This is a beautiful book. I have had the great good fortune of studying with Mark, and so I can say with certainty that this is a person who truly walks (and rides) the talk. Mark’s writing is so engaging, so plain-spoken and yet eloquent, that I find myself reading just several pages at a time, savoring the writing like rich chocolate.
As a Somatic Movement Therapist, a body person, dancer, movement analyst, I am always in search of writing that percolates into the body, that changes me as I read. This is his gift to not just the rider, but all of us. His view of softness is not limited to the riders hands, or seat of legs, but extends to every aspect of life. He helps us to bring greater awareness and “feel” to each moment.
Doing that wakes us up to a bodily relationship to the present. Ellen Langer, author of Mindfulness, talks about it as learning to notice new things. Softly holding my cup of tea this morning, I began to see how the light moved through the glass candlesticks and vase on the table as if it were underwater. I heard the sound of the dogs moving above us like little rattles. I felt the warmth of the cup moving up my arms. New things.
In my last Advanced Somatic Experiencing class with Berns Galloway, he encouraged us to orient toward pleasure. What I also have noticed, with my soft, mindful attention, is the tendency to orient toward pain, toward anxiety. It is actually easier to harden around those old, repeating thoughts than to sit in the soft newness of the now. Why is that?
Because being hard (hard body, hard mind, hard heart) is easier than vulnerability and openness. In Mark’s book, the reader will find help for all of that. Look and see!