Category Archives: the body

inspired conversations

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I had the pleasure of speaking to Amy Schuber for her PODCAST, Inspired Conversations.

We talked about some of the following:

  • Embodiment as a conscious flowing awareness of inner and outer experiencing.
  • Orienting to pleasure and how horses can help us
  • Inter-species communication through the shared language of movement and touch
  • Consciously moving toward greater expansion and flow in our lives
  • Gaining access to more of our creative selves
  • How we can open to the unexpected, and have a more improvisational, playful relationship to life
  • How our relationships (human and equine) are about reciprocity: the balance between giving and receiving

I hope that you enjoy listening.  Don’t hesitate to contact me with the email link below if you have questions or would like to schedule a session in my studio, at the stable or via Skype.

SHARE & EMAIL

the playful body

1M0B8555Dillon Paul, DeAnna Pellecchia and Ingrid Schatz in FLIGHT at Mistover Farm, Pawling, NY     Photo: Jeffrey Anderson

 

Yesterday I had the privilege of giving a webinar on working with horses and movement for the Somatic Experiencing© Trauma Healing Institute.

One of the things that I said during that talk was that for most people, movement is functional: about going somewhere or doing something. In that “going/doing preoccupation” much of the expressive world of our movement can be lost. We forget that we are all dancers. We forget to play, and that we are moving participants in a human/animal herd!

Screen Shot 2018-01-12 at 2.08.18 PMChandrika Carl-Jones, DeAnna Pellecchia, Summer Brennan and Amado in ALL THE PRETTY HORSES at Little Brook Farm, Old Chatham, NY                        Photo:  Pam White

 

In my experience, by “waking up” the body, becoming more improvisational and playful in our movement interactions, becoming more aware of how we are moving and how that movement feels – we can begin to feel and connect to each other more clearly, with greater curiosity and fluency. After all, 60-80% of our movement interactions are non-verbal.  Movement is our first and most important shared language!

The horses can help us with that. When I am working with a client or student, I focus on supporting her (or him) in listening inwardly to their own bodies, and in particular to any impulses for movement. If we are working with a horse, I may ask them to simply rest with their hands on the horse, noticing the horse’s and their own responses and the feeling in their own body. Breathing. Settling into a shared, breathing stillness. Feeling the play between stillness and whatever movement may be happening.  Connecting the inside of themselves with the inside of the horse.

From there, instead of just moving the hands to another place on the horse’s body, or petting or massaging the horse, wait for an impulse from your own body to move your hands.  If there is no impulse to move, just stay where you are.  Be curious about that.  When you do move, imagine moving from a sense of  attunement with the horse. After moving,  let yourself settle into the reciprocal (giving and receiving) feeling of that connection.

If you have questions about working with movement and horses, or would like to schedule a session or a clinic, you can contact me at pjj@paulajosajones.org

the shape of water

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Immersion, suspension, depths, quiet, transformation.  I saw Guillermo Del Toro’s extraordinary new movie, The Shape of Water, last night.  It is my new favorite movie of all time.  Last night, my dreams were full of images of underwater suspension, hovering in the depths, of state changes, solubility.

Maybe some of this is because I am developing a water dance, River/Body, and my thoughts and dreams are very full of what it is to enter the waters, to become the waters, to join our waters with other waters. One part of my research involved learning about the small creatures living within the currents, unseen, always present – damselfly nymphs, water boatmen, diving beetles, giant water bugs – little beasts of the river shallows.

This movie is about a larger creature – a merman and his connection with a different kind of nymph. If you have not seen it, I highly recommend it.  Sally Hawkins is exquisite – Chaplinesque –  reminding me of Fellini’s lovely wife, the actress Giulietta Masina

And then this movie is an inter-species love affair. I have spent the last twenty years exploring what can happen between species – specifically horses and humans – if we will only listen, if we will only allow ourselves to drop into the deep well of sharing movement as language, movement as the heart of connection. In this drama between a mute girl and a creature from the depths, movement is everything and silence speaks volumes.

the witness

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I am on Martha’s Vineyard, entering the waters of moving presence with my autistic godson Jacob, and his parents. Today his mother JoAnn and I entered our work through the discipline of Authentic Movement. First Jacob and JoAnn are the movers, I am witness.  Then Jacob and I are movers as JoAnn witnesses.  The receptive embodied presence of the witness is the deep lake in which the movement is reflected and held.

Entering one’s own movement in the presence of Jacob is something like dancing with a horse.  Eyes need to be open, because he is unpredictable, riding the rough, twisting currents or his own movement.  But there are steep differences. Jacob is not choosing, he is being chosen by his movements.  There are moments of deliberate attention, but then those dissolve back into the mystery of his patterns. He is both porous and impenetrable. Sometimes we are dancing together, other times rapt in our individual experiencing. I have experienced this alone togetherness in a paddock with a horse.

In 2002, Janet Adler wrote:

As many of us know, autistic children have a tremendous capacity to concentrate. They can do one movement indefinitely. What is the force in these children that draws them, continues to sustain them, into repeating certain movements over and over?

Needing to find the children, to find myself in their presence, I chose to concentrate into the very stuff of each gesture by actually entering the precious detail of their bodies moving, trying to move exactly as they did. In doing so I had the privilege of learning their silent language. I found them in a merged state with their own movement- because of an absence of an inner witness
 fervently focused on their idiosyncratic movement patterns. These children taught me about movement patterns. Could their prayer have been: “See me, and then I can see myself?” And so, slowly, accompanied by an outer, moving, open-eyed witness, they began, just began, to see themselves. In such moments of grace, an inner witness was born, barely born- tiny beginnings, enormous moments in my life. It was here that an opportunity for a dialogic relationship between us emerged.

I have been entering the precious detail of Jacob’s movement for 16 years.  Today, in the cold winter sun, surrounded by the bare trees, the soft thin grass, the lengthening shadows, I am still a student, still moving, still listening, moving and waiting to be moved.