We are pleased here at the CambridgeBuzz to announce a new thread “Moving Meditations,”
written by Katy Schonbeck.
Katy, a local performance artist, is offering a dance class by the same name at Hubbard Hall
this fall. She feels that learning to accept and love the body we have, rather than battling with our bodies to make them something they are not, is essential to overall health.
Her students will be using these postings during the week as part of the class. Anyone, whether they are in the class or not, is welcome to try out what she calls “thought experiments” -short movement activities followed by a written reflection.
If you decide to take the class or try some of the activities on your own, Katy invites you to share thoughts and experiences here on the blog. Katy Schonbeck
holds a BA in Dance and Mathematics from Bennington College and an M.Ed from MCLA. She has been teaching and performing for twenty plus years. Katy offers this class, "Moving Meditation," through the Hubbard Hall Dance Program. 9/3/07 Moving Meditations
Having a body, as we all do, is not always an easy experience. After a day of seeing media images of people I will never look like, rummaging through the clothes I don’t fit into anymore, promising myself to get on that bike today and then berating myself when I inevitably don’t, seeing the scale dial creeping in the wrong direction- its clear that the current relationship I have with my physical self is not working for either of us.
I am not sure that I am prepared to abandon a socially accepted practice of being uncomfortable in my own skin. I am also not willing to accept feeling sick or tired. I still think signing up for membership at the Cambridge Gym is a good idea. My plan is fine; I just need a different approach to implementing it.
I am on the hunt for ways to put down the big sticks I haul around to scare myself into fitness with, and replace them with genuine personal care and caring. For the next two months, I invite you to join me in exploring some alternate experiences of self. I will be posting simple activities to try and reflect on.
Try out the experiments. Respond here on the blog, via email firstname.lastname@example.org
, by journaling and through conversations with other experimenters. I look forward to hearing from you!
-KatyMoving MeditationThought Experiment #1
Do some activity that involve moving- go for a walk, mow the lawn, put away the laundry, roll your shoulders, wiggle your fingers, anything that involves engaging your body. During this activity, suspend all judgment on your experience of your body. This means not assigning ANY aesthetic value (good/bad, ugly/beautiful, graceful/clumsy) to the activity itself, to your experience of the activity or to anyone else’s experience of the activity. Its okay to feel things (in fact that’s the point!) like boredom or energy, relaxed muscles or achy ones. What you are putting aside is the habit of deeming those feelings as desirable or not.
Make a metal note of what you observe, then let it go. If you start to think/say “I’m too…..” or “I should be…” say “I am ______”.and fill in the blank with an observation and let it go. Replace descriptors that are personally loaded; e.g. a flat stomach = beautiful stomach in my lexicon, so I will replace flat/not flat with temperature words (warm, cool, hot) and internal sensation words (full, gurgly, disconnected, numb, engaged).
This is an experiment- not a diet, not a life change. You’re not fixing broken parts of yourself. You are asking a question. “What is it like to be me in this body separate from the experience of rating myself?”. You are paying particular attention to what and how you feel in a state of suspended judgment.
Record your observations. I keep a journal by my bed and take 5 minutes in the morning or before going to sleep to jot down my experience.Further Exploration
(for the A-obsessed,.over-achievers in the crowd): If you are around other people extend the suspension of judgment to include them- observe what they look like and how they move and don’t move. Don’t decide if they are beautiful or out of shape or clumsy or talented. Let go of feelings of being judged by others by remembering that what other people think of you is none of your business.