Contact Improv 2

Yesterday after my Contact Improv class I cam home to examine the bruises on my hips and recover before my Focusing call, which happened to fall on this night.  I am training with The Focusing Institute and we have monthly calls, this time when our trainer Charlotte asked for a volunteer to demonstrate with so that others could watch and learn from her no one volunteered.  The moments passed and I said that I was happy for 12 people to watch as I focused, she asked me if I has a ‘something’ to work with already, I said ‘no’ thinking, ‘how boring for the other students’, them I realised I meant, ‘no, only all of that funny-fuzzy feeling I’ve been carrying with me for the last few hours’, and I realised this funny-fuzzy feeling is exactly the kind of something perfect for this call.

A patch of mint leaves.
Mint leaves – coming together and retaining their distinct form.

What seemed like a physical exercise this afternoon, in a dance studio with some people trained and experienced movers had felt like a challenge, to show I could keep up, grasp concepts or at least try to move my body. I noticed fear when I lacked clarity about what I was doing in this moment and felt unsure about what I would do next and I tried to be with the terror that would rise and make me want to leave announcing that I shouldn’t be in a dance studio anyway. But several hours later my ‘felt sense’ had caught up. My felt sense hadn’t been sure at all, it said to me when I tried to focus on the sofa at the start of the call, ‘don’t boss me about’, ‘I won’t focus on cue for you’ which isn’t how I normally feel. I imagined how I’d pushed myself around in the afternoon, not only physically bruising myself but also saying, ‘come on, do this properly’, ‘pay attention’, ‘get it right’, no wonder my felt sense was unwilling to perform now.

As I listened to Charlotte’s voice I recognised the fuzzy feeling for what it was, a part of my body wanting to speak to me in it’s own language, on it’s own terms, not being pushed about but also not as unwilling to work with my ‘cognitive-me’ as I imagined.  When I slowed down and listened my felt-sense had a lot to say. I noticed a feeling in my pelvis and hips, it slowly emerged and felt very rested and comfortable. Instead of holding onto the tension it relaxed and opened up. It felt like a normal part of my body. When I recall somatic experiencing I try to move with the energy but wonder if certain movements should be avoided as they might draw attention to ‘down-there’, when I was in the Contact Improv session I was very cautious not to get near people’s private regions or put my weight on them in case it was ‘too much’, as though I could let the energy run through me freely and keep a part of my body and other bodies contained and safely shut off. My felt sense was saying, ‘I don’t want to pretend I am free and perform well, I want to be integrated and whole and free and then I can move in my own authentic way.

In my dialogue with Charlotte I could welcome all of my body – and see my hesitancy as a congruent part of myself not ‘not good enough’, but complete, real, engaged, active and carrying my lifetime of stories, anxieties, protective behaviours and so much more I am not yet aware of…

And now I am so grateful to be learning these skills which build on each other and connect me with an astonishing immediacy.



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