A few weeks ago in Tamar’s class, Tamar started off the class by asking us where in our body we felt tight or stiff. I mentioned my feet, someone else mentioned their lumbar area and a third person said, their brain. We laughed, and then the laughter stopped. In the spirit of the class and following Tamar’s lead, we began an hour and a half exploration of the brain as if it were just another part of the body and a point of initiation for movement. This exploration has continued for the last few weeks.
This dancing with and from our brains was a new idea for us that has opened up a whole incredible realm of possibilities. So much of our focus for the last several years has been about the body, its various parts and those parts in relationship to themselves and each other. We don’t often think about that mush inside the bones that are our skull- and what mush! The brain is incredibly layered (it’s mostly fat and water), full of neurons, it actually floats in liquid and generates and runs on electricity- Electricity! After a few classes, adding the brain to our arsenal of movement scripting seems like a real…well, no brainer.
For several years I have been working with a young woman named Margot. She is also a “character” in the documentary. We meet once a week for 2-3 hours at a time and she always sends me feedback in the form of notes. Following the first time we worked with the brain in class, I decided it to try it with her and I found her notes following that particular session the clearest and most articulate I have ever seen.
One major facet of the work is the development of a different vocabulary to address the body. More on this in a future blog post, but this meld of images, actual anatomy and ideas to feed into the body was something Tamar and I developed over time. It is something we are passing on to people like Margot and our Posse members.
With her permission, I have included Margot’s notes here.
May 3 2015
I saw Gregg today. I think he noticed I was a little tense. I came into the room and had a pretty nice landing when I put my tailbone further down to sit. Gregg had an idea. He went down the steps, got on the floor and rolled over a few times himself. “I think I want to do some dancing with you rather than walking. I’m not a choreographer but I remember some stuff” said Gregg. “Sounds good to me. It’s all dancing with body directions though. Nobody walks like that.” I said. He put two books under each of my feet. The PTs used to do the same thing in an attempt to keep my feet in a more parallel position. It didn’t really work back then. “Your body is different now” Gregg reminded me. He was absolutely right. The muscles near my sits bones on the back of my leg felt like they had a giant knot in them but other than that my legs were more receptive than they were back in my years of PT. I asked Gregg to hold my legs in place at first just in case. For a change it was easier to keep my legs on the books once Gregg forced me to close my eyes because I didn’t feel like my legs were off the ground. “How about moving from your brain like it is just like any other body part” Gregg suggested. He explained that before we more or less viewed our brains as something big that we had to work around because it was against us. I also have to wonder if Gregg didn’t focus on the brain as much because I used to separate “the CP” from “myself” verbally.
I understand why that was a concern for Gregg because in a sense by separating it from me I was denying a part of myself and letting “the CP” control me. In all honesty though I just thought of thinking of CP that way was just plain cute and nothing more than words before. Anyway, as soon as I started body scripting with my brain the same way I would with my shoulder blades or sternum my brain replied “Thanks for noticing me.” I noticed my brain could “talk” like the other parts of my body more or less. All I could think of was the fluid that surrounds the brain moving around like when I shake on the floor with the brain floating around. It made me get little mouth shakes. I had a lot of yawning. I used the brain image of lengthen my neck, I had an image of the CP(which kind of looked like a cute little bent neuron) finding a little door inside my brain and locking itself inside saying “I’m not coming out!” then pasting a sign on the tiny door saying “OCCUPIED!” Meanwhile the spiraling signal(a straight neuron) was watching nearby in another part of my brain. Gregg told me to put another little brain image in my pelvic floor. Then he turned youtube on again so I could dance to the classical music. I was happy both my upper and lower body were getting attention. Gregg told me to move my shoulder blades,clavicles, and from my armpits more. Then he had me work with “the inside of my legs”. It felt like dancing simply with the spiraling image itself. At one point the spiraling seemed to move at the same speed as the beat of the song. As this was happening I had the image of a door that looked like a saltine cracker and was completely edible. I tend to think of food when I do certain body/movement scripts for some random reason. Then my arms stretched over to one side of the couch and went in circles as my fingers ran over my neck and other body parts. As my legs and arms moved together to the song I felt a free flow of signals/energy that was similar to shaking(except voluntary) and had an almost magical quality. My whole body was in full voluntary spiral mode. When my body feels like this I have almost no tension at all and my body can move anywhere it wants. “You’re a good dancer Margot” said Gregg. I stood up and ended up stepping backwards instead of falling which was cool.