Ever heard of a spiritual community in the North East of Scotland called Findhorn?
A fabulous place which has been running for 60 years as a community committed to ‘A radically transformed world where humanity embodies the Sacred, we honour each other and co-create wisely and lovingly with all life’.
I was lucky enough to be there recently to attend some movement training with Open Floor International.
Dancing in the beautiful pentagon-shaped Universal Hall built by ‘literally thousands of people’, where many great international acts and events of a heartful nature have taken place, was a tremendous privilege.
The training, called Common Sense, was about emotional embodiment. We were understanding our emotional world and those of others through our moving bodies. As I often do in Open Floor sessions, I went into deep unconscious processes barely remembering what had happened afterwards. The whole experience had a dreamlike quality though I come away with heightened awareness, vitality, creativity and sense of interconnectedness to all life.
The invitation was to ‘move and include’ whatever shows up in any given moment. Open Floor reminds us that as we move the stories and patterns (held in the body/mind system) that hold us back we turn these into creative fuel. Delicious!
A Big Crowd
I found myself full of gratitude for the opportunity to be able to dance and move with 80 participants who attended this part of the training. Covid rules had meant that my previous training with Open Floor had all been online. This event was hybrid, most of the group was in the room but a few people who were unable to attend due to visas, health or other issues joined in online. We were encouraged not only to dance with those who were present, the ‘Roomies’, but to move around strategically placed screens to also dance with the ‘Zoomies’, something that felt very natural having done it for the 2 years of Covid restrictions.
Feel Fully Alive
The dancefloor is the perfect place to feel fully alive. Open Floor teaches us that the ‘non-verbal avenue’ is a place ‘to feel, sort, express, share, regulate and let go of emotional states and sensations’, and is the ‘source and resource of our emotional intelligence’.
Having worked in the field of ‘talking therapy’ for several decades, I am continuously awed by the wisdom of the body and the possibilities for growth and change that it offers. We now also have the understandings of neuroscience, how we carry trauma in the body and other scientific and research information orientating us in this direction.
Talking and Moving
So often now as I sit with my therapy clients, I can see how the things they talk about show up in their physical bodies. Not everyone feels confident or safe enough to use movement to explore their material, but just bringing more attention to breath and asking people where they feel emotions in their body can be very helpful.
Sometimes asking people to move their experience can be too unsettling or activating. Feeling held in a safe and regulated space is key for allowing overwhelming and unintegrated experiences - trauma - to be slowly redigested in manageable doses. Talking therapy is ideal for the creation of a safe and trusting relationship container for this work to happen. Once the trust is there, movement work can play a vital role in accessing experience stored in sensory based memory.
Drop the Project
One (of many) great moments in the training: We had finished an active phase of movement and were invited to ‘settle’ or rest our bodies. The only thing that the facilitator said was ‘drop the project’. At first I didn’t understand: what project? Then I understood. The project was the things my mind was working on: the constant chatter, commentary, comparing, analysing and self-criticism. Phew. What a relief. With the project dropped, I reorientated my attention to breath, being slow and the simple experience of presence, of being here. Then I could rest fully.
Flomotion Dance grew out of years of dance practice such as Open Floor, and many of the ideas outlined above are embedded into the Flomotion experience.
Come and join us on the dancefloor (online or in person). Experience the joy and simplicity of embodied movement practice and how catalytic this is in regulating emoti