Embodied Mindfulness

Surviving to Thrive: A Union of Intuition and Reason by Ariel Carson

All living things are survivors. We are built to keep going forward until our last moments. But rather than just plodding along in survival mode, how can we move in the direction of thriving?

When we have unresolved trauma in our lives, it’s as though some part of us does not understand we survived. Even if the perceived threat has long passed, some part of us believes that we are still in danger, and our nervous system behaves as such. This affects everything from how we digest our food to how we interact with our friends and loved ones. It informs how we sense the world around us, and therefore how we move through it.

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Let's Organize Ourselves Around Spaciousness by Ariel Carson

What would it mean to organize our mind-body-selves around spaciousness and move from there? If there are an infinite number of points between any two points, then we can infer that there is an infinite amount of space between each of these points as well. It follows that between every atom in our bodies there is an infinite amount of space. We can therefore consider ourselves permeable, interconnected, affected and affecting our environment near and far. We are not closed systems acting in isolation.

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The Anxiety of Doing Less by Ariel Carson

Summertime is when we grant ourselves greater permission to take it easier. Maybe it's just that the heat slows us down, or our bodies forever remember summer vacations from school, but somehow we've collectively agreed that July and August mean it's okay to Do Less.

As someone in the business of helping people Do Less in their mind-body-selves I am in full support of this seasonal credo. However as we age, a sneaking mistrust of the ease this practice affords can overtake us.

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Mindfulness and the Alexander Technique by Ariel Carson

An article entitled "No Time to Think" by Kate Murphy published in the New York Times Sunday Review on July 27th, 2014 states:

"In 11 experiments involving more than 700 people, the majority of participants reported that they found it unpleasant to be alone in a room with their thoughts for just 6 to 15 minutes."

It speculates that the constant busyness many of us seem to experience, and sometimes even glorify this day and age, may just be a tactic for avoiding self-reflection. Busyness distracts us from acknowledging the reality of our thoughts, emotions, and sensations -- particular those we consider "negative". 

As an Alexander Technique teacher and resident of the City that Never Sleeps, this does not come as a surprise to me. Many of my students and fellow city dwellers spend their every day powering forward with no time for pause, working nonstop to get ahead in their careers, going to the gym, bouncing from one social engagement to the next, running errands, and keeping up with social media 24/7. But this pace is not sustainable. Whatever feelings and sensations we shut out get pushed down in our psyches, only to bubble up in unexpected ways at unexpected times. Without time for self-reflection, we're just hurtling through our lives on auto-pilot, limiting our capacity for growth and change.

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