beyond our habitual patterns of motion. We gain confidence in extending our boundaries to occupy the whole studio space and avoid becoming glued to the spot as you do when dancing in a club. This brings a sense of freedom and possibility as we claim new ground for ourselves.
“I enjoyed connecting with the group and a chance to explore my feelings and myself physically. I love Mary’s movement courses and I feel alive and enriched by the experience I have. It fills a need in me to move creatively and with meaning. I leave feeling both grounded and uplifted which is quite an achievement.” Debbie, Adult Dyslexia Specialist.
With our bodies enlivened and attentive through the movement preparation, we take to lying on the floor. In turn and with care, we outline a full-size body print for each other. While inhabiting these body-scapes, Doreen Gowing, Hypnotherapist, leads a guided visualisation to help us let go and drop deeper into our bodies.
We allow plenty of time to colour in our body prints in whichever way we feel fit, intuitively not logically because there is no right or wrong way to do this. The room quickly fills with body portraits and after lunch we tour the gallery together.
In pairs, we take turns to dance for our partner the energy of the body portrait we have created.
“How do I do this?” the head protests while the body knows exactly what dance is needed and how to do it with our partner as our witness.
"The Body Portrait process is unique for gently revealing and reminding me of my inner self. Working with a partner magnified what I knew already as well as throw a light on parts I had forgotten or hidden.” Doreen, Hypnotherapist
Then it is our partner's turn to give their movement response to what they had seen so that when the dance baton was returned to the original dancer, they were inspired to continue moving with it further. What had been resting just below the surface immediately became visible, both in the body portrait and the dance that accompanied it. It was a joy to see and a wonder to be shared and celebrated.
Please check my Events page for the next public Moving with Mindfulness workshop. I'm also available to facilitate this process to any private peer groups. Or if you’d like to explore Moving with Mindfulness with me one-to-one, you can always join me in the studio.
“It was a beautiful and powerful process. Moving together with a partner and having my movement reflected back then interpreting the movement and the body drawing I’d created was very valuable.” C. Barnes, Business Consultant.
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