Somatic Solidarity: A Glimpse Into Lives of Bodymind

“We discover new modes of living when we share and embody our ideals together. We reach higher when we are patient and achieve progress together.”

Spiral Praxis is a somatic process that explores all manifestations of Flow within and without our bodymind. The realm within concerns those processes we identify with our own being—sensations, feelings, thinkings, movements, intuitions and so forth. The realm without relates to the way we interact with the world around us. Group dynamics are a very important part of these external interactions and they form a large part of our experience and study here at the Spiral Praxis Advanced Studies Program. Our way of living is geared towards creating a communal flow in which students are encouraged to pool their strengths and build towards a common vision of study, work, creativity and living.

The group process in the Spiral Praxis Advanced Studies Program is collaborative and involves every member of the student group. Everything we do is structured around common themes and nurtured as well-defined projects. A project is conceived either by the group as a whole or by an individual putting forward a thoughtful suggestion. The process that follows is organic and natural in which we all simply pitch in and work towards a common end. We do what is required in every situation; seldom more and never less. Somatics as a young professional career requires that we fulfill the mundane as well as the extraordinary—we see ourselves as paving the way for bodymind practitioners for years to come.

How does a group of people share their lives? How do they share their insights and education? How do people become collectively productive? How do they become tolerant of different viewpoints and ways of being? The voices below demonstrate how we are trying to answer these questions, not theoretically but through the simple embodiment of day-to-day life:

“This group is different from other groups I’ve been involved with in the past. We’re students, not quite colleagues yet, although we do work together. There is a very close connection. Although we’re not family — it feels like family. We live together, eat together and collaborate on projects. It’s okay to rest and be quiet together, which is something I haven’t ever experienced in a working situation. I can work AND listen to my body. An example of us working together is class notes. We talk about what happened in class and Andrew types it into the computer. At the same time, we talk about what graphics are needed and sketch them out. Then we each have jobs to do to finish the notes, such as editing or producing the graphics… that way, we do our homework together.”

“I am a programmer by trade. As such, it falls naturally to me to work on the future bodymind portal. This is my primary collaborative responsibility. For this project, I work directly with Yuji. Our process is efficient and iterative. Yuji and I meet to discuss a concept, direction, or feature for the new website we’re building. I then implement it, or make concrete progress towards completing it. At this point we review the work I’ve done together and plan the next step. Each stage of development is well-defined and achievable within a day or two of work…. We work in continuous increments to create a smooth workflow.”

“I mainly work on filming projects, documentaries, and graphics. We make films that express our vision. The three documentaries I have helped create each show individuals who are on journeys of self-discovery and healing. We followed the subjects in their experiences and changes throughout their day to day life. The specific people that are the subjects of our films aren’t meant to be looked up to; they are exploring universal qualities of life and are meant to be related to. Because the subjects are truly committed to making positive changes, our filming process flowed smoothly as their stories bloomed naturally over time as we followed them…the filming process itself becomes part of the bodymind process.”

“Our class has begun movement explorations together into depths of spiral dancing that none of us had yet experienced. It has been an awakening to becoming more present, aware, and joyful in our lives. In class we rediscover a playfulness and curiosity of how to look at movement, people, objects, interactions, touch… and apply this more interesting way of looking at things into our everyday lives. Simply by exploring things much more deeply we can find a deeper strength in ourselves, in who we are, and experience a beautiful and creative way of healing. Now we often find time to improvise together. It heals us and strengthens our connection to each other.”

“I work on outreach within our local community and beyond. It is getting in touch with the flow around us in the world and connecting to that flow on a calm, visceral level. I work with others in the group. Working together forms a group consciousness because we are in constant communication with each other and checking in with each other about what we are doing, how we are doing it, and what and how we are feeling. It ensures everyone understands the bigger vision; ensures that everyone understands what needs to be done; ensures that everyone has the right tools. Our group dynamic is a microcosm of our desired connection with the larger world.”

“The kids’ classes we all assist in teaching take place daily at the center. They are a place for children with a wide range of disabilities and special needs to gain motor-re-education. But much more than this, they are place for blossoming creativity, caring human connection, the development of emotional intelligence, and fertile play. These are all vital ingredients in the healing experience of the child. However, for us as a group, we ourselves learn deeply from, and with the kids. We progress together. Vitality is a two-way street and the children’s over-flowing enthusiasm can be infectious. Seeing the healing and progress of the children is a powerful teacher for the group.”

As can be seen from the descriptions above, the life of bodymind does not differ fundamentally from other group study situations — in this modern world, our modes of living are familiar and more homogeneous than ever. However, we feel that the awareness of bodymind dynamics allows us to tackle various necessities of life in a different way, using a process that encourages us to meld boundaries and work in flow. In our school, we attempt to begin our personal and professional visions just as we start our individual somatic explorations — as a unified body whose parts are always integrated with the Whole. And this is why we are able to write, film, dance, teach and study all at once in collective productivity.

We all want to flow according to the demands not only from without but from within — only through a strong balance between the inner and outer worlds can the bodymind be robust and sustainable. Education is a means to practice this balance. The relationships created through shared learning are beneficially undefined and always evolving; traditional social norms are actively updated in order to create interpersonal spaces that are dynamic and adaptable — from living, working, dancing, creating, exercising, child care etc. Within these living environs that we embed ourselves in we recognize these spaces themselves too can take on states within themselves. We build our own environments, inner and outer, and only through the process of balancing them can we reach states of truly human flow.

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