Begin With Attention
Happy new year!
Bucky and I just got back from a family holiday vacation amid the warm sands of Florida. While it wasn’t swimming weather, and I shivered if I wasn’t wearing my sweater, the mid-morning sun was warm and brilliant. We took long walks on the beach while the waves flirted with our toes.
It was so nourishing to stand next to Mother Ocean for so many days in a row. Her ability to hold and sustain life is nearly impossible for me to fathom. So I remain in awe of her. Her wisdom teaches me how to hold space to allow the life within to flourish. That’s why I call her Mother Ocean. Mothers hold space — in many different ways.
Speaking of mothers, here we are; a brand new year is birthed into being as the sun completes another revolution around the sun. A new yearly cycle begins.
The first full moon of the year shines down on us today — January 1st — fully connected to the Ocean and her whiles. The moon, just like the ocean, holds the deep. Holds what might never rise to the surface but for these precious times when the moon is as full and luscious as it is today.
This first moon also boasts the status of supermoon, which means La Luna is closest to the earth that she can get, making her seem larger than life, hanging in the sky like a juicy white pomegranate. With all her strength and style, she shows us how to start the year off with a party. To begin by shining brightly, without hesitation. Her power resonates within each of us, drawing out our vulnerabilities and deep-seated truths by baring her own.
How many of us create resolutions or goals to begin the new year with?
The cosmos are sharing their new year resolutions loud and clear — begin strong, brilliant, illuminated.
Don’t fear your truth. Attend to it. How we begin the year sets the tone for how we approach the entire year.
How does the new year’s full moon—supermoon relate to your movement practice?
The cosmos’ truths can be applied to every movement you choose to execute: the attention with which you begin a movement sets the quality, rhythm, tone, & expectation that is carried throughout the entire movement.
As a somatics educator, I often discuss movement initiation with my clients. I ask them: where is this particular movement coming from? Where does it begin in your body? Each body has a different answer, a different logic with which it organizes movement sequences.
When we challenge patterns, habits, comfort zones within our movement, we are able to discover new spaces within ourselves, new ways of moving, new perspectives.
In the midst of this initiation question, many of my clients will say they’ve discovered new muscles they didn’t know existed. They’ve liberated parts of themselves from years-long habits!
The same exercise can be executed many times over with a different approach or awareness to draw out various sensations, experience, strengths, weaknesses….
The same arm raise could initiate from the collar bone, shoulder blade, shoulder socket, finger tips, elbow….and so on. And while your body has most likely determined its favorite method for raising my arm, there are infinite options. Each option will hold a different path. It all depends on what path I’d like to travel.
The more clearly I choose an initiation point — a beginning — the more clearly the duration of that movement will be.
Try this little experiment of initiation:
And remember, you can't do any of this wrong. You're just collecting information about your movement. Everything is done to illuminate your awareness.
Lift your arm without thinking about it.
Do it again and this time notice…
Where does it go? Does it head to the ceiling? the side of the room? Is your arm straight or bent?
Do you feel the muscles on top of your shoulder working? Did your neck tense?
Now, bring your attention to your fingertips. How clearly can you sense them?
This time, initiate your arm-raise with your fingertips. Does that feel different?
This time, initiate your arm-raise with the center of your shoulder socket.
Now, initiate with your elbow.
Now, with your neck.
Do each of these initiations reflect a different experience of the same movement?
Maybe. Maybe not.
If you didn’t feel much difference, try it with the other arm. It may have a different story to tell.
We can all travel through the same year together, and each have unique experiences. We always will. But how we each decide to initiate a new cycle will send us along a certain trajectory. By beginning with a little awareness, we are actively choosing our trajectory and are more attuned to changes that need to be made later down the road.
As in life, so in movement. Know where your movement comes from — how it begins. Does it feel good or is it simply habit?
Just as 2018 begins with full attention, may each of you easily discover new pathways with which to explore your movement.
Just as 2018 begins with a fully illuminated moon, may each of you illuminate your year with intentions that serve your highest good.
May it be a juicy, fluid, expansive new path.