Living Questions Part 1:
Somatic Sensing and The Real Conditions Of Intimacy
Think of yourself as an experiential scientist. You are the researcher. Your life and your experience is the laboratory. The dance is the experiment.
In this laboratory called LIVING, what you can see, sense, feel, test out and replicate for yourself is proof, it is the evidence, the verification, of what works. It reveals an experiential (or phenomonological) condition of reality. It reveals the true conditions through which consciousness arises. So, If it is true for the body & heart… it is probably TRUE. If we can embrace this in mindfullness, we can actually start to live non-dually – in body and spirit, in transcendence and immanence, AT THE SAME TIME.
Here’s a collection of questions about INTIMACY that I use when teaching Movement Genius, Dancing Freedom, Contact Improv and Partner Yoga. They are sourced from a lifetime of work in embodied leadership & practice, and from my coaching & healing practice. The basic premise: What is true somatically is true holographically. We can test things out for ourselves through real experiences and integrate what we learn on a CORE LEVEL through somatic awareness and mindfullness.
If we can feel and know it through the body, we can learn how to apply it to life. If some way of being is out of alignment with the body or heart’s well being, it is probably out of harmony with the universe, as well.
When I do this work, I create an agreement field that we are all on a level playing field in terms of our basic equipment. In other words, in a class filled with able-bodied people, we are all equipped with with two legs, two arms, a spine, the same sensory organs. We all have the capacity to move, the capacity to respond and the capacity to react. Most of us are dealing with hidden bumps, bruises or pain – either physical or emotional. We are all mammals; we are all people. We are all Spirits in bodies. We all have hidden vulnerabilites, and part of compassion is to allow presence for this.
We are all the same; and, each of us is an-other alive, creative & entirely unique self.
The only RULE is YOU CAN NOT DO IT WRONG.
For the first half of class, I ask you to focus primarily on the direct body-based experience, to dive into the minutia of our sensations. It is important to slow down and build the depth of feeling and sensing (direct perception) before asking questions that take us emotionally and imaginally beyond the our immediate awareness. Once the field of somatic sensing is awake, the the bridge between immediate somatic insights and the capacity to mindfully apply them to your life is totally open!
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• How are you listening to your partner?
• How are you listening to yourself?
• How are you meeting your self and this person in a new, fresh way?
• What do you know about them right now just by how they breathe and how they hold their body?
• Can you relax into connection to invite a deeper connection and trust from them?
• How are you bringing luminous awareness and presence to your actions?
• Where are withholding your awareness and presence?
• How are you attending to your body, to your own needs, boundaries and desires?
• Are you willing to articulate boundaries and needs? Can you do this with an open heart?
• Are you moving from INTEGRITY? Do you compromise basic needs for the sake of “the other” or in order to “get it right”?
• Are you willing to feel all the sensations that are present?
• Where is the sense of pleasure in your body? Be specific. Go more deeply into it. Breathe and move from there.
• Where do you feel deadness, dullness, pain or stiffness in your body. Be specific. Are you willing be present with this and to move and breathe into this place?
• Are you willing to be vulnerable?
• Are you willing to NOT KNOW?
• What new possibilities arise when you stay present and curious with not knowing?
• How do you experience your CENTER in partnership?
• What are the motives behind your actions?
- Are you trying to please your partner or the instructor?
- Are you trying to prove yourself?
- Are you trying to “do it right?”
- Are you trying to control the situation?
• CURIOSITY. How can curiosity support you to innovate, open and thrive?
• How is power showing up for you in this exercise? What are you learning about cooperation, feedback, balance, listening, trust & levity in relationship to power?
• Can you give and receive at the same time?
• What does “giving” mean for you?
• What does receiving mean for you?
• The way you are experiencing this exercise is a reflection of how you experience relationship in every other aspect of your life. What do you notice?
• Is competition showing up for you in this situation? How does competition support your success & excellence? And, how might it undermine collaboration and compassionate leadership?
• Are you willing to trust your partner? Can you trust yourself? What do you get when you CHOOSE this trust? What happens when you don’t trust?
• What is the difference between supple and rigid strength? Can you cultivate one while releasing the other?
• Are you more comfortable leading or following? Can you balance following withleading? What does this mean to you and your work?
• Can you balance effort with relaxation?
• Where is the “sweet spot” for you in the balance between striving and surrender?
• Do you feel more safe, present or empowered when you are giving or when you are receiving?
• What does this tell you about the ways in which you lead and build relationships?
• How do you want to apply the simple lessons you have learned from your body and your experience of your partner in this exercise to your life and your work?
• How can experiences like this support you to work and play more from your heart rather than your head (your ideas & goals about projected outcomes) or your will (the desire to maintain control over the outcome)?
• What qualities do you notice are most supportive of collaboration, shared leadership and ease?
• What did you learn about your own impulse patterns, motivations and commitments?
• Where were your growing edges? Do you want to commit to any particular mindfulness practices as a result of your experience today?
….Well, that’s maybe enough for a lifetime.
Next post: Questions on PURPOSE.