Pole and presenceSpyralBound
May 18, 20138 people like this
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Like most people, staying in the moment is a huge challenge for me in day-to-day life. I go through my motions while my mind is constantly on the past, or future, or What-If Land, anywhere but the present moment. This motivates my interest in meditation as not only a useful tool for taming my mind and emotions, but a refuge from the constant static hiss of my thoughts.
Today I took a class on meditation and writing. We practiced sitting meditation, walking meditation, zen meditation, and eating meditation. The goal of each is to be present and to keep returning your attention to this authentic moment, not moments remembered or projected or invented. We also took time to write about how we experienced each form.
I am used to incorporating a deliberate effort at presence during yoga practice, which is the closest thing to meditation that I do on a regular basis. During the in-class sharing and discussions, I couldn't help thinking of pole as another source of meditation for me.
Pole demands that I be in the moment. I can't be up there doing Gemini-Scorpio switches while mentally writing a shopping list, or replaying a conversation I had yesterday, or brainstorming ideas for my novel. That's a quick trip to a bump on the head!
Pole demands that I be conscious of my body, the placement of each limb, the bend in my back, the contraction of my muscles, the centrifugal force from my spin, my center of balance, down to the positioning of my fingers and toes. All at once. How could there be room for anything else?
Pole demands that I detach myself from my ego, my identity. When I am on the pole, I am a dancer and a dancer alone. In that moment, I am not a marketing copywriter, or an author, or a teacher, or a wife, daughter, or sister. I am not even a woman. Each of these identities dissolves into expressive movement, no longer distinguishable from one another. They are not necessary for carrying out the dance. If I cling to them, they have the power to take me away from the pole, to disturb and alter my intuitive rhythm. The more I shed them and get down to the core of me, the better I fit into my own skin.
I suspect this explains why freestyle is my favorite kind of pole practice. Learning tricks is one thing, it adds to my vocabulary of possible expressions. Practicing and polishing those tricks creates fluency with the language of dance. But freestyle - dancing free, free of baggage, free of anxiety, free of pain, free of judgment - that's where the magic happens for me.
That's when everything else in the world stops and my truest self is present. Mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, fully.