Built into our biology are mechanisms of mind which continuously assess value (+ or -) to our experience. The biological necessity of such mechanisms is obvious: we are designed to survive. To assign value (+ or -) allows us to make decisions in childhood, (the most vulnerable time period) that support our physical or psychological survival. For example, Mom is angry.
As humans we are resilient creatures. This makes us great survivors, and it can also create a blind spot in our approach to our wellbeing. We can go to extremes without realizing. For instance, we enjoy the taste and feeling of a soda, we end up drinking it every day. We can work till we get too sick or have all work with no play, or all play with no work. We can get obsessed with an exercise or let go of any healthy movement because we can survive anyway.
Wilhelm Reich is an important influence in what I am about to share so all aspects of our being are part of the process. The gentle movements that I’m writing about help me feel present in my body and ready for the day before I even step out of bed. They loosen segmental blocks that have occurred and continue to occur during my life and keep me lubricated and open from the inside out.
The trick in midlife is to keep moving, to breathe through it, allowing the muscles to soften, the mind to begin to rest, and the heart to begin to open. Keep practicing. As I dedicated more and more time to my own practice, sadness began to move through my body and into consciousness with each hip opening. Fear fluttered in my belly as I kicked my legs up the wall in my first handstand since I was 12. And joy! So many moments of joy as my body had another “aha moment” of recognition. Asanas, the funny shapes we make in yoga, were a secret portal. Yoga had invited me to feel all my feelings, and here they were. I didn’t have to talk for hours; I didn’t have to “share.” I owned my experience, embodied my feelings, maybe for the first time in my life.
When I talk about mindfulness, I’m talking about everyday mindfulness as opposed to something esoteric: Mindful as the opposite of mindless. Doing something mindlessly means your mind is not engaged in it: there is a mechanical, or a passive quality to it. It’s not that “mindless” is synonymous with “passive” and “mindful” with “active”. It’s more like giving a sense of some broad circles of meaning, with one that encompasses notions like “active”, or “engaged” (the “mindful” concept), and another that encompasses notions such as “passive” or “disengaged”.
I want to share my perception of PR within the context of what I call the Long Tide Model of Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy. I teach several biodynamic sensory awareness principles regarding PR. These principles transform into stages of sensory exploration. The first basic principle of sensing PR: It is the highway upon which embodiment of the whole moves.