The depth of your kinesthetic self - join the party

Photo on 11-10-14 at 2.23 PM A few days ago Steve Paxton, a legend in contemporary dance and performance, spoke at Burlington's Flynn Theater about his work.

The kinesthetic clarity in which Steve sat on the tall chair, the ease in which he got up to standing, the un-interfered energy that rippled through his hand and arm gestures as well as his face while articulating words was as mesmerizing as his past performances were.

Seeing and hearing Steve reminded me that our bodies hold our stories, our work, our strength, our life.  Our body carries a wealth of information as it fuels our life.  Our body as our loyal supporter and our home-base for this life.  Just for a moment, imagine your life without your body? Our bodies can be like our dogs waiting loyally and patiently for us, for our mind to arrive in order for the party to start.

Every sentence, every thought Steve articulated verbally was supported by his kinesthetic self. You knew he wasn't making things up or was trying to get somewhere. He just was. He had lived his experience, his questions, his process. He mentioned that he wasn't looking for answers. It was and is his curiosity that lends momentum to his work. He showed up in synch with his body completely and 100%, not despite of it.

The alignment of speech and movement, of  words and body, left me feeling calm, hopeful and inspired. I also was aware of the courage this alignment represents. This man, this movement artist, or researcher as he calls himself, isn't putting up a fight against his body, he lives with it, leans in to it and gives attention. His kinesthetic presence supports his notion:

"I like to research movement. I like to research the human body. The body is our final frontier"

As society we are busy flying to Mars and fighting wars on earth over geography, theology and matters that all lie outside ourselves. As humans we are fighting cancer, beating the odds, posturing ourselves to keep it all together and keeping our heads high.

Steve spoke about his interested in the sensation of the body and how he grows and trains his mind to have access to the sensation of his body.

I am thinking of Jacque Cousteau's underwater research. Through his books and films he was able to share his findings and process of a world, a frontier, that would otherwise be inaccessible to most of us. At the same time this part of our world that's under water is an important part of the planet we call our home. His work was important in making our ecological understanding a bit more whole.

With familiarity and understanding comes a sense of affiliation and benevolence.

We want to protect and nurture what's close to us, what we understand. It's the unknown, the unfamiliar that's the enemy.

With an understanding of the depth of our body, our kinesthetic self, this part of us that makes up  80% of our communication, becomes familiar. It becomes a vital rather than only necessary part of us and can make us feel a bit more whole.

Steve described how the mind needs to be able to witness our body. Based on the information our mind receives from our kinesthetic self, we then put ourselves in action. The plan of action can get readjusted every split second. It's up to a fraction of a second before we execute a movement that we do have the ability to change that movement. Our mind and body are brilliantly nimble that way.

In order for this highly sophisticated mechanism and internal complex feedback loop to work for our best, all we need to do is give attention. Mindful movement - movement full of mind.... mind not ego.

What happens when you listen to your kinesthetic self just for a brief moment before you begin sitting on that chair in front of you?

Don't be afraid or worried if you don't get any feedback on that first listen. It takes a while for your system to adjust, to understand that you actually joined the party. Just keep sticking around and listen in to the conversation of your kinesthetic self. Soon you will be in the loop of feedback and feed forward. This will allow you to be part of the process of , for example, sitting on that chair that's still waiting patiently in front of you - no ego attached. Just like your dog at home is waiting for you to arrive at the end of day.