*Patty is a client who I’ve had the pleasure of working with for the past few years. She’s had this great vision of fixing her ‘bad shoulder.’ I’ve watched that vision go from frustrated compulsion, wanting desperately to fix-what’s-wrong turn, instead, into a curiosity for her patterns and a great respect for how she participated in those patterns, how she could change the story … simply because she has been willing to sit with herself. At a root level, she has slowly been weaning herself from fixing through isolation to now, noticing how her entire system and self relates to her shoulder. That transformation has become a more interesting labor of self-discovery for Patty. She commits to 1-1/2 hours, once a week, to personal care, physical and mental challenge, and earnest seeking.
It’s not easy for Patty or for any of us to ‘sit with ourselves’ as we do the Work we do in Spatial Medicine. Regardless if it’s in the Pilates studio, or in yoga, dance, the gym, running, the track or trail, boot camp or beyond, creating space within, will, at some point, demand some capacity to sit with oneself. On experiencing the process of change that comes with pause, many of us have experienced: the fascial shakes (welcome to the DFL, as we say), doubt, joy, and other emotional and physical ‘visitors’ that come with re-organization. There is courage in literally sitting with oneself, whether alone or with a movement mentor, in meditation, speaking softer/reducing our loudness by some lofty percentage we have in mind, or just not answering that text/call/email/Facebook post immediately.
We can call ‘sitting with ourselves’ by a myriad of soundbites: holding space, getting quiet inside, being present, being mindful, reducing the chatter or noise, whatever resonates for us. Deep inside, each one of us has a knowing of this quietude that is unique to our own personal selves. We’ve all learned thus far in this Program, whether as Faculty, certified teachers, peers, or clients of this Work, that fascia doesn’t seem to respond well to demanding force, the insistent banging at the front door. Rather, it’s the whisper, the allowing, the surrender to the silence that creates seedbed for change, however far one wants to travel down that particular rabbit hole.
It’s the ‘whisper’ that has helped me to see my role with the Work as less of teacher or teller-of-what-to-do and more of observer, guide, mentor, or facilitator. Most of the time, as with Patty, I may think I sense or see some correction I’d like to give and before I even announce or imply my ask, my fascial system already has already dialed the hotline to her system … the information has been downloaded and distributed (many somatic philosophies can attest to this phenomenon, particularly through an energetic context). And that’s very much a type of Inner Wisdom to trust within myself and my clients, one that I strive to pay homage to, in session. It’s through that Inner Wisdom when I can be the observer—while also holding space as a mentor—and not give into my every superficial knee-jerk thought of what I think a client needs. In getting quiet, I learn instead to intuit or to feel what a client needs and only when it feels authentic, I then share my suggestion with them, through word, thought, resonance or touch. Then this Work becomes more about co-creation with my clients; wisdom resonating with wisdom (or sometimes the blind leading the blind, which can still be exciting).
For those of us who are space-holders or guides, it can often be more difficult for us to hold space for ourselves than for our clients. But if we are unable to sit with the uncomfortable, how can we practice what we preach to our clients? How can we talk about change or resonance with them if we hold our own selves back from fascial (life) liberation or get in the way of ourselves, simply because we’re holding on to a pattern (ego) that we think we need? There is a friendly insistence to our own personal integrity that I’m implying here. This insistence is an echo from my fellow Bridgemates on going to Italy in order to speak about the trip from an authentic place.
I’ve personally shared with Karin that I came to this Work, first and foremost, as a client. For me, as much as it is a gift to be a teacher of this Work, I’ve always been drawn to Its personal-ness as a client, as a receiver of the Work. The silence and space I hold for myself is important to me. I see that same importance in how my clients approach their sessions. It seems that when we all take a chance to deconstruct and then self-organize by experiencing ourselves through Repertoire, Moving Connections, or maybe embracing no more than a few exercises in an hour to get specific … we can then experience something that goes beyond doing Pilates or ‘working out.’ We end up working within.
So, I thank Patty for what I feel is a gift in remembering it’s not reaching the goal that’s the prize; instead, it’s the not knowing. It’s feeling every wanted and unwanted vibe in-between. It’s the vastness and possibility of all those experiences that movement and stillness unfold in a soulful, single moment. All from the courage of sitting with Oneself.
* For space-holding through anonymity, names have been changed.
© April 2017 Maria Ayyat
Maria is a Faculty Member of Spatial Medicine