When something new is introduced to your life, what sense of your self emerges in relation to this newness? Newness could be a new car, a new idea of changing vacation plans, a cancellation of a date an hour before, a new job, a new home, a new dance movement? Do you feel excitement, fear, weirdness, difference? Is it followed by a sense of being judged, a big gap, a just right feeling or even awesome, some disorientation, a surge of new feelings (aliveness) with more breathe, more space in heart and belly, a felt sense of beig supported by gravity in clear distinct way?
This article explores the relationships we have with change and how habits are maintained. I invite you to explore what emerges as you add new possibilities in your day to day decision making.
Earlier this morning, I watched a young girl with her father on the beach. She must have been no more than three years old. She was filled with excitement as she ran towards the shore to meet the foamy waves. As soon as the waves approached, she ran even faster to not get caught by it. She then jumped up and down declaring her victory and delight. She then repeated the movement towards the waves and again with a free giggle allowed herself to be chased by the cold water. Her father was quiet not too far away. He did not encouraged nor discouraged the young girl.
From the other directions, two young boys wanted to play as the young girl did. They were, however, hesitant to approach the waves and would looked back at their mother for an approval to continue. She said nothing at first. Then the boys began to approach the waves a little and the mother discouraged them with her words. The emotion and body language in the boys were the pull between contraction and expansion - running towards the sea. There was a look of envy for the little girl who had full permission to jump up and down, to and from the waves.
Is the child feeling free to play and explore her own relationship with the incoming waves? What is the father's response/reaction? How free is the child's play from the father's intervention and support? If the child falls into the water and gets cold, how does the father meet her cries, uncertainty, doubt, excitement, etc?
The above event points clearly to relational structuring. Despite our best attempts to think that we are islands, we actually are formed by our relations. Please take this moment to reflect on the experiences that are evoked in your body, emotions and thoughts from these questions.
How do you experience your adventures with newness? Were you supported by your parents with their words, looks, gestures? Take an example of when you were five years old, ten years old, sixteen years old?
Were you encouraged to play? What physical proximal distance away from you was comfortable for your parents? How often were you expected to check in? Did it have a relationship to their anxiety? Your anxiety? Did it differ between siblings? Between brothers and sisters? Did this particular flavor become an identity of yours into your adulthood that when it is not present, you feel that something is missing?
Notice the relationship of early developmental patterning with the way as adults we relate with newness in our lives: new projects, different ways our spouses do things than we do, abrupt change in schedules? How close is your anxiety to change? What is your relationship to disorientation (which is really just another orientation)?
Feldenkrais speaks of the human body as made to function optimally in a state of uncertainty. Being on two legs instead of four gives us a narrower base, which means the possibilities for movement expands exponentially. Moreover, our brain is made to learn. Habits do not induce learning. So even if we add a small change to a habit, the brain eats it up and sees it as something new. A new neural connection is established.
My name is Kathrina Peterson and I invite you to participate in this forum around awareness and movement. I have been a Buddhist meditator for over 20 years and have been exploring in depth what it means to develop as a human being: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. This is my passion, both on a personal and a professional level. I welcome you to share thoughts around what it means to be awake.