A week or so ago, Nannette, Ric, and I got together for a much-needed impromptu Dancemeditation practice on Cape Cod. I had been feeling stressed and overwhelmed and was very grateful to be spreading out my blanket, getting down on the floor. With the neutral Kerala Dream as soundtrack, we settled into an easy going Opening Sequence. Once we were relaxed, I said:
Practice: Bone Watching
Close your eyes. Move any way you feel. Let’s focus on the bones. Watch your bones as you move. The soft tissues will actually move the bones, but when you pay attention to the bones instead of the muscles, you’ll draw attention to the part that is ‘being carried’. Let your soft tissues carry your bones. Let your bones ride along.
This simple cue is a natural for opening receptive motion. Because the tissues carry the bones, the focus disrupts the mind’s tendency to tell the body to grip and drive and grind down the soft tissue. (Let me interject here that a cue is always best when, like this one, it slides from the base of my skull off my tongue without passing through my forehead. It’s an odd sensation, this sort of speaking. Odd for the mind but good for the body.) I like Bone Watching. Bones have such a strong personality, ripe with imagery and the ring of magnificence. And I like the practice’s inherent cultivation of non-pain-based identity. I often use pain as motion feedback (interoception) because it is easy to feel. I used to use it as a measure of engagement (“I know I am doing this movement because it hurts.”), or as physical identity, of meaning (“It hurts therefor I am alive, good girl, virtuous, righteous, atoning for my sins, etc.”) You might have this unsavory habit as well. In Dancemeditation practices like Bone Watching, you interrupt those habits, awaken your bouquet of sensations, and unearth a myriad of options for ‘feeling your way’ into and through your life. Nannette, Ric and I spent a good chunk of time internally coming and going with this focus.
When we finished we rested for a while. Then, taking our time, we came up from the floor to do a dance circle. Nannette is funny as Pooh, silver smart; her dance was all honey and salt and juicy fruit. Ric’s was wind and wishes and chacha. I can’t remember what I did. What a great circle. At the end I felt, as I almost always do, that two hours had flown by taking my anxiety with them. Moving together with other marvelous practitioners is entirely revitalizing. I savored, and still savor, that jewel of a morning on the Cape.
So, grab an hour—I’m sure you have one lying round somewhere—enjoy your bones.