Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The 3 Anatomies Of Embodied Experience

It's been 6 months since you've heard from me and since today is my 62nd birthday, I thought I would write a blog entry and let you know how life is unfolding. I am alive and thriving, even though it's not necessarily easy or always "going well." But that's the reality of life, and I'm so happy to be alive that I am quite content.

The things that are important to me these days are going well: I continue to shrink my newest of breast tumors. My next big scan is in November. Although my hands and feet are seriously compromised, and I am frequently slowed down or stopped by fatigue, I am mobile and up and around in my little world. Steve and I are very happy together. Fall and winter are on their way. The planet is still alive. The government can't go on forever like this. The MeToo conversation has expanded into the abuse of power at many levels. I'm trying to hold the long-term bigger view. I do a lot of lovingkindness meditation and I am writing a lot these days.

I am thinking about my legacy; what do I want to leave this world when I'm gone? I can only take care of so many people one-on-one, or in classes and workshops, but many can read what I write, so I'm putting my energy on paper. "Transformative Self-Care" will become a book someday. In the meantime, I teach a workshop by this name at Kripalu once a year. My next workshop dates will be May 5-10, 2019. Registration should be open any day now, if you'd like to come.

I am also working on an interview about "The Creativity Of Health" with Elisabeth Osgood-Campbell for Watermark Arts. You can check out my contributions by visiting the site and visit the other galleries and list of events while you're there. The interview won't be done until sometime next stay tuned. If you don't want to miss it, go to Watermark Arts and sign up for their mailing list.

I am the editor of the soon-to-go-live blog section of the Continuum Teachers Association's new website. You can read about Continuum and search for a teacher or workshop near you. The site is being upgraded as I type this, so check back for updates if you visit the site and the calendar and blog are not up yet.

I am giving you a preview of the first blog entry I am posting on the CTA blog. For those of you who aren't Continuum folks, this is one of the many foundational concepts in our somatic movement awareness practice. Read more on my website or at the CTA's website, or better yet, come to Kripalu this May! I would love to spend 6 days with you all.

The 3 Anatomies Of Embodied Experience
Emilie Conrad, the inspirational founder of Continuum described in her work three distinctions of embodied experience: the biologic/primordial, the personal/cultural, and the cosmic.  These distinctions were not intended to separate experience but to highlight our ability to seamlessly move and shift attention between domains with awareness. 

She invited us to inquire about how much of our lives are trapped in our attachment to a view through a cultural or personal lens. We each have a unique life experience based on our particular circumstances dictated by our families of origin, our culture, and our physical and emotional individuality.

While it may occasionally be effective to view and experience the world through the lens of each of us as individuals, it is crucial to remember that we are much more than our biography. She enhanced our embodied experience of our “self” to include what she called the primordial or biologic anatomy. This domain is the natural world of the living human body and this basic fundamental field is common to all humans and is shared to some extent by all living beings. This is the instinctual and inborn world of biologic function, and the primordial basis of growth, development, healing, adaptability, and change.

The cosmic is by definition the “something greater” that holds all other fields. The cosmic is not a belief system. The cosmic is not an opinion. The cosmic is not a religion or a specific spiritual path. We exist in a universe where the parts are in relationship with the whole, and the whole is unimaginably vast. The cosmic spans the known, the unknown, and the unknowable. 

Cultivating an awareness of these distinctions of embodied experience is a profound and powerful aspect of Continuum practice. This broad awareness allows us to “fly under the radar” of our usual limitations and defenses or to “sneak in the back door,” as Emilie used to say, and have an unexpected experience of the vast potential of expression of creative living. If movement is what we are, not what we do, then we must continue to be curious and ask, “where and how can the expression of movement in my life be enriched – in the personal, in the biologic, in the cosmic?” 

She called it “Three Anatomies” because people tend to overly use their sense of their physical anatomical body as a reference point for their identity. Perhaps there are more than three anatomies. It’s the question that is more important than the number of anatomical domains we can count. These three are just models of our experience, not the actual territory. If all people could broaden their awareness to consciously include all three anatomies, and choose which one, if any, needed to be tended, then we would exist in a state of infinite possibility that she called being “a broadband virtuoso.”