At Freedom Friday in Tavira last night we danced the Essential Movement Practice idea of "natural". The word has many aspects. One which I feel I can communicate is "something that is unaffected by anything or untouched". We can go deeper and say it is expressed as ones "Buddha Nature" or ones essence. From the work I do as a "Learning Love" facilitator we learn about peeling away the protection layers around our core wounds of shame, shock, abandonment, fear.. and when we are in a more "take it or leave it kind of space" or "loose and open" then our essence shines through. Taking that into account I feel there is a natural essential nature always waiting to shine through in all of us on or off the dance floor. In our dance this essentialness can be very real and present. Osho said "let the dancer become the dance" this would in dancing terms be exactly what natural is. What an order ! I don't offer classes on becoming enlightened as I am not there myself but we can make tiny steps on the dance floor! Well I think at the most simple and accessible level we do just that in Essential Movement Practice. No goal in movement, no desire to do anything but move with the flow of the music. We all get these glimpses of what this is about and trying to force being natural is not going to work either. Again as Osho said we just have to be loose and open and the natural part will follow. Well I think he said that! So last night we approached natural through the body by using our breath and heart space. What is more natural than the breath and our heart. Using a modified Lathihan of my own creation we broke a 17 min meditation down into 3 stages. The first stage was coming into a relaxes heart energy by using heart coherence breathing. Then we moved into phase two where we were now relaxed and open and brought light and energy into our heart space on the in breath and then became aware of where it moved in the body on the out breath. So there was the opportunity to move the body where the energy or light from the heart was sensed. The third and final phase was really doing nothing but feeling and letting the body move in the way it wanted to with no direction or thinking. Just letting it happen. For some they found it boring and were troubled by it which raises the question of how conditioned we are to "doing". The point of some of the work we do in my classes is to become aware of these feelings. This is a wonderful awareness to have of being bored so not everything has to be ecstatic in the dance to make deep awarenesses. Some clues to what is "natural" is when we ask ourselves questions like .. "the most natural thing to do right now is to lick my plate clean as the sauce is so tasty but I should not because it is not polite" !!! Dropping our conditioning is a way towards "natural". In our dance we can create our own moves and not be worried about what others think about us. This is "natural". We continue in two weeks for the last class of the summer before we return in August. For more information on Open Floor classes in Tavira or my retreats and coaching sessions send me a message I would love to hear from you.
I thought I would give a flavour of what my classes are like. So read on if you want to find out more. At last nights Open Floor dance practice on the 14 June in Tavira we explored the quality of Flowing which is part of the Essential Movement Practice I teach. Open ...Loose..Natural ...Flowing are the core qualities that expand in depth to embrace certainly Open Floors 4 x 4 as it is called. In Open Floor these are the relational hungers for Solitude, Belonging, Spirit and Connection. They weave together with the 4 dimensions of embodiment that are the Physical, Emotional, Mind and Soul. So on the dance floor we always have something moving in us and Open floor practice helps us become aware of what is pulling or pushing us at any one time in the 4x4. It really is a joy to be offering classes to what is a small group at the moment of really passionate dancers. The idea of Flowing is nothing new. 5R has a part of its movement cycle called just that and probably many other modalities. Last night we explored Flowing using the idea of birds soaring and looking for a thermal to lift them and carry them. How does it feel emotionally, mentally, physically and in our hearts when we are in the flow or flowing in our dance. You know the feeling its like .."We have caught the wave "or we have found a thermal to lift us. In our dance we can find that sweet spot where there is a beautiful juicy energy of flowing were we just feel our inner body effortlessly move. There is no stress or pushing we are simply in balance and as we turn we find another point of balance and turn with that and so on and so on. Last night, taking the bird idea further we began to find our own flow then there was an invitation to see if we could find our group flow. Moving together sharing the flight..etc.. I feel that when I am Open and Loose and as unforced as I can be (natural) then I will find the flow. At times we may need to flap our wings a lot to get into the Flow thermal! This effort can be a habit or just a lack of trust or we need to because we have to do the foot work to get going. Last night we also looked at an inquiry that was simple and not edgy!! "How do I know when I am in my Flow" we could ask "How do I know when I am not in my flow"..."How do I get back into my flow".. etc. All the classes are simple body awareness and core movement resource based practices that help bring essential awareness to our lives. There is the chance to go deeper for anyone who attends.
One area we can explore is when we are in connection or we suddenly have a feeling of gratitude that comes upon us from no where then I find that this puts me into a flow. Equally I believe we can be in a flow even when life is not easy. I can feel lots of things going on and at the same time accept that this is not easy and resist less, be more loose and open to change and then suddenly we find from nowhere we are lifted by the thermal and up we go and away we go. Just keep on moving is something that I always thing is so true.
I will be giving a weekend workshop in August called "Wild Heart - Coming Alive" There we will be working with the body our energy and much more from not only dance.
Developing a Daily Morning Practice
The Essential Awareness Practice that I share enables awareness through being open, loose, natural and flowing. I thought I would slip this into the post at the beginning to anchor us as these essentials are the basis of everything!
WHY AM I WRITING THIS POST?
Well I noticed that sometimes I was becoming anxious in the morning when I woke up and felt under pressure to do my physical exercise routines, inspirational readings, meditation, yoga and dancing !! Ohpfffff….you get my point!
I was overcome with the thought of all of this! I realised that I had to look at what was triggering this need and create a new attitude based upon a more loving and flexible approach. How could I develop a loose non judgemental approach to getting started in the morning that would help me with shame and waking fears. What I have written or touched upon regarding shame, fear and judgements can also apply at any time of the day not just the waking hours. I have focused on this time of day because when approached in a certain healing way it allows the remainder of the day to flow. The contrary is true also that if I become identified by negativity at the beginning of the day then it could mean that I am crazy by breakfast and off the wall by mid morning !!
AWARENESS of my mental state when I wake up.
For me It is about becoming aware of what may be driving and motivating me to develop a practice that is natural and flowing according to what speaks to me each day. Trusting my wisdom and loving myself I find is essential. It is also about acknowledging that a daily practice of keeping fit or meditating can be motivated by fear due to rigid thinking and control. One can be afraid and judgemental if we miss a practice! Fear comes mostly because the thought of loosing control or projecting into the future some outcome that is limiting or not what one wants. It can also be based on inner judgements. Some thoughts just come into our consciousness uninvited. There is also a negative bias to consider as well according to research. "There is a greater surge in electrical activity from these thoughts . Thus, our attitudes are more heavily influenced by downbeat news than good news." according to Psychology Today. This is connected with our primitive survival system. The brain developed systems that would make it unavoidable for us not to notice danger and thus, hopefully, respond to it. The problem is today we don't face death at every corner like our ancestors but the brain still operates the same early warning system but on things that are negatively biased today. Our worries our anxieties our fears etc...
DEALING WITH THE WAKING VOICES
I do my best to Pause and give myself space and time to not get into identifying with them or giving them attention. In many practices this is called “watching” and to be able to feel the thoughts and become unattached to them even if they are painful or provoking. It’s like watching the sky and just noticing the clouds that move across it. These thoughts or voices can also be from our “Judge” who loves to put us down and criticise and ridicule us. The judge pushes us and takes the voice of many influential persona in our lives. “You need to do more”, “Your are not doing enough”, You are going to get fat”, “Look at the state of you” !! These are just examples of the judgements we can hear. The judgements have a “You.” statement. They then get personalised and adopted by our wounded self to become “I must loose weight”, “I need to smarten up”, “I am going to have to put more effort in to this”. It’s subtle as we sometimes don’t hear the judge and just hear our wounded self.
These judgements then trigger feelings and we then react to them in some way as a habitual protection mechanism. I may tell myself I have to do more or I may just collapse and procrastinate. The “Judge” is the voice of our shame and can be very active in the morning especially if there was unsettled business left over from the day before. If I am feeling bothered by something then I can usually tell that there is something that I am not embracing, acknowledging and dealing with. We can’t get rid of the Judge as it it is part of us but we can learn to distance ourselves from the voice. To give ourselves more space. To pause and move out of the trance it puts us in. These trances can be so quickly upon us that we hardly have time to notice how we became under their spell.
WHAT IS A DAILY MORNING PRACTICE FOR ME
For me it is something I do to help me strengthen and maintain my mind, body and spirit on a daily basis. It is also an ideal way of combatting the Judge and learning more mindful attitudes. Getting into action in the morning brings me alive and helps me shift into the right space to engage with the mind and spirit. In the case of the body I have found that with age I can’t neglect stretching and strengthening what would deteriorate and limit me if I did not give it some attention. So there may be some basic routines that are important for us to do for specific body areas as well as simply coming alive through MOVING the Body! Strengthening the centre and the frame helps us support better our emotional life. I gained this insight from my Learning Love teacher Krish who strongly endorses exercise and building a strong container as a way to cope better with our emotions. There is a lot that can be done in this area alone but my core routines change according to my daily needs. I find that yoga to energise and stretch the body is great. In my case I do Kum Nye *** yoga from Tibet for stretching and moving energy through the body. Then I do some Trauma Releasing Exercises for gentle emotional release and also for widening my emotional window of tolerance to handle life better on life’s terms.
Having a daily morning practice is also a great way to put my mind in a peaceful non reactive and non fearful worried space before I plan my day. This is entirely personal and I know that anxiety due to incomplete settling of issues or worries from the night before can prevent sleep and cause even more waking anxiety. Like this we come into the day with the weight of yesterday on our shoulders. If there is something that has the potential to bother me I may do more cathartic work like the Dynamic Meditation from Osho. This really does everything we need to clear the mind, move our energy and be present.
SOME IDEAS I USE TO GET INTO THE FLOW FOR THE DAY
TRE® is an innovative series of exercises that assist the body in releasing deep muscular patterns of stress, tension and trauma. The exercises safely activate a natural reflex mechanism of shaking or vibrating that releases muscular tension, calming down the nervous system.
** Dynamic Meditation
“This meditation is a fast, intense and thorough way to break old, ingrained patterns in the body mind that keep one imprisoned in the past, and to experience the freedom, the witnessing, silence and peace that are hidden behind these prison walls.
The meditation is meant to be done in the early morning, when as Osho explains it, “the whole of nature becomes alive, the night has gone, the sun is coming up and everything becomes conscious and alert.””
*** Kum Nye Yoga
Is a yogic practice from Tibet of working with energy. By inviting mind into the body, into the poses and movements, we can sense the inner experience of becoming alive.
To summarise. Our waking consciousness in the morning has an influence on how we carry out our morning practice. Judgements and fears sabotage the start of our day and our daily practice. To deal with these we need to take a more accepting, present and space giving approach to ourselves. We put ourselves on a good course for the day by starting with being present and allowing our body and inner wisdom direct us to what is needed that morning. I have outlined a few practices that I do and a way to get into the flow of a morning practice. It is mostly by experimenting and listening that we get to where we need to be.
I have shared from my own experience and therefore it is entirely personal. I hope that some of the ideas around working with the Judge may be of use. Perhaps you may feel that this area is worth more investigation and awareness. In Portugal we have space to welcome people to explore this inner work and offer personal sessions around your specific needs. The Essential Awareness Practice is about finding a way through many avenues to open up our potential. Please contact me for more information or questions on this blog. I would love to hear from you. You can find out more on my website thefloorisopen.com
I was feeling incredibly grateful after recently teaching an Open Floor dance class in Marseille. Much of the gratitude was coming from the fact that this is such a nourishment for me and privilege. I have just moved to Portugal and it is not as simple as it was for me in Helsinki to teach. The feeling of gratitude was for the opportunity to share whenever these chances come to me.
So it was special for me to be in Marseille ! In a sense my giving a class is just as much an experience for me as I hope it is for the people who participate. It is not about giving a performance and measuring how well it went. Was the music right for the energy ? Were the instructions clear? Did people understand! No, it was not this but the unique opportunity to meet everyone in the same place and bare our souls together...At the crossroads of the spirit. (reference the courage to teach by Parker J Palmer). When I am as natural and open as I can be then I am meeting the group and individuals on equal ground in a common space at the crossroads where we all come together. I simply let go and fulfil my role as space holder and trusted guide for that moment!!
So every class I teach is a gift to me and an opportunity to reflect on what I experienced, to grow and transform it and to offer it back to the collective consciousness of the class.
This is just a short note and reflection to acknowledge that the student and teacher come together to create something. We need each other to do this and the essence of the practice is just to be loose and natural and allow things to flow and to let go of our expectations and roles. Simply be aware in that moment. To be open to each other and vulnerable.
Thank You and may we meet on the happy road of destiny.
I arrived in Santa Cruz Portugal in December last year and have had very little time to connect and offer classes in the area. I teach Open Floor Conscious Movement and combine it with Tantra and work from Krish and Amana of the Learning Love Institute. I was writing about a class I am giving in Marseille this September called “Open the Box” and then felt it would be nice to share it here so I can reach out and offer my thoughts and ideas to others and build connections.
To the subject of Open the Box!. The first word is "open". The box well you can imagine what that is! When I am open to someone or something then I can become many things. I can create more possibilities. My body can reflect Open as I dance and move with more space and allow my self to flow. Nothing can really move in me unless I begin to be Open. With opening my attention I can feel in my body how closed, tight or loose I am. Then I can consciously begin to work through my body areas (chest, shoulders, hips etc.. to become more open. What also helps me is to direct my energy through breath to open up the body. I can also use images to help with this. My body is like the sun coming over the horizon with more and more light coming forth. My arms reach out like rays and lights shines from my fingers and toes. My heart is the sun. This can be a beautiful meditation with movement as well.
Open is also a very much a beginning point or returning point as I find I am in a state of constant change. Something my have entered my mind and caused my emotional body to produce tension that in turn closes me down a little. It can be subtle! I get lost, distracted or enter into inertia and don't even realise it!! This brings us to our emotional landscape. How closed or open am I to anything? How much do I baseline my experiences and then project them into situations. Taking an experience and then believing it will always be like this for better or worse in the future! Open in the sense of attitude and behaviour offers lots of possibilities. If I wish to move away from some situation or stop an unskillful behaviour then I may need to be open to new ideas as my old ideas may not serve me any more. Am I going to hold on or be open to change? This whole area can be quite scary and bring up lots of things that can be so beautifully moved and included on the dance floor. I simply open my body, mind and spirit to allow more space inside me. In this space we can find the connection to a greater energy that can transform. I become open, aware and present feeling what is happening. I give it movement and space and from that space where I can be loose and natural things can happen and will happen!!
All of this begins simply with conscious movement. I teach what I call an Essential Movement Practice which is to be Open - Loose - Natural and Flowing. Each part offers a marvellous opportunity for bliss. I was inspired in part to teach this by the song of Tilopa to Naropa as described in Osho's book "Tantra the supreme understanding"....
"The void needs no reliance,
Mahamudra rests on nought,
Without making an effort,
but remaining loose and natural,
one can break the yoke -
thus gaining liberation."
Movement and Awareness are my medicine . I dedicate my life to growing more conscious and in turn sharing and supporting others who wish to do the same. This blog is a way for me to do this and to reach people and share my ideas. Some of the subjects are about my Open Floor teaching in Portugal and some of the post are related to Tantra and Spirituality
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