“Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what next or how. The moment you know how, you begin to die a little. The artist never entirely knows. We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark.” ~ Agnes de Mille.
“Don’t Decide, Discover” were the words repeatedly spoken by international dance teacher and choreographer, Margie Gillis, at her Dancing from the Inside Out workshop I just took at Hollyhock. Her point was that we must learn to allow the body to show the way instead of the mind; to allow its inner wisdom to move us versus making a mental decision that then drives the body forward.
Like the universal body of Life, the physical body knows more than we give it credit, and it will show us the way if we allow it to.
“Wisdom is in not knowing.” ~ Deepak Chopra
A few years ago, on my way home from a great day of skiing, I stopped at a grocery store and bought a couple of bags of groceries. As I drove from the store back to my apartment, my discursive mind decided to conjure up all the ways I could get my skis, boots, poles, gloves, goggles, and two bags of groceries up to my apartment in one trip. I planned many options, and while doing so, wasn’t present to the good music playing in the car, and the colours and vibrancy of the scenery passing by. I was in planning mode, a place we humans hang out quite often.
I parked the car, opened the trunk, and within an instant, and without conscious thought, had all my accompaniments efficiently pulled out of my car, in my hand, with the trunk closed. It was not how I planned, but my body knew. I didn’t trust my body; nor was I enjoying the moment. I was instead deciding the future. The spontaneous wisdom of the body and the present moment awareness housed within it was usurped by the workings of the mind.
“He who lives in harmony with himself lives in harmony with the universe.” ~ Marcus Aurelius
The physical body we house and all its intelligence is an extension of the universal body of life. Life is a soup of infinite intelligence that surrounds and infuses us, and it is our greater body. Through our physical body, and specifically by feeling our body, we connect to this intelligence. For instance, through body awareness and feeling we connect to our intuition which is a gateway to universal wisdom. In the same way dancers or grocery shopping skiiers can trust this wisdom to spontaneously move fingers, arms and legs in a certain order and fashion, we can trust life to favorably orchestrate the greater body of our life circumstances. In other words, Life, in all its wisdom and magic, can move its infinite parts in service of our needs and desires.
While at Hollyhock, my playful spirit took the initiative to organize a music and bonfire evening by the beach. To set this up, many things needed to be in place: I had to get clearance from Hollyhock, spread the word, tell the other musicians, gather wood, kindling, a bucket full of water, paper, a lighter, retrieve my song sheets from my car, get my guitar, and bring all this down to the fire pit on the beach. As I was doing all this I decided to ask for some help, and enlisted a few people in the lodge to take care of a few tasks that they happily agreed to do. People began to slowly gather at the bonfire location, but the people in the lodge were still chatting away, not yet budging to help out. I could feel an old frustration emerging in me of falling into the “organizer” role, and doing everything myself. As I walked back to the lodge, my mind began to plan things I could say to them to get them moving, reiterate my need for help, plead, beg, whine – my mind began to spin. Then I said to myself, “Vince, don’t decide, discover.” So I did; I let it go. And just as I got to the lodge, I saw a friend who was heading down to the bonfire location, and realized he was the perfect person to help me out. Not only was he the perfect person, but he was in the perfect place, standing right next to the room with all the firewood I needed to gather. With his help, and the others that spontaneously emerged, any concerns of doing it all alone evaporated. Things ran very smoothly after that!
“When I’m trusting and being myself everything in my life reflects this by falling into place easily, often miraculously.” ~ Shakti Gawain
When we let go, we create room for body wisdom to emerge both within and without. We allow life to show us instead of us trying to show life. And we discover that the body’s agenda is far better than our own.
Practice these four steps first in the shallow end of your life. Use simple circumstances like cooking a meal, a creative project, or making conversation. Then slowly swim towards deeper contexts such as project management, supervision, challenging relationships, family situations or team dynamics.
Be aware of when you are working at something before that “something” has even happened. Perhaps you are locked in a perspective without all the information, or you are planning ahead, worrying, or figuring out the future. The underlying feeling to be aware of is stress, and where there is stress there is excessive/limited thinking. Another signal is that you are not enjoying the moment. You are in the future.
Say to yourself, Don’t decide, discover. Say it multiple times if it helps until you feel yourself letting go and enjoying the here and now.
Trust you don’t have to control every detail of every situation in every moment. Trust you don’t have to have it all figured out now. Trust you will know.
Using vernacular from the The Coaches Training Institute, dance in the moment and see what arises. Like all great dancers, be loose, free to the present moment, flexible and fluid, like life itself, open to the unknown, and willing to discover what it holds for you, including new information and opportunities. Allow yourself to discover that magic. Dance with the rhythms of life. Let your body and Life carry you to the unforseen, and enjoy the gift of this moment, for that is what life is about.
“She decided to free herself, dance into the wind, create a new language. And birds fluttered around her, writing ‘yes’ in the sky.” ~ Monique Duval
The adventure of life begins when we allow our body and life to carry us in a way and direction we could never have planned. It’s here that we create a playful life, like children, flowing with the tides of the moment, joyfully being curious of what may arise from within and without. Allow your adventurous spirit to enjoy this ride.
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