Exploration and Discovery
This summer we went camping on the coast of Maine, taking in the air, the waves, and the quietness.
One night a car alarm woke me up in the middle of the night. I opened my eyes and thought, “Is that our car? Where are my keys, my shoes? Do I have to walk all the way to the parking lot to check if it’s ours?” I whispered to Tiffany and she replied sleepily, simply, “It doesn’t sound familiar.” I listened again and gradually heard it, an unfamiliar quality. Ours is more beepy, less tinny. I closed my eyes and after a minute the alarm stopped, and the sound of the crickets filled the night.
In any situation there are things that we perceive and there are distinctions that we miss. In any relationship we have the opportunity to learn to sense ourselves and the environment more skillfully, to notice finer and finer differences. Last week I worked with M, a young woman who has CP, and her caregiver. M and I explored moving in ways that were unfamiliar to her, the slowness, the gentleness, the listening. Her movement changed in many ways, but most exciting to me were the changes I saw in the relationship between M and her caregiver. I saw them go from straining through the transitions from wheelchair to my table, to gradually exploring, listening, finding more ease, simplicity, and less force. The refinement wasn’t just in movement, but also in the way they communicated, the quality of M’s listening to herself, and her caregiver’s creating space for that.
Later on, packing for our camping trip, I was struck by the changes I noticed in myself. I was calmer, my communication with my own kids was clearer, more peaceful, and they were more engaged and helpful than ever before the process of packing.
We are deeply social beings. We evolved to learn and grow through our relationships with peers, with caregivers, with the earth and with gravity. When we cultivate our awareness and refine our presence we enrich and enliven our own experience, and simultaneously support those around us. Movement, perception, communication, emotion, and relationship are all bound in one unified experience. The exploration and discovery are never ending.
With love, Matty
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