Late Summer Update…
As many of you know, I took a three-month sabbatical earlier this year in large part to continue my studies of Structural Integration. I was incredibly privileged to join a fabulous group of international students in Warsaw Poland hosted by the European Guild for Structural Integration where over the course of about 4 weeks, we explored (or reviewed) the basic 10 series work developed by Ida P Rolf as well as delving into Advanced Series work.
Below are a few takeaways from my time away…..
– I was a bit surprised yet comforted at how familiar both the review of the basics as well as the introduction to the advanced work were to me. Over the course of the class, I was most often taken with how the information presented utilized different metaphors, language and conceptual models than I was exposed to in my original training (Anatomy Trains Structural Integration/ ATSI). The use of new (to me) language and models to describe ideas and the physiology that I am already familiar with provided the most satisfying experience of “gaps” being filled. I walked in not knowing exactly what to expect and was delighted by how the deeply familiar was painted in a new light. I’ve been living into the new information, ideas and changes in how I “see” with both clients and students and have a renewed appreciation for the process that we are all engaged in.
– I was re-inspired by the “container” of series work. For the ways that a framework such as this can allow for innovation, collaboration, creativity and for profound shifts in people and our perceptions of ourselves and the world that we inhabit. I’ve been exploring the slightly different variations in the series work I am currently doing with folks and am enjoying the fresh perspective this allows. I have been delighted to be back in my practice informed by what I have learned. With some of you, we are exploring post-series advanced work and with others we are playing with more creative ways of working together in terms of position and movement – finding more collaboration in exploring change in your systems.
– I have known for many years that the many programs (“branches”) of Structural Integration found around the world all share a basic framework, set of ideas and techniques. However, having now studied with two of the three larger programs/ lineages, I am more aware than ever of the more granular ways in which the programs differ and where the similarities lie and how language and culture within the various branches can differ immensely but hold true to a common thread. I returned home with an immense appreciation for the body of work that Dr. Ida Rolf created as well as the continued evolution of this shared exploration of the reality of being in our bodies and our lives.
– Lastly, the main takeaway from my trip was how good it feels to come home and how time away from one’s normal life allows perspectives to shift and ideas to form. In the absence of the everyday demands on my time, I found that I was able to focus on different things – Parks and museums for example. Warsaw had an enormous number of public parks. Many of them had vast plantings for pollinators, kiosks of “bee boxes” and numerous bird boxes high up in trees to support nesting. The number and variety of museums in Warsaw was amazing. Everything from the palaces of former kings to multimedia explorations of the Jewish resistance during WWII to the history of post war neon signs. We have similar things here, public gardens and parks and a plethora of hikes and restaurants and museums close at hand. In my “normal life” I often fail to take advantage of these gifts. But, when I’m outside of my life and a little outside of time, I suddenly find that my attention broadens and shifts and I can slow down enough to take in experiences that enrich and enliven me.
I was away from home for 9 weeks (I learned that this was too long!) and I had amazing adventures, saw beautiful places, spent time with extended family and made new friends. And, I was removed from my ecosystem. I found ways to “be in place” when I was gone but experienced a profound, cellular level sense of relief upon my return. Since returning in late June, I continue to have small, unexpected experiences that remind me that this is “home” for me. I ran into someone the other day that I shared a cubicle space with 20 years ago and have not seen since I left that job. A small, random encounter that reminded me of how comprehensively I am rooted here. That the network, the relational webbing that holds me and my experiences is right here and it is deep and wide.
I returned with a strong sense that as much as I sometimes desire the freedom of “leaving it all behind” and starting over somewhere new, it is apparent that for me, the idea of maintenance of my home base and investing more heavily / deeply in where I already am is what is needed now. I’ve returned with a desire to garden more. To be here now more. To cultivate what I have and the relationships that I value. To fill more gaps and burrow more fully into place. To be present more in my own body and the spaces in which it inhabits.
That all being said, I have long championed the cause of going “offline”, giving ourselves a break and just generally resting. I believe that for many of us, we need to go further than simply doing a news diet or getting off Facebook for a month. I think that we need to get outside of our normal day to day lives on a regular basis in order to actually rest and to allow space for new insights and perspectives to arrive. This does not mean that we have to abscond overseas for 6 weeks (though it does help!) but do I think that we must give this idea of “space” the consideration that it deserves.
We live in a time of astounding access to impossible amounts of information. Our attention is diverted and monetized and we are left feeling agitated and overwhelmed. We need to experience enough downtime often enough to allow us to see the patterns in our lives that we might wish to change and the rest needed to take action toward that change. I say “we” here when what I mean is “I” and the folks that I witness in the same general state of heart and mind. Perhaps this is not you, but if this resonates, please know that I get it!
In an effort to live into this re-kindled awareness of the need for space, for doing nothing, for cultivating the openness that allows new thoughts to kindle, I have begun to meditate. Otherwise known as me sitting and repeating the mantra “just sit here and do nothing” over and over until I find myself fidgeting and distracted and then coming back to those few words. I sometimes substitute “this is boring and that is okay”. I’m not good with paying attention to breath. I’ve returned to a practice of reading a book in the morning instead of Twitter and no longer immediately turn on the news in the car. I’ve recommitted to my garden/s. Watering is a wonderful (waste of) time for meditation, mulling and generally spacing out. Plus there are bees!
I wish for all of us the space and time to simply be. Knowing that it may only be an extra long shower or a ½ hour before bed, may we all find small and large ways to step out of our “normal” lives to simply do nothing and by doing so, open the door to yet imagined possibilities.