The embodying of an art form, practice or ourselves, means a two-fold process: learning the "rules" well, living them so they are a natural reference point, and then letting go of the rule's structure. Only then is there a deep confidence in one's "Way" and a freedom in that Way. Only then do we become ourselves, or form art or live a practice.
I am not particularly a lover of rules. In fact for me, it has always been a secret pleasure to bend and/or go against them. Rules often impinge upon "individuality", a self's impulse. They are often restrictive, even stifling. But as in all things, there is a season, a time for everything. So there is a time to understand and live the rules (without them absconding who You may Be). To blindly identify and attach to rules, whether they be a religious or spiritual practice or a craft/art, is to live bound. There comes a time when stepping beyond the structure of rules is necessary to grow oneself and one's practice up.
Despite my deep love and appreciation of Authentic Movement practice, I almost always have an inner eye roll when the form's guidelines get raised in a new group. They are practical and almost entirely safety based; why take the trouble to bring them up, we all know them.
|Glenn Gould's hands, Paul Rockett photo|
As I witness my mover, I remain standing, this being somewhat irregular in the form. The mover's process is intense and the witnessing requires a significant renewal of self-grounding on my part. I find myself moving slightly (maintaining stillness is a norm in the practice) to what I witness. This standing and moving is necessary for me to stay present and unattached. I have an impression of myself being a samurai; knees are bent, feet wide apart, arms bent in front of me as if protecting my dantian, my torso, my 'home'.
|photo credit: David Whyte|
My witnessed mover has moved out of the moving space and is now witnessing. I enter the space as a mover, running, skipping, jumping lightly, releasing any held tense material. I circle and bend and turn and feel absolute lightness and joy. My face feels open and ecstatic. I become aware of another who has entered the circle. She is following me; it actually feels like I am being stalked. I feel she wants a part of me. It comes to me that this needs to be confronted. I stop circling and stand in my samurai pose. I am surprised at how relaxed and unafraid I feel. The other mover doesn't hesitate to move into my body and attach. The primary guidelines for contact in AM-- to move slowly, wait for cues that mutual engagement is desired by all parties, has not been maintained. My samurai arms move swiftly up disengaging the mover. I feel angry at the violation.
The concepts of following the rules and being embodied seem antithetical on the surface. But they are related, part of the same process. We have our attitudes about words, like "rules" and "embodiment". When these attitudes relax into an open inquiry, a word and its previously assumed meaning becomes an unknown. It isn't attached to the attitude any longer. I can have a different, fresh experience of it.
|photo credit: Estudio Pirata|
No matter how mature one is in a practice or art form, returning to and letting go of the rule's of the form is necessary. As one becomes more seasoned, they are a light reference point touched upon and released. As in all rules maintained in society and elsewhere, one doesn't have to think of them, they are well established in our interior. When this is mature in us, embodiment of a material and of ourselves is possible, in large part to the safety of the rules we have integrated over time and practice. How do I know where I am in this way? Our self-awareness becomes more refined with practice. I begin to see the natural adherence and letting go of the guidelines and the oblique repercussions. This is my maturity, my seasonedness. This is how I know where I am in the practice.
Germaine Fraser writes her own blog at this link: IntegratedMedPhiladelphia Thanks to Germaine for submitting to our blog this article so pertinent to our practice.