I believe awareness is feeling. It is questioning. It is the opposite of being on automatic pilot.
Awareness is what pulls me out of my spiraling monkey mind. I use Pilates exercises and other different movement methods as meditations to get free from my thoughts, worries and preoccupations of the moment. It also gives valuable attention to the body, the blessed vessel which carries me through life. I breath deeply. I stretch. I strengthen. My intention is to listen to what I need. Not what I think I need. But what I feel I need.
E.E. Cummings wrote: “A lot of people think or believe or know they feel — but that’s thinking or believing or knowing; not feeling."
He goes on to say “And poetry is feeling — not knowing or believing or thinking”.
I love this quote.
For me, movement, like poetry, is also feeling. It’s not knowing or believing or thinking that we are feeling something. It is a direct experience. When we get lost in only repeating movements with out sensing the movement, the overall experience of moving is severely limited and less effective. Repetition without awareness is a waste. If I move the pelvis repeatedly in the same way, like in pelvic tilts, what is the experience in the feet, the legs, the pelvis, the spine, the ribs, the neck, the head? How is the breath? I’m curious! Can it ever feel exactly the same? I don’t know.
The powerful and opinionated mind is well intentioned. But when it comes to movement, I encourage you to let the mind drop into the body, to be less goal-oriented. And since we could even say that each cell in the body - all 37 trillion - has its own kind of command center, the mind then is in fact spread out throughout our entire body and not only encased by the skull. Wonderful!
Feel the movement. Experience it. Is it boring? Fine! Pleasant? Great! Painful? What can you do to make it more pleasurable? Is it luxurious? A moment for gratitude! And this again does not mean that we avoid discomfort. But we don’t search for red hot pain or stay in the shape if we experience it.
If we are committed to being aware of how our movements make us feel, we are awake, we are present. We are making choices. We are patient. But if we move without feeling, how can we know when our form disintegrates or when our muscles are over-tired, or if the breath is stuck or the jaw locked? I can only know how it feels for me right now. And suddenly the experience becomes a conversation and not a task. It is alive.
This is how I hope we can continue moving together! With awareness. With feeling.