I had the great pleasure of facilitating an intensive class called Movement and Mindfulness at Sterling College over the past two weeks. As part of the course, the students and I participated in on and off campus meditation sessions, moving conversation, Feldenkrais, Tai Chi, rock climbing, rowing, walking, event mapping, Japanese forest bathing, walking meditation, running, yoga, yoga trance dance, labyrinth building, and lots of reflection. Nearly every day found us in a different place or thinking and moving in space a different way.
When I took on the course at the last moment, I had little idea of what to expect, and even less of an idea about how much an impact the course would have on me. I needed only about 15 minutes to decide to facilitate the class — mostly because it seemed a natural extension of my own expression of mindfulness through running over the past few years — and more so even since Climate Run: Iceland a year ago.
Over the past two weeks, our goal was simply to be open to exploring the embodiment of mindfulness through a broad range of physical, meditative, and reflective activities. What we actually did was far more significant and I anticipate much longer lasting; we learned to leave space for one another, we learned to find and trace the limits our ourselves, we learned to draw strength from the place where mind and movement intertwine.
There could hardly be more important lessons in any class.
Just before we closed class with a final session of Tai Chi out on the lawn beside our newly opened labyrinth during a reprieve from the day’s rain, we shared our definitions of key terms from the class. I was given Perception as Action, which could hardly have been more appropriate. After a couple of days thinking about Perception as Action, I came back to the work of Matthew Tiessen (as I have elsewhere), who I think helped to ground the essential focus of our class:
Each of us is a site-in-process, a crossing, where forces come to play.