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February 16, 2010

"Experiencing my Experience..."

As part of their monthly embodiment workshop on 1/22/10, the Embodied Methodologies Working Group considered the following question:

What insights about your own embodiment have you gained as a result of participating in these embodiment workshops?

Experiencing My Experience

Experiencing my experiencing is a big thing going on for me during these workshops. I have learned how to do this. The usual cognitive activity that I come in with moves to the background and the direct experience moves to the foreground. I have never experienced the 'flipped switch' of cognition to actual lived physiology before this. "Experiencing the experience" happens in different ways. I can't tell you how my experience is foregrounded, but we have talked about "getting out of our own way." I still don't know much about 'getting out of my way,' but now I have experienced it in several different ways by participating in this.

How The Discovery Happens

You can't control when insight happens, but you have to show up. It's about practice and sometimes you luck out and have a deep insight.

Struggling to Experience My Experience: What's Going On?

I didn't flip the switch. I didn't know how to know. I knew I needed to get somewhere, but I couldn't get there I had trouble feeling if I was there. I was trying. I couldn't arrive and then felt myself being pulled away. When I'm troubled in my work, I scramble. When I don't do this type of movement work regularly, I feel peripheral to it - like I've lost my place.

The way I think as an academic is tied to not moving, no mobility, being sedentary. My thinking is smaller. When I move, I wake up and feel more open, more awake, better. I am far more aware of the disconnect between movement, body, mind and how I think.

I try to bring in this style of embodiment practice into my exercise, but it is more difficult to do when I'm by myself.

The Question Is Changing

The question has changed from "how do I bring this into my class?" to "how do I learn to do this myself?" This shift means that when I open to this new question, it will transform me.

March 9, 2009

Findings from November Embodiment Workshop

As a result of our November embodiment workshop, which focused specifically on the nature and meaning of embodied experience, we posted a question to surface early-stage findings from scholar collaborators:

What's coming clear about embodied experience?
* There are different types of embodied experiences that we can learn to recognize and inhabit.
* There is richness in embodied life - the knowledge of the body is very complicated.
* Embodiment is complicated. Mind is complicated. We treat embodiment as a simple thing.
In whose interest is it to make it simple?
* There is not your embodiment and my embodiment. There are worlds and worlds and layers and layers of embodiment
* Habitual states of embodiment become so familiar that we presume that they represent the full breadth of embodied experience
* We are not discovering the body for the first time. We've had life with a body, but no permission to have bodies in certain contexts (like academia)
* All states of embodiment are expressed at once - historical/personal/cultural/family as well as intellectual/conceptual
* We rarely get the opportunity to keep our somatosensory experience in the foreground as we make knowledge
* We’re not discovering the body for the first time. We’ve had life with body but no permission to have bodies in certain contexts like academia. We haven’t thought about embodied life in a comprehensive way like other things
* There are strong connections in this work to the erotic and feminine, making it fraught with risk for the academic world

November Embodiment Workshop

The focus of the fall for the Embodied Methodologies Working Group is "Experience." This workshop focused on providing its participants with an understanding of what is meant by the concept of "experience" - something alluded to by John Dewey (the nature of experience); Husserl (lived experience); William James (direct experience or 'sciousness') among others, including significant, longstanding discourse in Buddhist philosophy.

This embodiment workshop involved an extended sitting meditation component, followed by the questions:

What is it like to sit and notice your embodied experience?

* This type of sitting creates a non-personal kind of experience, where I'm not there and yet I am "just paying attention" to what's happening in the body and mind.
* This posture for sitting meditation and the other 'bag of body tricks' (including breath and gut, relaxed diaphragm, eyes closed) facilitates easy 'noticing' of my experience.
meditative space as embodied experience
* you realize that you breathe in shifts; a sense of selflessness kicks in
*What does it mean to relax?

What happens when we notice our own experiencing body as scholars in the moment?
* I loved the contrast between the experience outside and inside - there is a different quality between out and in
there is a great sense of space (the outside sensibility).
* Getting to the outside from the inside is a very interesting shift and only requires a change in 'noticing' or direction of awareness
* Scholars are locked into maps and representations of our body - NOT OUR EXPERIENCE OF OUR BODY - for knowing. You can't get out of that - we are trained to create knowledge from this stance.

November 24, 2008

Our Embodiment Workshops

A key part of our investigation in the Embodied Methodologies working group involves monthly 3 hour somatic workshops, led by one of our scholar-investigators, Margie Fargnoli (UMN Dept of Theater Arts and Dance/Certified Body-Mind Centering practitioner).....

After our first workshop last Friday (November 21, 2008), we determined the following about structure of future workshops:

1) We will include journaling time for 20 minutes during each workshop to document immediate experiences and use these reflections to share with the group as a whole as part of our dialogue at the close of the workshop. Furthermore, this documentation will be used as 'raw data' to feed into future articles that we write together.

2) We need to ensure that each of us has adequate time to share with the group their immediate impressions of the embodied investigation during the workshop.

3) We like the space that we have selected for the workshops....

4) The fall workshops will focus on 'experience' - the spring workshops on 'relationship'....

more to follow....Maggi