"We have lived by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. And this was based on the even flimsier assumption that we could know with any certainty what was good even for us.......
We have been wrong. We must change our lives, so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption that what is good for the world will be good for us. And that requires that we make the effort to know the world and to learn what is good for it."
Wendell Berry from "A Native Hill" in The Art of the Commonplace
I ask myself as a confirmed city dweller, how can I become aware of the world. Reading Wendell Berry and others who are living and writing about it, of course. But how do I awaken my own ability to be present enough to learn?
I learn best by doing. And so I return to Judith Aston's teaching of finding a neutral posture or alignment (warning: my favorite topic). I use what I have learned and practice to sensitively move into and through the limitations and patterns of compensation of my own body to my best "neutral" posture. This is a place where my muscles, nerves, organs are more balanced and in better communication with each other. It is not a place of familiarity because any habit, good or bad can be familiar, but rather a rediscovery of "home." Resting in this place is not collapse. I can access my aliveness, and my ability to notice what is.
My favorite example of what becomes available in the world when I do this was during the 5 years that I was playing with the cello. I'm no musician, and I was in a lovely class with fellow enthusiasts working at playing. At times each of us would play solo for our kind and patient teacher. One woman played enthusiastically and uptempo, but rarely hit an accurate note. It made me a little crazy. I decided to experiment with my intention for her. First, I noticed how I was trying to help her, leaning my energy and body toward her. It decidedly did not help. I tried loving thoughts. Nothing. Then I brought my attention to doing the sitting arcing to neutral exercise. As soon as I hit neutral (some clients describe it as the feeling of "kachung!"), my mind opened and she instantly began to be more accurate. I couldn't believe it, yet over and over again she improved when I came back to neutral.
So what does this say about learning what the world needs? It needs us to be able to notice. Not just by looking around, but by inhabiting our bodies in the most optimal way so that when we look around, we might actually see.
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I'm Valerie Lyon, the Mojo Recovery Therapist.