Monday, August 29, 2005

The Open Space of the Body

I have been blessed today with a wonderful experience. After working into the wee hours of the night and then again this morning, I finished up the funding proposal i have been working on just in time to go and have a visit with my friend K. Louise and to experience the amazing therapeutic massage she has been learning. In our conversation over tea beforehand, i was amazed to hear K. Louise speak of her practice in terms that sounded just like Open Space--but for the body! She spoke of opening and holding space in the body for me to rest in, to simply be with what is. And if i chose, i could experience what was there for me, what was held in the body--or simply rest and experience ease and bodily presence.

It was wonderful to hear her speak of her integrative practice--of truly embracing and caring for the body, mind, soul, and spirit--for the self and the social--of being present and fine with whatever arose, with whatever needed expression--in whatever way it needed to be expressed.

The experience was very deep. As i said to her, it was like going through a three day Open Space in an hour-and-a-half--in terms of the depth and openness achieved.

She finished by massaging my head which resulted in the most amazing state: total bodily relaxation, complete waking awareness, and dreaming--alpha and theta waves present at the same time--an experience i have only had before during meditation retreats--and this was definitely a result of what she was doing...really remarkable. (okay, okay...i was open to it and yah, have an awareness trained to recognize it...but cool)

And afterwards I was left with a sensation of complete permeability of the body. It's hard to put words to it really...not a sense of larger at all, but like all the atoms of me had been made more discrete and the space between more visible/sensable--and air and breath and sunshine and birdsong were passing through this light and open structure that was almost not there, but still very present and grounded...a truly unique experience.

So now i know...spirit is open space, soul is open space, heart can expand to be open space, mind can expand and relax to be open space...and the BODY can be open space too. What a gift. Thank you K.

(This should really help me to achieve perfection in Open Space facilitation--the totally present and completely invisible facilitator...[big grin, tongue in cheek]...)

One of the other things that we talked about was the real dearth of cherishing practices in our culture. Our bodies end up isolated and exiled and we are left with few ways to express how we feel for each other. There is this exhausting, malnourishing dualistic tension between the casual and the sexual, the acquaintance and the lover. Where is the place for the sensual and the dear?

We are a bunch of primates--for whom grooming activities (physical attention and closeness, non-sexual caress)are essential bonding, stress reduction and health improving behaviours. The narrow band of acceptable exchange creates needless pain and leaves many people literally starved for adequate physical contact. We know that babies thrive with physical touch, massage, and skin-to-skin contact of any kind. Why do we think that repressing this innate need for communion later in life is okay and has no significant consequence? Actually, i think a lot of us fully recognize the consequence, but, like me, have such deep conditioning, that it takes significant will and determination to break through the fear/shame/judgement to reach out across the abyss that divides us--for a simple touch of human kindness.

So, engage in an act of resistance on behalf of the revolution--next time you are out with someone dear to you--hold hands, link arms, give each other a shoulder massage, brush each others hair, pick nits...whatever...just do it...

Okay, i'm getting silly now...g'night dear hearts

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