December 12, 2008

Split at the heart, and other terminology.


What words or phrases elucidate the work of our collaborative when we talk about our experiences of denying our body for work?

The posts in the "anti-embodied methodologies" section point to the usefulness of :
"split at the heart"
"pushing away"
"driven by the need"
"replacing the outdoors with the indoors"
"disciplining the body"

What words or phrases capture YOUR memories and experiences?

Driven by the need

"Driven by the need".

That's how Jerry described the way into anti-embodied work. How accurate.

Reading her mother's comment on how her legs looked like "a battlefield" (was it an admonishment or a kind comment?), I recalled my mother's comment to me in childhood or adolescence that I was "hard on my shoes", and my father passing by and disliking seeing me sitting on the curb in the Bronx, dirty from playing in the street.

Are these critiques of not being "girly" enough? Critiques that enculturate girls into more restrained, less free, more standard feminizing behaviors? What are the boys' memories in our group, connected to being outdoors: encouragement, skill building...?

If we are studying embodied methodologies, it's clear that we have to go back to our childhoods to see what our relationship to our bodies were, the contexts for using them, and the messages we got then about that.

If we can collect that, it can become a valuable document for our group and a source of insight as we connect as adults to the work we're doing and the foundations it is being put on or...transforming....

We can keep anonimity if any of this is published, so don't let public airing keep you from writing now.

December 11, 2008

Rx: How to sedate your body to be more productive

This is an Rx for being more productive at work. Everyone is invited to collaborate in adding their own "Rx" potions.

1. If you're lucky, you'll be assigned a small windowless air-conditioned room. You get to it from the main hall of your department. You open a door into a corridor with other doors: two on your left, two on your right and a fifthd oor that is straight ahead. Behind each of these doors are small windowless rooms for graduate students. The fifth door, straight ahead of you, has a window because it's on the outside wall of the building. These offices, rightly called 'cubicles' are the quiet areas of your department or company. They are intended to maximize your concentration and work output.
Your cubiicle is about 4' X 6', which is sufficient. When you pull open the door from the inside, you have to twist your body a bit, because the space is so small and utilitarian.
Luckily, you'll get this assignment as a graduate student, learning to work in these conditions before your degree. This invaluable training will teach you appropriate work habits to use right away for your first job. This will put you ahead of candidates from schools that can only offer group work rooms for their graduate students. Happily, these students, who will certainly be less disciplined and organized and productive, will be on the job market with you.

2. Arrive at your windowless cubicle in the morning before all others arrive at theirs in the same corridor. They will be terrified to see you there, and it will boost their productivity. Hibernation is viral among scholars.

3. You can bring a radio but play music only. You can put a welcoming poster on the small wall space.

4. The treasured cubicle is to sit down in and concentrate, so work through the day taking a short break for necessities. Eat at your work table. Socialize minimally, because socializing is also viral. However, you will discover that it is a good idea to leave the cubicle for a while at sunset to seek the warmth, light, colors, body movement and lots of other people that you have been withheld from during the day. Then, having warmed up your chilly, air-conditioned, movement- and sun-deprived body, you will feel revitalized, so reenter your cubicle and work through until about 10- or 11 p.m. Return home.

5. Repeat #4 the next day and until the project is finished. No pain, no gain. Get used to it.

6. After air-conditioning your body for 6 months indoors, while outside humid days of 99+ degrees were gloriously marching forth in a Texas spring and summer, you will move to a job in Minnesota in September, and suddenly find yourself in a Texas style winter. You will start shaking. Chills overtake you. Your body temperature is re-regulating itself. Your body, or rather, THE body, knows. This body is reconditioning itself during the abrupt shift, and for its new demands. You are now allowed to go outside AND inside. You have work to get done. Just ignore your shaking and chills. The body will do what it has to. It can take a lot of what you give it to do. Don't think about it.