Each month Body Comes to Mind hosts the Embodiment Lab (EL) where we explore topics that impact our personal resilience and wellbeing. These live, interactive sessions serve to supplement our online courses and to provide a training ground for anyone interested in transforming reactability into response-ability through the powerful tool of embodied awareness. Following is an outline of what we experienced during the lab, including paraphrased quotes from participants.
We watch the pendulum as it swings back and forth. The shaolin master is using it as an analogy for grasping after and resisting things. And we can easily see the effect: When we pull something toward us we work against gravity; pushing takes effort and depletes our resources . . .
Pushing & Pulling
It’s natural to want things close that appeal to us and to avoid things we don’t like. It is also the law of physics that eventually whatever we are pulling toward us will move farther away, and that which we are pushing away will move closer. So how do we navigate that inevitability? When we are grasping out of insecurity or slight desperation, or rejecting from fear of discomfort or something taking too much effort, we burden others, rob ourselves of connection or shift out of our alignment.
This month’s Embodiment Lab focused on Part 1 of The Law of Attraction & Avoidance: Attraction. We used Embodied Exploration to discover our unique relationship to things we pull into our lives. We found out how grasping affects us, how we react when things slip away and what happens when we guide them away. Most importantly, we honed our innate skills to shift toward alignment and connection.
The Law of Attraction
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Where is Attraction in Our System?
By exploring the place in our system that was activated when we pulled the pendulum toward us in the first exercise, we developed an embodied awareness that we could refer to later. One participant felt grasping in the throat and chest area, both contracting when activated. For another it was the solar plexus. Generally the sensations were in the upper part of our bodies and were slightly activating: tightness in the heart area, tense guy, tingling around the sternum . . . even a little nausea! We can use these sensations as a guide: when we feel that in our system, might it be related to over exerting to get or keep something?
The first exercise also gave us a sense for how pulling something toward us might change with distance: “In the beginning it is nice and pleasant. But when I pull it in closer, it starts to feel constricting, like I’m choking.” And also with speed! When we’re working through embodied exploration we may need to slow things down to get a sense for how they impact our system.
We were again reminded that whether we feel a certain way because we are using our muscles or because we are tensing our muscles as a result of sensing something, the sensation informs us about where we are in that moment. Whether we are pulling on something literally or figuratively, our system is activated. We can recognize when we are over exerting.
And how might that exploration relate to relationships? The resistance we feel from someone and the effort we’re putting into the connection is sending us vital information!
The Act of Pulling and of Letting Go
And when we shifted the unexpected slipping away to either intentional letting go or guided placement, we realized that being “out of control” was disturbing to our systems. That’s not surprising. To our head, anyway! We forget that just knowing something conceptually, in our head, is often vastly different from how our body+mind system receives it! And as we know from the study of neuroscience in the context of the physiology and the autonomic nervous system, the body filters all incoming information well in advance of our conscious awareness.
So here we found that our system was generally more comforted by being able to be involved in the letting go of the object. “It seemed much more fun and joyful. No deception anymore. I was just happy to see the object going its own way . . . But there remains a vague pain in the belly”
Control seems to play a role here: “I enjoy it more when I can decide to let go, instead of letting it slip.” In fact, one participant realized that they had not been allowing the object to slip from their hand at all, but had instead been purposefully letting it go:
How We Control Attraction
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