Awareness in how we move creates changes in physical alignment and freedom from unconscious patterns of inhibition, the source of chronic physical and emotional suffering – Carol Montgomery
Being aware is the key to creating freedom. It is the most crucial resource that we have regarding the improvement of our habitual thinking, posture, and movement patterns. The problem is knowing when you are aware and when you are not. The sum of all our experiences plays a substantial role in our lives and influences our actions, regardless of whether we are aware of this influence. Thus, our level of awareness impacts all of our thoughts, feelings, and actions. You can use the digestive system as a model to understand this concept: everything that we encounter, both physically and emotionally, is “metabolized” in the moment through the lens of our past experiences and our awareness. By expanding our awareness, we can increase our intake of good “nutrients,” or experiences.
The Influence of a Negative Mindset
The brain interprets experiences on a scale of positive and negative. When we repetitively undergo stressful experiences, they can build up and take us out of balance, which leads to pressure, pain, and tension. The average human will have around 60,000 thoughts per day, about 1/second during our waking hours. Approximately 95% of those thoughts are the same as the day before. For the majority of people, those thoughts are also negative. The brain registers negative experiences differently from positive ones; negative memories have a greater impact; they “weigh” down one side of the scale. Just as poor nutrition can make us gain weight, poor experiences can make us feel heavy. This defense mechanism derives from fear, which from a purely evolutionary standpoint protects us so we can live longer and pass on our genes. Fortunately, we can train ourselves to override evolution.
The body and the brain live in the present moment. Not the past, not the future. The way that you move and the way that you think, therefore, have tremendous power to reorganize life. So how do you know if you are in the present moment? The simplest way to bring yourself to the present is to focus on your breath. Focus on the cyclical nature of breath, at the moment that your exhalation becomes your inhalation. Deliberately pay attention to what you are doing. Be aware of the various dynamics and habits which may pull you away from the present. The best example of not living in the present is the daydream, when your mind wanders while you are performing a menial task, such as washing the dishes or driving.
Another technique to help keep your thoughts in the present involves paying close attention to your body’s movement. Can you slow down and reduce the amount of force you are using and still complete an action? Do you need to stare so intently, walk so quickly, or grip things so hard? Practice variations in your movement each day; try utilizing your non-dominant hand. Train yourself to be more conscious and aware of your body and your movement patterns.
Moshe Feldenkrais says “When you know what you are doing, you can do what you want.” Having awareness gives you a choice in how you respond to the world. Be positive, be conscious, and be aware. By doing so, you will have unparalleled freedom. Montgomery Somatics can help you become more consciously self-aware. Call us to learn more about how your movement impacts your overall health.
Carol is a physical therapist, a co-creator of Integral Human Gait theory, a certified Feldenkrais practitioner, and a Senior Trainer in Movement Intelligence. Focus, Align, Teach and Inspire! These qualities not only describe her work, but they also describe her presence. She is passionate when it comes to reconnecting learning with human function and health. Carol is in private practice at MontgomerySomatics.com in Columbus, Indiana.