We recognize ourselves and the world through shapes. For the purpose of this discussion, let us look at the meaning of shapes.
1.(n.) To adapt to a purpose; to regulate; to adjust; to direct; as, to shape the course of a vessel.
2.(n.) Form of embodiment, as in words; form, as of thought or conception; concrete embodiment or example, as of some quality.
3.(n.) A piece which has been roughly forged nearly to the form it will receive when completely forged or fitted.
4.(v. i.) To suit; to be adjusted or conformable.
5.(n.) To design; to prepare; to plan; to arrange.
6.(n.) Dress for disguise; guise.
7.(n.) That which has form or figure; a figure; an appearance; a being.
8.(n.) To image; to conceive; to body forth.
9.(n.) A model; a pattern; a mold.
10.(n.) To form or create; especially, to mold or make into a particular form; to give proper form or figure to. (http://thinkexist.com/dictionary/meaning/shape/)
We look at these letters and recognize its shapes. We look at the furniture in the room, the models of vehicles, the songs and the evocations of emotions and thoughts. There is an agreed basis that we don't question daily, but which we take for granted as the building basis of this reality. Similarly, we carry and present ourselves as shapes. Friends and family recognize as to what has been established and familiar. Strangers often peg us into a stereotype of what presents itself in the moment, for example from the way we dress or hold our stature whether uprightly or sloppily. We recognize ourselves through familiar shapes as well. We know we are sad when we feel a particular shape, heart aching, or recognize anger because of the heat and sudden compactness in our bodies. Similarly wonder presents itself as a particular configuration in our bodies and our faces light up.
When we come to this world, we are open to being informed. The way we hold our bodies, emote and think are directly correlated to our time and place. As I work within generations of the same family, I see similar ways children, parents and grandparents hold their sternums and lower backs. I note the trajectory of their affect to not be too different from each other. The adage "the apple doesn't fall very far from the tree" has proven to be more true than not. Unless we stop, reevaluate and bring awareness to this "belonging", we get stuck in this identity. The question is: are we at ease and at peace with this configuration? What benefits and payoffs are we getting from this shape?
In my work, I return again and again to the quality of openness to being informed that we all started with. We open this conversation and continue the curiousity and enthusiasm to be morphed into something new that is more optimal to a life that has more ease. Essentially, the intelligence of the body-mind will not adapt something new unless it is functional to itself. A particular thirty-year-old adult has lived in the most intelligent way its system has known to adapt and survive. No matter what anyone else thinks, whatever he has done has worked from the perspective of survival. These strategies of thinking, emoting, moving are strategies that worked to get him here. At this particular moment, these shapes are no longer the optimal way for him to thrive. What is familiar is no longer comfortable. When we recognize somatically that forcing ourselves to be small is not the same at being at ease in ourselves, then we caress that longing to be who we truly are, not by being defined by another in reaction to survival. We then walk in the world with an open heart, an exposed belly, occupying our width, breadth and length as a body. There is nothing to hide and protect.
Think of it as upgrading the system.
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.