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Routines & the Moment

Most of us want a regular, dependable, effortless movement practice that will deliver fitness, and feelings of goodness and realness. We also want to be in the Moment. If we head down the delusional lane of finding a nice comfy routine, the Moment will never happen. The Moment–that elusive jewel beyond price–is not routine.

ArabesqueDemented Routine
As human animals, we have an enormous capacity for memorization and routine. We learn to brush our teeth: angle the brush around our teeth, zigzag our arm to scour, spit and rinse, shake off the brush.  It is complex and detailed, yet once we learn it we barely think about it except to remember to do it. It goes on automatic. Many of us want regular practice to be that easy; find a routine set of movements that we do mechanically while our attention wanders off.

As I watch my parents and all the dementia folks at the assisted living, I see the most bizarre display of routine behavior. A normal appearance doesn’t mask for long their disconnection from the room they are in or the people they interact with. Without the ability to reason or steady cognitive grasp of their lives, they inhabit their own strange pentimento of fraying memory and routine triggered by random elements in their surroundings. They certainly enjoy their existence, but this is not the same as being fresh and new in the moment. This automatic part of us is the first thing we establish as children and, for many, the last thing to go as we decline.

I am not suggesting that automatic behavior is the villain, but it is not our objective.


ArabesqueMoving in the Moment

In Dancemeditation practice, we develop awareness of our embodied existence and awareness of our consciousness. We seek the Moment. To become aware and present in the Moment, we observe and slowly diffuse our automatic behaviors. It doesn’t mean we do away with them. They are useful. They get us through the day. But we awaken from being driven by invisible forces within us, which are largely unconscious, automatic behaviors.

I go into my movement flow, focus on relaxation and, when I get to juncture of routine–which I characterize as a moment of rip tide impulse landing me some very far off  spot before I know it–I hang out, waiting for my movement to shift on its own. I resist darting off to something “more interesting” which is invariably not more interesting but instead a honed circus entertainment I’ve cultivated over my life to amuse others and mask my terror at feeling my truth. Regardless of why I do this, these impulses are so deeply grooved they follow me into my inner sanctum. It often seems that the closer I get to a moment of newness, of the unexpected, of an unknown, the more quickly I dart off into the well-known. So I have to work at staying present in my movement. You will too. That is what we are up to.


ArabesqueStick-in-the-Mud & Captain Adventure
The challenge of cultivating practice is to use our tendency toward routine and our capacity for awareness. We need Stick-in-the-Mud Self, that loves routine, to get us into the room. And we need Captain Adventure Self to pursue newness once we are there. It is important not to mix up the roles, leaving getting into the room to Captain Adventure who might not show up regularly, or the action in the room to Stick-in-the-Mud who will go on automatic.

Relax and Receive
The Moment is always new, full of impossible multiplicity yet eternally calm. Entering the Moment hinges on relaxing and receiving.
~ We relax. Not rush. Not push. This makes some space in the crowded self. We need some interior emptiness in order to receive.
~ We receive. When we are full of our routines, we have no space for the Unknown, for the New. If we remove ‘clutter’ through relaxing, we will receive. Remember not to reject the unfamiliar.


ArabesqueDancemeditation Wakes You Up

Instead of rehearsing a movement over and over to make it perfect (or to make the body perfect, which is the typical objective of most fitness, exercise, or dance programs), in Dancemeditation we feel what we are doing now. We let a flow of motion unfold organically. We accept or invite unknown or vague or unshaped movements rather than blocking or ignoring a movement or a process of transition we’ve never before experienced. We are observant and accepting, even welcoming.

Approach your body and the dynamics of its action like a wild terrain requiring special quietness and patience. What you get in return is the thrill of magic. The newness in the Moment. The Real.




Dancemeditation_LOGO_B&WThanks for reading and for sharing this with friends. If you want to practice with me, check out the online series ‘Move with Me: Intuitive Flow’ ~ It’s not too late to join up.

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    One Comment
    1. karleen #

      Wonderful continuing exploration of all that is inner/Inner in dancemeditation. It makes me feel excited to approach practice, what will be uncovered or not, but often enough quiet….which eases me as I, too, deal with a demented and helpless parent……

      June 7, 2013

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