Assignment for Thursday Oct 22nd Time/Duration

Find a space that you enjoy.
Spend one hour in the space in complete silence,i.e. no cell phone, i pod, talking.
As you experience the space/time duration/silence keep a record through a system of mark making, doodling, drawing let your hand move freely. Bring this "record" to class on Thursday.

Take a daily mundane action, something you do everyday and repeat it for 1/2 hour.
Write a brief description of your experience and bring it to class on Thursday.


To begin this activity I started by going through my average day. As I went through the routine, I landed on suiting up for the cold. That is, I chose the action of putting on my jacket. At first, I just started taking it on and off without much thought and then, I started analyzing each step in the process. I found that this routine process involved steps that I had never acknowledged. Before this activity I would have described putting on my jacket as putting one arm in, then the other and finishing by closing the zipper. Now, I can say that I grab the jacket with my left hand, plunge my right hand in an arm hole, swing the coat above my head with my right hand as I insert the left arm in the remaining armhole, pull my coat on to me so that both arms are fully encased, grab the unzipped edges of the jacket, flick my wrists until the neck flaps are adjusted, grab the bottom of the jacket with my left hand, grasp the zipper mechanism with my right hand, connect the zipper to the zipper mechanism, and pull up on the mechanism with my right hand as my left hand stabilizes the bottom of the jacket. For the first ten minutes of putting my jacket on and taking it off, I was intrigued at the details involved. But by the time fifteen minutes had passed, I was feeling the burn in my shoulder muscles. The activity turned into a true exercise, which I welcomed as I have had trouble finding time for the gym. When I reached the 20 minute mark, I seriously considered calling it good. I thought that I had done it long enough to get the point but I pressed on instead just in case there was something left to be revealed. The last five minutes were the longest five minutes of my life. I literally looked over at the clock and each time only a minute had passed. While I was performing the action, two of my housemates stopped by to see what I was doing. One actually told me that he had read about a similar activity in his lucid dreaming book. I kept going even as they observed my repetitive act.

My chosen activity was a rolling exercise I do almost daily to stretch out and lengthen the body. As a tall person it feels like there is extra stress on the spine, and if a day goes by without significant exercise there is a feeling of compression that creates an uncomfortable sensation throughout the structure. I usually sustain it for about five minutes, but I had done the exercise in Eiko's class the day before for about 25 minutes and it inspired me to try the half-hour version at home as part of this assignment.

There is a peculiar response from the mind and body as you begin, as if everything begins to be spatially mapped out. From the muscle tissues slowly to the room and all the planes present around you. The process of relieving physical tension is internally connected to a relief from mental anguish and stress. In a sense the exercise is connected as much to the physiological problems as to mental and abstract ones. The body first collapses under the force of gravity, then begins to tune up the mechanism by which it operates. Similarly the mind races through the memories accumulated throughout the day, finally throwing everything into a huge pile that is then re-organized and classified. The body becomes clear and so does the mind. Although it is not necessarily true for the exercise every time, there is an identification of the greatest outstanding problem mentally, it is then calmly approached and a multilevel solution just comes with ease, or the issue becomes crystal clear in its essence. I felt like the rolling was a physical manifestation of a problem-solution mechanism, making the thought process external helped to gain perspective that was not diluted by all the other bits of information floating around in my mind.

I realize that the idea of repetition was not as present in this particular exercise as in some of the others performed by people in class, and perhaps it is not as true to the assignment, because there isn't a great pressure on time, but it felt like a transitional exercise into the one-hour long assignment. In this experience time gained weight, it stretched allowing for something concise to emerge, not a gesture necessarily but a sure-footed step towards the future.

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This page contains a single entry by somme034 published on October 16, 2009 8:05 AM.

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