So- I was lying on my back, for at least the 17,757th time in my life (my age in days), and wondered what to do with that position, that posture, that opportunity for learning and discovery. And—to my own surprise—I came up with something new.
In fact, I came up with something I’ve never heard or done or seen anywhere before! I played with that discovery over the next two weeks and found its character and rules:
1. Search for a sensation, instead of perform a movement
As movement teachers, in movement lessons we usually give (or receive) movement instructions, such as “bend your knee” or “turn your head”. But in this new method I cue for finding sensations, instead of giving movement instructions.
At first I tried to remove language all together, but quickly realised that without language this will not be teachable. I needed to at least retain the ability to point out areas in the body, such as the nose, the left leg, the outside edge of the left heel, etc.
So instead of saying “roll your left leg to the left” (while lying flat on the back with legs extended) I would say “feel the floor touching the backside of your left heel, and now find a feeling where you feel the floor with the outside of your left heel and the outside of your lower leg.”
In this way the student needs to turn the leg to the left to find that sensation, but instead of performing a movement and drifting into the world of performance and the mind, the students stays in the world of perception and the body.
2. Sensing and naming work in the entire body
When the focus is shifted from movement instructions to sensations, then the student can fully focus on the sensations, instead of performing movements according to instructions. This is the key to enter the world of perception and actually feeling oneself; and overcoming darkness as Alice Miller’s psychology book Thou Shalt Not Be Aware points out so poignantly; and how movements connect and affect the whole self, and the patterns that emerge from that; and what is useful and what is not, etc. These findings should all be acknowledged and named, using language.
For example, when the left leg is rolled to the left, then there might be tension in the upper/inside thigh of the right leg, the jaw might tighten up, the neck is held fixated, and the breath might be suddenly restricted. Also, there might be an inclination to side bend to the right and to roll the pelvis to the left, et cetera, et cetera. These are all things that can be worked with—but likely would go unnoticed when instead of being in a world of movement and perception, merely a movement instruction is executed. Also, by employing language and consciousness, these things became apparent, as opposed to other methods that do not include descriptive language.
Jeez, this should be an entire book, not a blog post. There’s so much to say about this. Too much, too much.
3. Acknowledging the adaptive body image
Lastly, emerging at this point, is a body image that is neither static nor lasting, it’s ever changing in its boundaries, just like the heart beat is changing the shape of the heart in every second. An image of the leg, to stay with the example of rolling the leg. An updated, or self-updating internal image of the leg. What is its shape? Its boundaries? Its use?
This all started when I researched types of touch receptors in the skin. The scientific literature is terribly unpractical in this regard, there’s still many studies coming out. Worst of all, all textbooks and websites seem to be copying from each other and are using this terribly obscure language, as if a robot is writing about things it never knew, or as if ChatGPT would be writing about eating a pancake and how it would do it.
This is huge, it needs a name.
As this movement modality is touch and sensation based, I came up with the term Tactile Experiencing. The Wikipedia page for Experience is quite the read (I didn’t finish). Before that I had Tactile Based Movement Lessons. Sounds very 1970ties. And is not quite memorable enough, I guess. How about Ultra Embodiment? That sounds sensational enough for the age of TikTok, and easy to remember, I guess.
Anyways! Will try to make a video next, with the example of rolling the leg.
So- that day I was lying on my back, for at least the 17,757th time in my life, and worked with Tactile Experiencing… er, Ultra Embodiment. I only worked with my right leg. It felt so interesting and so good that I had the impression that I discovered something significant. Magnificent. And even days later my right leg felt quite different to my left one. The right one was more stable, felt smoother, lighter, stronger, I was standing more on top if it and I, in my mind, had a more complete image of it.
I noticed how this more complete image and more complete way of working with myself started to take over my whole self, started to affect all my other movements as well, and once again I was thinking: Consciousness is not something that is given once, like teeth, but something that emerges and grows; and it might never grow to be complete; just like someone never fully masters a language or a musical instrument; we might never stop growing and evolving our consciousness if we set our mind to it and create the right conditions.