Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Letting Go

In the beginning, there is only the vague inkling that something must change. Then, gradually, there is the sense that something must give, but what? Eventually, the first crack in the armour of the psyche is either physical or emotional pain, or some event that grabs your attention violently, such as an accident or a change in circumstance. Are you able to move through the transitions in your life? Are you able to let go of knowing what comes next and be with not knowing? This vital life skill is one that can arise as a focus in learning AWARENESS THROUGH MOVEMENT as a practice. Posted by Hello


Letting go is often uncomfortable and frightening, but there are phases in life when it is absolutely necessary. Like a chick about to break through the shell that has housed them in complete safety. It's the only existence they have ever known. Learning to practice the art of letting go on a regular basis makes these transitions much easier.

One of the ways to practice letting go as a skill is to take AWARENESS THROUGH MOVEMENT (ATM) classes. There are certainly others, and this practice is not for everyone. But then, neither is yoga, or religion or tai chi. And yet, the overlap is unmistakable. The chance to practice letting go is presented. There are moments, in each lesson, when you do not know how to proceed. This is when you have a choice. You can either go into your habit, or you can learn to let go.

These crossroads are intentional opportunities woven into the lesson to stimulate you to generate new ways of doing familiar things. For, in movement, doing things in the same way over and over again can eventually lead to repetitive stress injuries or drastic imbalance in muscle tone from one side to the other. Symptoms such as pain, spasm or fatigue may be early warning signs that need to be addressed now, before they become so insistent that they require conventional intervention.

Another pitfall in the habit of doing things in the same way always, is that you fall into thinking you know what you are doing. In fact, you are merely doing something the way you have always done it, without question. This may not be a problem unless you are suffering some kind of pain or discomfort that you never had years ago. It may be that over the years, you sit in a certain way that has always worked for you, but now it hurts if you sit for too long. In this case, it's possible that your way of sitting no longer works for you. You need to take a look at how you are doing it. So, along comes the handy framework of an ATM and sets up the conditions which require you to find some other way to do it. Rather than showing you something you may or may not remember, ATM allows you to learn by experience. This is why it can be so baffling for people, because many people prefer to have things handed to them. They don't want to have to work for it.

Most people say they learned much more when they finally got out into the workforce than they ever did in school. This is because work experience is usually kinesthetic, you learn through doing a job. School is usually intellectual learning. You learn by reading about something. No one learns a skill by reading about it. You can teach it to yourself from a book, but you still have to do it.

An ATM lesson is like a puzzle that you are guided through. The instructor will provide the dots but you have to connect them somatically. You have to figure it out by feeling it rather than using your intellect. This is the aspect of ATM that sets this Method apart from any other. Yet, this is also what sets up the condition that there are times when you are not sure what to do., when you get to practice letting go. How do you handle it emotionally when you are physically stuck? Do you immediately get frustrated and annoyed? Do you take it out on other people? Do you go right judgement? Take an extreme example, perhaps you can remember a time when your back went out and you could not move. Terrifying? You bet. Enlightening? Not when that much fear is present.

An ATM is a setting intended to create a movement proposal without the element of pain, fear and discomfort. As a matter of fact, those conditions are detrimental to the learning process, they slow it down. The difference between these two settings is that in ATM you have an opportunity to check out your options in a slow, relaxed way. Not only is there no pressure due to pain, there is no pressure to succeed. Again, this can baffle people because they do not understand what the point is. Have you ever noticed how when it doesn't matter, you learn more easily? When you are not attached to the outcome, it's as if it creates an opening. Your perception of what is possible is not hemmed in by fear. This creates an opening for using parts of yourself you may not have used in years, or may never have used at all in the same way.

In an ATM lesson, there are rests. These rests are essential to learning for without them, the mind is overwhelmed. There is no integration of the movement. The nervous system cannot piece together the relevance of what it has discerned. The rests are crucial because it is most often in the periods of downtime that things start to make sense. Hind-sight is twenty/twenty for this very reason. But don't wait until life forces you to be still to take advantage of this principle. Do it now, while you can still move. You never know what amazing experiences await if you let go and take a risk to go where you have never gone before.


Learning to let go can be a window of opportunity for wonderful new adventures, like life, for instance...

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Comments & questions are always welcome. What are your biggest challenges? Have you had similar experiences? Where do you want to go with your own practice? Share your insights, don't practice in a void of isolation. Consciousness is everywhere!