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Letting Go and Engaging

Letting go is such a funny thing. Our minds have mischievous ways of trapping us in this ever-changing life. What does it mean when we say someone is in control, under control, out of control, or taking control? Was there anything to control to begin with? My thoughts about control came to me in a workshop 5 years ago with Salique Savage.

We were in partners and were holding each other’s wrists. We were to engage in a movement dialogue where one person would input force the way they wanted, the partner would receive it in the way they wanted and send force back. It was a sort of dance. Salique asked us to move our bodies like sails. Sails use the wind to move the boat.Picture 1The wind can change and we are not in control of what the wind will do, but we can use our sail to make the best out of what the wind is giving us. We had a very hard time finding our sails. Our mind habits, I discovered are also our movement habits. Habits as we all know are very hard to break, so it was not “smooth sailing”.

The movement dialogue often did not sequence well. Some of us moved and moved and moved into our partner seeking some pressure back to work with while the other partner buckled joints, unable to sequence information into them and give outwardly. This often happened when we were afraid to hurt someone or do the wrong thing. The incessant moving person was not waiting to get information from their partner. (Monologue versus conversation) Imagine that relationship. Or, the other thing that happened is that one partner anticipated and tried to help the other partner by moving for them.  This was also disastrous because if I could not take care of myself and let my partner know what I wanted, he had nothing to work with, but himself and my assumptions of him. I was neither taking in his input nor digesting it to form an opinion about it and act on it. Imagine that relationship.

So do we really need to “take control” or do we need to engage in the world in a mindful way that encourages to balance our taking and inner processing with giving and outer action. It can be very hard to stay true to ourselves and stay engaged or attuned to one person or a group.  When you take in information, digest it, form an idea, or impulse, act on it, and realize it didn’t work or it hurt someone, it can be discouraging. Conversely, when you receive information that is disagreeable to you, it may be hard to stay engaged or to fully take in the information and process. We may limit ourselves to new experiences in this way. Sometimes we stay engaged too long when we clearly need a break or a change even.

All of the phrases I had known came racing back to me. “Be with, not for”, “help others to help themselves”, “help yourself first so you may help others”, “it can be hard to live your truth, but there is a rightness to it”. The experience of how hard it was for me to do this in a movement experience was shocking. It felt like I could not stop trying so hard to be right and as a result, I couldn’t be myself. I had thought I was over it, but it was a lingering habit.

Salique did not mention any of this. I love his simple brilliance. It was my own little “aha”. I love how in somatic practice, the teacher can plant one little nugget of information that can vomit into a huge life realization. That is why I continue a movement practice. It keeps me developing myself and likewise those that interact with me and vice versa.

That brings me to the letting go part. I had this dream that a Lion was trying to approach me to eat me.Picture 2No matter where I went, it would find a way in. The dream woke me up, and then I was so much in an alerted state by trying to escape the lion that I couldn’t go back to sleep. In wondering how I would calm down so I could sleep, I though that I needed to get out of the fight state. So I tried to control the dream so that the lion would go away. That didn’t work. Then I realized that I was fighting my dream where it maybe was not necessary to fight. So I decided to let the lion eat me. It started at my legs and worked its way up and I don’t know what happened next because I fell into a very deep sleep. Well I do know what happened. The lion got what he wanted, and I got what I wanted.