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ACCESSING BODY WISDOM UNDER PRESSURE IN TEN LESSONS

I grew up with a mild congenital cerebral palsy that left me with chronic spastic tensions and asymmetric growth. I was rolfed, did gestalt therapy, worked with movement patterns and got acupunctured. I transformed myself from a awkward kid who grew up in corrective physical education classes into, a somatic healer, self taught skier, and survived twenty five years of Aikido practice. In the midst of all this exploration, I sought biofeedback training to refine my dexterity, and discovered I could hear the quality of my touch on a piano. I rented a piano and used it for biofeedback. I discovered basic harmonies in my limited dexterity, and now I’m playing and composing music.

In your free introduction to this course you received an outline of the elements of somatic attunement as my body grew to know them. This course applies somatic attunement to challenges in personal relationships at work and at home. Personal relationships involve conflicts. This course includes mediation (Greener Mediations) and Aikido, and its mission is peace.

The Ten Lessons are arranged in an order for optimal learning. After learning the basics elements of body-wisdom, you identify your own somatic predispositions for responding to verbal pressure, and identify their relationship to how your mind thinks when engaged in word-wars. There’s physical pressure and there’s verbal pressure. Because they are closely related, we are studying mediation and Aikido together.

Then you practice grounding and centering, finding your core and learning to engage with physical pressure in a confident and relaxed manner. The final lessons reestablish the mental connections by putting words to your newfound body wisdom. This is reverse body-language. You will learn to speak your body-wisdom and you transform adversity in arguments and disputes into understanding, connection and collaboration.


It is unnecessary to pre-think solutions to a real conflict.
Identifying and transforming our predisposition allows alternatives to emerge
in a manner that is more timely and appropriate than predetermined strategies.

Blending
without losing integrity,
is an attitude, not a technique.


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CONTENTS

LESSON ONE

         The body-wisdom basics.

LESSON TWO

         Predisposed responses to pressures.

LESSON THREE

         ROTATIONS: Body wisdom basics in motion.

LESSON FOUR

         GROUND AND CENTER: Your hara and gravity.

LESSON FIVE

         RELEASING: The preparation for learning extension.

 LESSON SIX

         EXTENSION

 LESSON SEVEN

         ENGAGEMENT

 LESSON EIGHT

         Reverse body language.

 LESSON NINE

         Applications and practice.

 LESSON TEN

         Aiki-dance: Two step fun &
games.
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LESSON ONE: BODY-WISDOM BASICS    

Some Basic Terms
SOMATIC ATTUNEMENT : Somatic attunement means self-listening, akin to listening to sound, but it involves “listening” with all or your senses. It’s the sense of self-awareness one derives from perceiving within instead of the world outside our bodies.

CORE: The vertical integrity or tone of the central structures of the body. Contrast awareness of core muscles (psoas, diaphram) with peripheral structures such as pectoralis,quadriceps,deltoids, etc. The term is popular in many fitness regimens including Pilates, Alexander, and Feldenkrais trainings, as well as in Aikido.

HARA: The body’s center of gravity, roughly just below the navel midway back. It’s at the center of the core.

Let’s start by reviewing the BODY-WISDOM BASICS

Body-wisdom basics are three-fold.

HEAD   HEART   HARA

HEAD: Notice where your thoughts reside. Feel the weight of your head. Everything has weight, including your thoughts, especially the heavy ones, the interpretations and judgments. Feeling weight is the key to grounding and centering, which is what we will explore together later.

Press your fingertips into your neck muscles beneath your ears, lengthening your neck on an inhale, and slide them up over your ears. Then move your head gently from side to side. The inner ear is where we feel balance. Tilt your head back until you feel more weight behind center. Play with shifting its weight back and forth, then side to side. Cultivate the awareness of the center of gravity of your head.

HEART: At another time, or now if you are eager, notice the weight of your torso. On an inhale, feel your spine lengthen, lifting the weight of your arms and shoulders from underneath. Focus on feeling the center of your torso. Let your "heart center" move from side to side, then forward and back, equalizing the distances, then reducing them around the core.

Notice how your body can move from your torso, our place of emotional intelligence. Notice from this place whether your thoughts are still accessible, and how the center of gravity of your head responds.  Cultivate the awareness of the center of gravity of your torso, your emotional center.

HARA: At another time, or now if you are eager, place your hands on your belly, thumbs over your navel. Focus your breath and attention into your hara, at your body's center of gravity. Move your body from this place, forward and back, right and left. Imagine its connection with the core of the planet. Notice your thoughts from this place, and how these movements affect the movement of your torso and head. Cultivate the awareness of your center of gravity in your belly, the seat of your intuitive wisdom.

EMBODIED PRACTICE

1. Pick a time for practicing the body-wisdom basics: head, heart & hara. When you start, identify whether what you think or feel comes from your head, from your heart (emotional center,) or from your belly. In making this determination, consider whether it’s about a concept or a feeling/emotion, and whether the tone of voice is revealing of meaning.

 Continue following your thoughts or actions until the end of your practice time, identifying their source. Drop your attention into your heart and settle there. How does this affect your thinking? How is your thinking affected by dropping your attention further and allowing it to center in your belly?

2. Repeat this practice when you hear from someone else, or observe something they do. Consider whether their words or actions come from the head, heart, or hara, and whether it is received by you in your head, heart or hara. These need not correlate, and there are no wrong answers. This is about the practice of making distinctions.

3. What does this practice do for you when you are not practicing? Does it increase your options for replying to others or acting wisely in situations?

4. Is your field of awareness in front of you greater than behind you? If so, notice feelings in your back and expand these feelings to the space behind you. Turn slightly and glance behind you, retaining the awareness after facing forward again. Practice equalizing the fields. Or lying face up, but feeling your body weight on your back, then the surface you are lying on, then the ground, perhaps the core of the planet. Equalize the fields of awareness.

Taking this feeling of ground into standing, notice your awareness of what’s above you, and what’s beneath where you stand. Expand your awareness beneath in a similar manner. Feel gravity attracting your weight through your feet and project your attention through the floor, perhaps also the foundation down into the Earth, indeed even to its core. Equalize fields of awareness above and below. Do the same with your awareness of fields to the right and left.

COURSE OVERVIEW

In Lesson Two, you will reinforce your sense of center by balancing your awareness of what is before you, behind you, above and below you, and to either side. In Lesson Three, you will identify your pre-dispositions for responding to pressure. You will learn this from your own body. Then you will consider what words are experienced as pressure in your mind. Through personal “pressure statements,” you will connect the embodied feelings with the verbal process, and set priorities for learning according to your own predispositions.

Lessons Four through Seven teach simple movement practices that develop sequentially your sense of ground, center and extension from core. Lesson Eight teaches your mind to put language to your body-wisdom. I call it reverse body language, the ability to speak the attitude of comfort under pressure. The final lessons explore applications to daily activities, and build dance-like fun and games upon the movement practices we have learned.

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PREPARATION FOR THE NEXT LESSON

You may proceed to the without answering these questions, but you will get more out of this course if you do, and you’ll teach me something:

What did you gain from Lesson One?

What problems did you encounter in the last lesson?

What changes, if any, have you noticed in your thoughts, actions or movements?

Please email your answers to: jerry@greenermediations.net

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LESSON TWO: IDENTIFY YOUR PREDISPOSED RESPONSES TO PRESSURESThere are basically two was to do this. One is with your mind, the other is in your body.

THE MENTAL APPROACH

Think of a situation that feels like pressure to you, i.e. pushes your buttons. Make a short, simple statement out of it. It’s your “pressure statement,” and it will enable you to identify your predisposition(s.) You will also practice it later in this course when working with reverse body language. Say the statement to yourself (or have someone say it to you) and see what response it evokes. Examine the language of your response. Use your imagination. Do the words push back? Cave in? Resist?

A sample pressure statement might be, “You’re not good enough!”

Response: “You’re full of crap!”          (accusing)                  (push back)

                  “I’m ashamed.”                  (guilty)                     (caving in)

                  “ You’re just upset.”   (analytical)                  (resisting/rigid)

 We are studying Pushing Back, Caving In, and Resisting in order to learn to transform them into blending with pressure in a manner that preserves our integrity. There are two other possible responses to pressure that are worth mentioning, but we will not be focusing on them.

We can escape, i.e. “I don’t have time for this conversation.” While effective in many pressure situations, it’s not useful to study its transformation closely because it often leads to putting off dealing with the issue until another time. The other response, wrestling or manipulating, usually involve a tricky combination of the three most common responses we are choosing to use.

THE EMBODIED APPROACH

Say your pressure statement, or have someone say it to you, and notice how your body feels. Where in your body do you feel the statement touches? What does it feel like? Do you cave in, resist, or feel like pushing back?

Example: When I hear “You’re not good enough!” I may feel contracted, short of breath, withdrawn, or other manifestations of shame/guilt. That’s caving. If my shoulders rise and fists tighten, and I’m ready to fight back, that’s pushing. If I feel stiff or frozen, maybe I’m resisting.

With a partner you can confirm your identification, even without the pressure statement. That’s what we do when I teach this personally or in a workshop. Simply stand in front of your partner, anticipating the pressure, perhaps with one foot slightly in front of the other so that you can accept a gentle push on the chest. Invite your pressure-partner to push you gently, and notice your body’s response.

Confirm your predisposed response by inviting your partner to say your pressure-statement while pushing you. Your body will tell you instantly what your preconditioned response is. It’s interesting to note that your mind won’t tell you it’s predisposed response to pressure, especially when it’s under pressure.

WHAT NOW?

As you may have guessed, we can be predisposed to responding to pressure in different ways depending upon the source of pressure or the situation. I’m different with my child than my parents. I may cave in with the IRS, but resist an employee. The exercise of identifying a common predisposition helps you learn what this course teaches. Trust that your first selection of a pressure-statement will identify a common response.

You will select a course of instruction for the remainder of this program that suits your chosen (or revealed) predisposition. It’s the most meaningful context in which to learn to access body-wisdom under pressure.

When you have identified your most familiar predisposition for responding to pressure, you are ready for Lesson Three.

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PREPARATION FOR THE NEXT LESSON

You may proceed to the without answering these questions, but you will get more out of this course if you do, and you’ll teach me something:

What did you gain from Lesson Two?

What problems did you encounter in the last lesson?

What changes, if any, have you noticed in your thoughts, actions or movements?

Please email your answers to: jerry@greenermediations.net

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LESSON THREE: CORE ROTATIONS

Body-Wisdom Basics in Motion

Let’s start by reviewing the Body Wisdom Basics. (See LESSON ONE.)
THE LANGUAGES OF MY BODY ARE THREE

My head speaks a language of sequence, distinctions and judgments. Among other verbal languages English is valued for precision. Other languages have their own unique symphonies of attention and awareness.

My heart knows a sensing language inspired by breath and burdened by constriction. Its muscled armor guards a tender core; fluid and nourished mostly by air. It’s universal intelligence I call emotional. It is often in defiance of reason. Its wisdom is deep, accessible after waves subside. It takes its own time, and yet appears momentary.

My center knows intuitively, attuning to my weight, my inclinations. Its wisdom is an even deeper stillness, connected to Earth’s core, somehow having four sides and six directions. Its light is concealed and mysterious, but discernable. Its wisdom is timeless and universal - perhaps beyond training, but accessible by the practice of grounding.

At any moment, my head may know this and that. In my heart, feelings are always present. At my core, connections are beyond space and time. May I think in threes, know the wisdom appropriate for any given time, and act with confidence when thoughts align.

EMBODIED PRACTICE: Rotations
While standing with feet shoulder width apart, begin looking right then left, rotating around your spine in both directions. Let arms swing loosely with palms open, feeling downward. This is not swaying side to side, as much as turning around your core.

First begin moving from the idea in your head, leading with eyes. Let the rest of the body follow. Slowly increase speed and distance for a while, the slow down and rest.

Then begin rotating your torso, from the heart (which is in the middle, as much behind as in front.) Let the head go for the ride. Increase rate and distance, reduce, and rest. Notice the difference between this and when you led with your head.

Now begin the rotations from your pelvis. Let your arms move freely, projecting out and down as your rate increases. Your heart and head are in vertical line. Feel a weight transfer in your feet.

Once your pelvis begins the rotations, let the weight transfer take over as the initiator of the movement. Feel the drop in the shifting weight, and connect to the feeling of something bouncing back that’s related to the force of gravity. When you cultivate this feeling, your rotations will feel like they are initiated underground. Gravity is the attraction for your center from Earth’s core, four thousand miles beneath you. When the centers of your head, heart & hara are in vertical line, you are practicing turning from your core. Feel its core distinguished from your sleeve, or periphery, the outer layers of muscle.

Practice keeping your attention in your hara, your center of gravity, and its connection to Earth’s core.  Your movements will have a bounce, like that of a ball you simply dropped. Walks have bounce because of the release that comes before.

Notice how this practice affects your ordinary movements of walking, turning and reaching for telephones, doorknobs, other people… things.

When you can distinguish movement coming from the three centers easily, are able to practice rotations from your hara, and feel gravity fueling your movements from deep within the planet beneath your feet, then you are ready for Lesson Four.

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PREPARATION FOR THE NEXT LESSON

You may proceed to the without answering these questions, but you will get more out of this course if you do, and you’ll teach me something:

What did you gain from Lesson Three?

What problems did you encounter in the last lesson?

What changes, if any, have you noticed in your thoughts, actions or movements?

Please email your answers to: jerry@greenermediations.net

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LESSON FOUR: DEVELOPING GROUND AND CENTER

Body wisdom is singular. This course has separated learning body wisdom under pressure into three interconnected components. The separation is made to assist mental focus in learning. When you first learned to ride a bicycle, you separated pedaling skills from turning and braking to enable your mind to concentrate on the basics, but when you took to the hills, your body integrated these distinctions.

 Three Components: Gound, Center and Extension

This lesson covers the first two components, Ground and Center.

Without ground and center, engagement with pressure (extension) from your core is unreliable. You’ll learn these elements by enriching already familiar movements such as stepping forward and back. Later they will be applied to engaging with pressures.

EMBODIED PRACTICE:

Center

Stand comfortably, feet parallel and shoulder-width apart, with arms relaxed, with palms slightly open, as though feeling for the floor. Imagine a line in front of your toes, or stand in front of a line on the floor. Let your weight settle.

Step back with your right foot, just a comfortable distance, allowing it to open to the right, forming a triangular stance at right angle (or comfortably less) to your front foot. Continue facing forward. Notice your weight distribution in your feet. Shift your weight forward or back, only as far from the center as it was when you first noticed. Shift slowly back across the center to the place where you started.

Slowly shift forward and back each time crossing the center point equal distances in front and back, progressively reducing the distance from the center each time until finding stillness without rigidity. Rest here.

Now bring your back foot forward to the toe line and rest, feet parallel. Then step back with your other foot in the same manner and repeat the sequence practiced above. Step forward to the toe line again and rest.

Ground

From the starting position step, with either foot, back and down. By adding the “down” element, we have a new practice, which challenges the initial practice of finding center. By “stepping down” I’m suggesting dropping your attention and your body weight, as if backing down off the bottom step of a ladder on to the ground. Feel the down.

Notice if stepping back and down leaves you in front or behind your center-point, the place where your weight is equally distributed. Repeat the weight shifting, now with the added element of down. When you settle in the center, you should feel more connected to the Earth than you did in the first centering only practice. Come forward with your back foot without losing this grounded feeling and rest.

Step back and down with your other leg and repeat the practice, settling into ground and center. Notice the feeling of center with ground.

Step forward again to the toe line, and immediately step back and down with the other leg. Adjust to center, then step forward again to the line and back and down with the other leg. Alternate this practice slowly enough at first that you can find center more easily and with decreasing adjustment. Increase the pace of your practice at a rate that enables you to continue to feel ground and find center.

Initially, as you increase pace, you will sacrifice ground, center, or both. Notice what happens, as it will inform your practice, and slow the pace intermittently to deepen the practice, pausing regularly in stillness, either at the toe line or in either triangle pose. Make spaces in which to settle.

As you learn to increase pace without sacrificing center or ground, you will want your arms to become involved, but avoid swinging with muscular exertion. Instead, a feeling of energy passing through your palms can be extend forward and around in movement that has verticality.  It bounces. Hands release energy into the ground and receive kinetic energy from Earth.  Open your hands (fingers touching, extended but relaxed,)  as though are carrying something and receiving.

Take a walk, slowly. You have learned grounding by stepping back. Can you feel a change in your connection with ground while stepping forward? When you can, you are ready for lesson Five.

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PREPARATION FOR THE NEXT LESSON

You may proceed to the without answering these questions, but you will get more out of this course if you do, and you’ll teach me something:

What did you gain from Lesson Four?

What problems did you encounter in the last lesson?

What changes, if any, have you noticed in your thoughts, actions or movements?

Please email your answers to: jerry@greenermediations.net

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LESSON FIVE:RELEASING, the preparation for learning extension.

In this lesson you will build upon your sense of center the power of release.

EMBODIED PRACTICE

Stand comfortably with feet parallel. Feel inside your whole body, and give your somatic state a name, perhaps a color or texture. Hold that quality, it’s tenor and mood in your hands as if in a basket or bowl. Imagine it has weight.

Step back and down, and let go of the contents of your bowl. Follow their fall with listening palms into the ground directly beneath you, anticipating their complete release. Be ready to receive whatever “bounces back” from Earth’s core. Something always rushes into the vacuum we create by letting go of a mood, attitude, or feeling. Receive this quality, and step forward containing it again in your bowl. Maybe you can name it, but you needn’t try if it’s nature doesn’t com easily. Feel it. Breathe and take it into your heart with your hands. Let it affect you.

When you notice a new somatic state emerge from what you have absorbed, contain this new quality in your bowl. Again, naming it is not essential, but it’s a good practice when you are uncertain about feeling it. When ready, release it in a step back and down. Release all you have of it, and await he return of something new. Receive it through your palms, step forward, and take this new quality inside.

Contain this effect and then step back and release it again.  Repeat with increasing pace without losing the completeness of the release and the absorption. Slow your pace intermittently focusing attention on ground, center, and reflection.

Take a walk and feel the release and absorption happening with each step. Sit quietly and feel the release and absorption happening with the cycles of inhaling and exhaling.

When you begin to feel a dynamic vertical core of support and movement in your body, you are ready for Lesson Six.PREPARATION FOR THE NEXT LESSON

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You may proceed to the without answering these questions, but you will get more out of this course if you do, and you’ll teach me something:

What did you gain from Lesson Five?

What problems did you encounter in the last lesson?

What changes, if any, have you noticed in your thoughts, actions or movements?

Please email your answers to: jerry@greenermediations.net

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LESSON SIX: EXTENSION

In this lesson, you will learn to build upon the power of release the ability to extend from your core. This will enable you to engage pressure without losing ground and center.

EMBODIED PRACTICE

Begin in a comfortable stance on your toe line. Step back/down with either foot, feeling the release practiced in Lesson Four. Shift your weight forward and back, slowly at first, this time allowing your movement to extend your arms forward as your pace increases. Palms face one another as channels of energy. Extend your arms forward from your belly as your weight transfers forward and release them down toward your hips as your weight transfer back. It’s like swinging, but it has the feeling of releasing down and projecting forward.

Releasing down is an extension. Shifting weight forward projects this out in front of you without muscular effort of lifting or pushing. Begin this practice slowly, then increase your pace gradually without losing ground and center as practiced in previous exercises. Slow down gradually and rest, feeling energy circulating in your body. Exchange feet and repeat with the other foot forward.

When you begin feeling comfortable with this practice, stop the movement at some point when your arms are projected fully in front of you and settle your body weight in the center between your feet. Feel the strength of your extension supported by your grounded and centered posture. It is the attitude of this position that we wish to convey when learning to engage with pressure. It’s fully extended energetically without effort or pushing. A balanced, grounded base also supports it. It will feel resilient but not rigid; responsive to pressure without caving in.

When you experience these feelings from the exercise, carry the attitude into a walk. Stop intermittently, and extending forward without the movement practice. When you can walk around with your arms relaxed and feeling extension, and when you can extend this attitude forward without the movement practice, you are ready for Lesson Seven.

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PREPARATION FOR THE NEXT LESSON

You may proceed to the without answering these questions, but you will get more out of this course if you do, and you’ll teach me something:
What did you gain from Lesson Six?

What problems did you encounter in the last lesson?

What changes, if any, have you noticed in your thoughts, actions or movements?

Please email your answers to: jerry@greenermediations.net

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LESSON SEVEN: ENGAGEMENT

In this lesson, you will learn to build upon the power of extension from your core in order to engage pressure without losing ground and center.

EMBODIED PRACTICE

Begin as learned in the last lesson, feeling your energy extended without muscular exertion in front of you, supported by a stable, centered base. Refresh this feeling with the extension movements practiced in Lesson Six until you can pick up the extension at will.

This lesson adds the practice of having someone who is standing directly in front of you put pressure on your extension by simply grasping both your wrists simultaneously, as if to hold them together for tying, and giving you enough gentle pressure to enable you to practice keeping your extension without stiffening or caving in. The pressure should be directed into your center or your spine, as if to push you back, perhaps into a corner.

Feel your extension and ground as the grab is coming. We usually see pressure coming and area in our predisposed reaction before it reaches us. Extend your fingers, opening your hands from your center, before the grab reaches you or as soon as it does. Feel the weight of your own “somatic state” that you are extending in front of you. Let the feeling of its weight, indeed the weight of your entire body be more important than the grabber or feeling of being grabbed. (show Jan’s photo of hands)

Your practice is to learn to accept more pressure without effort. Vary he height of your arms when receiving the wrist grabs, so that you are comfortable at different levels. Your hands can be right in front of your navel and still feel extension. Your extension enables to you connect the pressure to the vertical core of your body that earlier practices have developed. Because you are extending your energy, not pushing, your pressure-partner should begin to feel your entire body weight, not the muscles of your arms and shoulders.

Another nice way to practice this engaged extension is by walking up to a wall or doorpost with your extension. A rigid structure can give you valid feedback, perhaps better than a live partner, about whether your extension is centered and grounded in your core or just pushing from somewhere in your body that is peripheral to your core. Since the wall doesn’t talk back, you are free to concentrate your attention within yourself. This is another nice dimension of the practice, since we are working up to the pressure coming in words as well.

This lesson focuses attention on engaging pressure with extension from a centered, grounded core without mental complications associated with words and concepts. When you feel like you have this piece down, you are ready to add the mental complications associated with your “pressure statements” we explored in Lesson Two. That’s the next lesson.

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PREPARATION FOR THE NEXT LESSON

You may proceed to the without answering these questions, but you will get more out of this course if you do, and you will teach me something:

What did you gain from Lesson Seven?

What problems did you encounter in the last lesson?

What changes, if any, have you noticed in your thoughts, actions or movements?

Please email your answers to: jerry@greenermediations.net

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LESSON EIGHT: REVERSE BODY LANGUAGE

Lesson Seven taught engaging pressure with extension from a centered, grounded core without the mental complications associated with words and concepts. Now we add the mental complications associated with your “pressure statements” we explored in Lesson Two.

EMBODIED PRACTICE

Have someone take you by the wrists as we learned in the last lesson. This time, have them say your pressure statement along with the physical pressure. (You’re not good enough, fast enough, smart enough… etc. You never listen.) Make up one or more that you feel as pressure. Settle into your center and meet the physical pressure with extension. Practice comfort under pressure.

When you hear your pressure statement, don’t speak your mind’s first response. You will likely hear one, but don’t say it just yet. It will be more interesting to speak about later. Notice how your body feels, in particular your heart and your belly/hara. Where does the pressure statement touch you? That’s a clue to responding empathically or intuitively instead of mentally. Read (put words to) your own body language, perhaps your attitude, and speak these thoughts. It may be just, “I hear you.” Just listening is a gift to both parties in a dispute or argument.  (HANDS FOTO)  “I’m listening,” is the most common thing people say about the blend. It’s also the most important attitude to have when you feel pressure. This Aikido technique we are practicing is also an attitude. Somatic attunement means self-listening.

A heart felt empathic response could be about yourself, or about the other person. “When I hear what you said, I feel sad, worried. etc…” That’s self empathy. Empathy for the other may take the form of, “When I hear that, I can imagine that you might be angry.” Heart/torso wisdom is an emotional intelligence. This language is conceptual, but not linear, perhaps not rational. When you feel and respond to pressure from this place you can still address the “pressure statement,” but you will use words differently.

If you respond from your core/hara, you will express deeper needs or values, such as, “I am here for you now, present,” or “Thank you for sharing, but I want to leave now.” It’s about appreciating truth, being in the moment, acceptance, compassion, and basic needs like light, heat, air, food, water and love.

Take a little walk and repeat this practice, asking your partner to change the pressure statement a bit or increase the pace or intensity of the grab just enough to enable you to deepen your practice. Notice the differences without judging.

When you can hear a challenging statement from someone and feel in your body where the statement touches you, you are ready for the next lesson. You will begin to notice also when statements from other people are coming from the head, heart or hara. It the content about story, emotions, or unmet needs. You will have more choice in deciding how to respond. Head, heart and hara may be aligned or not. You can decide whether to speak orrespond with reasoned thinking, emotional wisdom, intuition about unmet needs.


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PREPARATION FOR THE NEXT LESSON

You may proceed to the without answering these questions, but you will get more out of this course if you do, and you’ll teach me something:

What did you gain from Lesson Eight?

What problems did you encounter in the last lesson?

What changes, if any, have you noticed in your thoughts, actions or movements?

Please email your answers to: jerry@greenermediations.net

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LESSON NINE: APPLICATIONS AND PRACTICE

Applications

The elements of blending, which are centering, grounding and extension, feel empowering and rich with potential for both people. It’s invigorating. It trains our attention upon the integrity that we bring to the encounter, and avoids being distracted by, or reactive to the pressure. It enables us, to harmonize with the pressure, while maintaining our own balance, safety and integrity. This practice informs our minds, eliciting a different train of thought than the habituated responses likely to perpetuate adversity and conflict.

How do we use this in real arguments? If you have a willing partner, you can, in the midst of argument, embody a pressing statement with a physical pressure. Blend. Listen to the body. Wait until the attitude or the posture speaks to the situation.

If you don't have a willing partner, you can access this by yourself. When you are rehearsing the argument, notice your body language. One student reported washing an argument into her dishes one night. She stopped, found ground, center and extension. She felt the weight of her own truth and held it in her arms. She resumed doing dishes with different attitude, and of course, had very different thoughts about the argument.

You can also do this in the midst of an argument by cutting the pace back to allow for some alone time. Take a break. Your contender can probably use one too. But you can be more constructive. Notice your body language. Feel the options in your body. Giving in? Retaliate? Get rigid? Ground, feel your extension. Breathe. Offer your truth. Wait for the attitude to bring to mind a new strategy.

But even in he midst of conflict, you can access body-wisdom and draw from it inspired words actions that evoke compassionate peace making in yourself and others. Drop your attention into your breath. Feel the weight of your torso balanced upon your core and your pelvis. Drop your weight into the ground beneath your feet and feel how they support you. Listen for a grounded, centered response to pressure bounce back to you from Eaths’ core. Put that response into words or actions, or the great gift of silence, that says, “I am listening.”

So there you have it. Three ways to use this. Embody conflict with a willing contender, transform your own responses when you have or can make a little time for yourself, or call upon body-wisdom in the midst of word wars.

Practice

If you are not an Aikido student by now, you can get better at handling pressure by incorporating the elements of blending that you have learned into daily practice. If you are easily disciplined, practice the exercise in Lesson Six (which incorporates the previous lessons) into your daily movement ritual. Practice the elements without verbal pressures, and trust that the somatic wisdom will be available to you when you want it.

You have probably guessed that you have to want it, and that you will always be free to employ your predisposed responses to verbal pressure by ignoring your body wisdom. Hopefully this course has introduced your mind to the value of accessing body wisdom consciously. The choice will always be yours.

If you are like, me and train intuitively, the key is in finding a way to tap into your interest and curiosity, so that your occasional practice serves your changing needs. My suggestion is to practice the Lesson Six movements daily for one week only, preferably early enough to notice what this does for you during the day. Then let it go, but be open to having the impulse to draw upon what the practice gives you in pieces that fit into your upcoming days. The goal is to practice, so that you keep your skills, and allow them to develop. The challenge for the undisciplined is to learn to practice out of interest and curiosity.

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PREPARATION FOR THE NEXT LESSON

You may proceed to the without answering these questions, but you will get more out of this course if you do, and you’ll teach me something:

What did you gain from Lesson Nine?

What problems did you encounter in the last lesson?

What changes, if any, have you noticed in your thoughts, actions or movements?

Please email your answers to: jerry@greenermediations.net

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LESSON TEN: Aiki-dance. Two Step Fun and Games

Lessons 1-6 taught the basic elements of somatic attunement in blending, a practice common to all Aikido “techniques.” This lesson expands the practice to a universal energy warm up taught in Aikido schools throughout the world. It is more incomplete in this outline form without video support than the other lessons because its increased movement is easier to see than read about, but I promised you a ten-lesson outline. You have the full course in nine. This is the fun and games element.

It is offered here because it is a fun fitness practice that supports what you have learned, and extends it into a partner dance. It informs and enriches turning in dancing and ordinary daily movements like going for the phone or the doorknob.

This lesson begins by reviewing Lesson Five, with particular focus on feeling the core. You are about to challenge your core awareness with increased turning. Alternate stepping back in a grounded practice, increasing your pace, allowing your arms to move freely as taught in the rotations practice.

Gradually extend stepping back to include increasing turn in the direction of the toe line. If you started facing South, your increasing turns would take you from East to West along your toe line.

If you count both directions, your turns could cover 180 degrees (they started at about 30 with the step straight back,) but they don’t need to go that far. They should go as far as you are comfortable with not losing your core awareness. If you progress with this commitment, your turns will be effortless and dance like. Increase the 30 to 45, increasing the angle to where you face alternatively in opposite directions on you start line.

The two partner version of this is simply doing this with a partner who you keep turning to face and pass closely by in the middle. Unless you’ve seen this in Aikido dojos, I don’t expect you’ll get this without the video (coming soon,) but you may if you’re lucky, or if you contemplate well. You start facing one another across toe lines about a foot apart. If you both step back simultaneously with the right leg, you will move in opposite directions along your toe lines. And you’ll enjoy this more when my video clip is up. (I'll notify you by email, and you'll receive a special upgrade offer.

You can probably get a good feel for the footwork in the video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s77tJ6XGiNg. The movement sequence in the technique discussed after the turning demonstration is more hand instruction than you need now.
You're done. Come back to review.

Stay in touch with the planet, like the actions of water and the cycles of the moon.

          TUNING IN to the Body

Copyright 2009 Greener Mediations  
jerry(at)greenermediations(dot)net