Ways of looking


Have you ever found yourself wanting to watch, to contemplate some people, or animals, flowers... for hours just because.

I have, many times, and it is simply because I am fascinated, in awe, something that is difficult to explain rationally. Probably because it is very much an emotional pull, a longing towards a tangible expression of the ineffable, the divine.

I remember some time ago staring at people in the park simply because of the way they were languorously half lying down, imbibing myself with their carefree, pleasure seeking aromas.

Or spotting the humorous kindness of one’s eyes and wishing to sink in their well for a little while. Sometimes it is a demeanour that triggers a distant memory and I stop and look, intrigued, curious, in a state of wonder, as I actively re-member or lazily linger.

I can also be mesmerised by the way someone is deeply involved in a particular action, their whole being committed to a precise task that ignores all else around them.

Observing their effortless focusing strips my own self consciousness of its protective coat and allows me to rest safely within.

I ask myself what is behind the veil of the apparent mask someone is wearing that day or I simply day dream while looking, without judging may I add, just weaving a thread of thought around a fantasy storyboard.

This act of witnessing, of recognising, brings me into deeper presence with another who may not be aware that my inner story-telling orbits around their personae.

During a biodynamic craniosacral session, my gaze is inward as well as out. I have trained it so that it may also go beneath the skin and my whole body holds and can, at times, respond to and/or mirror this client’s bodily expressions.

I do not create stories but listen to theirs arise as I hold, as I make gentle hand contact, and support what is calling for assistance.

My anchored midline resonates to the mirroring of my client’s and I echo my former Body Intelligence tutor, Colin Perrow’s words: “from midline to midline, from heart to heart.”

Our focused presence allows areas needing support to change the space and attention to safely engage and potentise.

I love observing the human form just like I love observing other animals, trees or plants too. It is a manifestation of a longing to be with, deeply; to feel within one’s tissues and organs this interconnectivity of all things, human and non-human.

This act can be profoundly healing. It is, in my felt experience, an embodied exchange between the seen and the unseen, a bridging through the eyes of our sense of separateness that longs for another’s presence, like a beautifully mysterious call and response chant.

I see you while connecting deeply within. This in turn feeds a richer, more abundant felt experience of the other; strengthening a circle of unspoken but profoundly sensitive and sensuous communication.

I attended a most special, even extraordinary event called the Movement Medicine Long Dance ceremony. Dreamt by Ya’Acov Darling Khan and manifested with the help of his wife Susannah, it was its tenth inception last week. Some 180 people in turn witnessed, danced, played music, dreamt, held the space and watched for 72 hours.

While I witnessed dancers, I felt I gave and received energy as I fed my soul observing their emotional as well as their physical bodies express an internal reality that sometimes doesn’t dare to be spoken with words.

Observing is a deeply moving and wondrous act. As I recognise in the other that which is in me I step beyond the ‘I’ to become ‘we’.

As I am surprised by the might or the delicacy of one’s life force I lean within ever more and support, holding dear all these cells in motion: divine, sacred expressions of an intangible, irrepressible, invincible universal life force, one that preceded us and will survive us all.

We are, all of us, human and non human, the expression made manifest of this life force. The sacred act of witnessing, holding, watching is like an offering, a manna from god knows where, feeding the loop.

“People gathered to observe with one another multiply their capacity to uncover precious bits of reality otherwise hidden behind veils,” says Arkan Lushwalla, Deer and Thunder, 2017.

It is extremely powerful. I caught myself a few times observing tribal chief and shaman Manari Kaji Ushigua Santi, from the Sapara tribe in the Ecuadorian Amazon, who graced us with his beautifully natural presence, along with his wife Belen Paez and their young son Tsamaraw.

I found myself wanting to cry as I did so and wondering why. But then it dawned on me that this indigenous presence was calling mine, yearning to trust itself and be awoken, regenerated and called upon to do my best for life on this Earth, not because I wish to shine or be rewarded, just because it is my natural birth right as a species to wish to and work towards safely enjoying being alive in harmony with others on this beautiful planet.

I could say that the act of observing and witnessing in ceremony is an indigenous act of universal remembrance and reconnection.

I count my blessings.


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