Friday, 24 October 2014

On 15:11 by Victoria Stanham in , , ,    No comments
A blog about the importance of giving yourself space 

Hello. Nice to see you here!

Today I’m starting a new series of blogs in which I mean to elaborate on the 6 principles that I work from.

This is why, in order to honor this new beginning, let’s take minute to center ourselves and return to the present. With closed eyes let’s slowly and deeply breathe in and out.

Today’s purpose is precisely that: to talk about this action of centering and returning back to yourself. I’d like to communicate to you a bit about how powerful and integrative this simple act of returning to your body before every new action can be.
We’ll therefore talk about the Principle of Context and Content.

And since we’re going to be talking about returning to our bodies, it’s a good idea to feel it a bit to begin with.
I invite you to yawn and stretch, move your joints a bit. Whatever makes you become aware of the physical presence of this fabulous container: your body.

Ready? Great. First the theory.

Principle of Context and Content:

Context determines your experience of the content.
This means that how you do something has a direct influence on how you live it. In other words, the conditions in which you perform the action are fundamental to your opinion of said action.

In terms of your body-mind, context is determined by space.
It’s quite different to perform a physical movement with space in your joints, than to do so in a state of compression and collapse.
It’s quite different to make a decision when you give yourself space for thought, than when you’re hurried.
It’s a quite different emotional experience to get in a tiny lift by yourself or with a close friend, than to do so with a stranger.

Minding the context does not mean ignoring the content; rather it means giving the content the best conditions for its manifestation.
The content (your ends) are the reason why you do stuff. If you go to a talk on a subject that interests you, you do so because of the information that will be imparted. In order to take full advantage of said content, know yourself, know what suits you and what doesn’t, mind your conditions.

Coordinating your context is the first step in every action.
First we need to organize ourselves both internally and externally; then we take action in the world. Certain people are born with natural inner coordination. If, like me, that is not your case, learning to coordinate and integrate your mind-body functioning should be a priority.

Enough theory, let’s get practical.
But first, let’s move a bit, shall we?
Interlace the fingers of your hands, rotate the palms outwards and stretch your arms forward and up. Release the fingers and let the arms come down slowly, drawing big semi-circles down your sides. Close your eyes and shake your arms and shoulders.
Great. Let’s move on.

Today’s practical bit has 2 components:
1. Creating a Safe Space.
2. Stopping and Remembering Myself.

1. Creating a Safe Space.

a) Physical Space:
The place where we perform our activities is importante for our sense of confort, security and freedom. All our senses are involved in this.
- Look around and check if what is in your visual field is pleasing to your eyes. What about the sounds? And the physical sensations? Smells? Company? Adjust whatever you need to feel safe and at ease.

b) Body and Mental Space:
Your skin, your muscles, your bones, your organs, all of them give you consistency, limits and support, as well as fill up your internal spaces. Learn to become aware of them with any of the following ideas:
- Feel your skin by caressing it all over your body, in all the nooks, crannies and crevices. Alternatively you can do so by showering, taking a bubble bath, or standing in the breeze.
- Check out some anatomy images where you can get a general idea of your bones, muscles and organs. Give yourself a loving massage while you palpate the different bits, becoming aware of their consistency, elasticity, density.
- Alternatively, try out some of the self-observation exercises I give in this blog, or this one.

Your thoughts also have a quality and consitency, get to know them and note their effects in your body.
- An excelente practice to discover the workings of your mind is to try a simple mindfulness meditation, following your breath.

c) Personal Space:
The space that surrounds you is also part of your personal space. It pays to recognize it and inhabit it.
- Notice how it expands and contracts depending on the circumstances. What determines its expansion or contracting? Can you do so voluntarily?
- If you are sitting, note how you can integrate the chair to your sensory system and “feel” where its legs touch the ground.
- With your feet on the ground, note how you can be aware of the floor not only right under your feet, but also around your feet. How far can you “feel”?

d) Shared Space:
We share our spaces with living and non-living things.
- Note how you react when something or someone comes into your personal space.
- Note how others react when you invade their personal space.
- Note if it makes a difference when permission to share space is requested and granted, both in yourself and in others.
- Ask someone you feel comfortable with to take your arm and move it around, while you keep your awareness in your inner and outer spaces. Do you contract away from the contact at any point?
- Switch roles and move your friend’s arm around. While you do so, be aware of your inner and outer space, integrating your friend’s space in your movement.

2. Stopping and Remembering Myself.
During any of the above practices you’ll notice that at times your attention has wandered off the task at hand. When you do so it’s time to stop and come back to yourself.
Returning to yourself is returning to your inner and outer spaces, it’s creating space for yourself and being aware of it.
Returning to yourself is how you take care of your context, so that your experience of life’s contents is as enjoyable as possible.

Well, that’s all for today.
Today’s was a longish blog. If you’ve read this far you surely need to move a bit your body again. Let’s yawn, stretch and shake like a wet dog one last time.

That’s better. As usual, any doubts, questions or comments you are welcome to leave them in the space for comments below.

Let’s breathe together one last time. In… Out… Ah!

Thanks for stopping by.
See you next time.


Victoria

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