Tag Archive | Embodiment

Fullness

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What is the difference between Mindfulness and Embodiment?”

“Both essentially mean Self-Awareness.

Mindfulness adds the nuance of Non-Judgmental Awareness.

Embodiment adds the nuance of Awareness of yourself AS a Body. It could equally be phrased Bodyfulness.”

“What if you integrated them together into one word: BodyMindfulness?”

“It’s a bit long.”

“How about simply Fullness?”

Values as Deliberate Practice

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I deliberately practice my Values?”

“Let’s take Gratitude as an example.

Every time you express Gratitude for something, you’re practicing it. We might call this, one ‘Gratitude-rep[etition]’.

How many Gratitude-reps do you do during a day?

I call this, practice-density.

You might do it once at the end of the day. Certainly better than nothing. However the more reps you do during a day, the better. All these little reps add up.

How you do the reps is also important.

How many quality Gratitude-reps do you do during a day?

A low-quality rep is just going through the motions in order to get it done.

A quality rep is doing it slowly and reverently, like a ritual. You might even have a physical gesture, like the bowing in martial arts, or a stance.
A quality rep is fully experiencing the feeling of Gratitude in your body – a quality rep is embodied.

In a sense, every quality rep is a Meditation.

It’s also important to gain clarity on – design – the details of the practice. 

What specifically do you want to do?
What specifically do you want to think? Where do you want to direct your attention?

For instance, I think of everything I express Gratitude for as a Gift.

You might even have a theme that captures the essence of the practice.”

“What is the theme for your Gratitude practice?”

Take NOTHING for granted.

Moment-to-moment Checklist

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“I’m (re)learning to get in touch with my BodyMind and my emotions. I’ve been reading a lot about it lately. It’s challenging, after being disembodied for so long, but I’m making progress.”

“What does your practice look like?”

“The main practice is a moment-to-moment mental checklist I created for myself. This is part of a bigger practice which I call Loving Awareness. The checklist consists of four self-checks:

Breathing: How’s my breathing? Am I breathing through my nose or my mouth?
Posture: How’s my posture?
Expansiveness: Am I expansive or contracted?
Relaxation: What am I feeling? Where in my body am I feeling it? Where am I holding tension?

A beautiful idea I know from Dan Brulé’s book Just Breathe is the two fundamentals of Breathwork – the process of mastering your breathing: Breath Awareness and Conscious Breathing.

He calls Breath Awareness ‘Being the breath’ – ‘The breath breathes you.’
He calls Conscious Breathing ‘Doing the breath’ – ‘You breathe the breath.’

I’d read a lot about breathing, and everyone spoke only about the latter. From Dan Brulé I learned the beautiful practice of just being with (and savoring) your breath, without trying to control it in any way.

Expansiveness refers to physical expansiveness – how much physical space I’m occupying –, and attentional expansiveness – how wide my field of awareness is. I noticed I have a tendency to collapse my field of awareness, especially when under the influence of unpleasant feelings. This check is meant to counter that.

Relaxation is essentially a body scan, with the scope of eliminating all tension. As I notice tension, I embrace it with Loving Acceptance and let it go.”

Impromptu Meditation

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What do you mean by impromptu meditation?”

“Impromptu meditation is an unplanned meditation that can be done at any time, anywhere, improv style.”

“Is that even possible?”

“It requires some mental magic.

We all form a default mental image of the minimum length a meditation session is supposed to have. I like to think of it as our default unit of practice. The larger the size of the unit, the less flexible it is. If my unit is 5 minutes long and I only have 1 minute, I’m unable to practice. 
This is a top-down process. I’m metaphorically trying to fit something into a small space.

For maximum flexibility, the unit needs to be smaller. I call the smallest atomic unit of practice micro-meditation. A micro-meditation is one embodied breath (EBreath [<link; medium read]). 
This is a bottom-up process. I’m metaphorically filling up the available space, however small it is.”

“Like water.”

“Indeed.

So impromptu-meditation requires two things:
– a mental structure: the micro-meditation model
– a mental attitude: the Improviser mindset / model

On Magic and Implementation

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I optimize Implementation?”

“One of the keys to improving Thinking is the capacity to retrieve the information stored in your mind. I call this accessing. To a large extent, accessing depends on organization, how the information is structured in your mind.

How the information is structured globally, that is, how interconnected the information is. (Interconnectedness)
How the information is structured locally, that is, how much information can be retrieved at once. (Chunking)”

“What has this got to do with Implementation?”

“Implementation also depends on information retrieval. Whatever you want to implement is essentially a sequence of steps – an algorithm

Let’s take Centering as an example. What are the components of your practice?”

“Connecting with myself, Breathing, Aligning (Posture), Opening / Expanding, Relaxing, Smiling… and I can think of a few more.”

“Which are the most important? Think 80/20.”

“The first two.”

“So breathing, and feeling your[self as the] BodyMind.

Chunking essentially means meaningfully condensing information. You could reduce the practice to just two steps.

Breathe / Expand
Feel / Let go

As you breathe in, you naturally expand. This is a beautiful embodied reminder
A reminder to physically expand vertically, to stand tall, extend your spine.
A reminder to physically expand in all directions, to take up more space, adopt an expansive (power) pose.
A reminder to expand your Awareness, to your entire field of vision, and to use all senses.
A reminder to expand metaphorically, to open your MindHeart, be more receptive.

As you lovingly feel your beautiful BodyMind, you’ll naturally notice tension. This is a beautiful embodied reminder to let go. As you let go of tension (what I call detensing), relaxation and smiling naturally follow.

This is chunking in action. I’ve condensed the algorithm to only two meaningful steps.

Besides the algorithm, Implementation has another component: representations [<link; medium length]. How you mentally represent the practice to yourself. This makes it more meaningful. For instance you might represent the Centering practice as Homecoming – coming home to yourself.

The algorithm and the representation are two distinct chunks. You can integrate them together through metaphor. For instance, since you love Magic the Gathering, you can think of them as a Magic card. 

The algorithm is the text of the card, describing what it does.
The representation is the image of the card, making it more memorable.”

Celebration Optimization 2

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“I’ve been thinking of ways to optimize my celebration practice [<link; medium length].”

“You’re constantly optimizing things.”

“I simply love doing it. For me Optimization is a value in itself, and a form of self-expression.”

“What are your latest optimizations?”

“Firstly, I made it part of my Embodiment practice by making every celebration embodied. I call it Embodied Celebration, or ECelebration [<link; medium] for short. Whenever I celebrate, I also connect with my beautiful BodyMind.

Secondly, I started calling it Loving Celebration [<link; short]. This way, whenever I mentally access it, I access Love as well.

Thirdly, whenever I celebrate I connect with my Future-Self by saying to myself,

I love you Dani-who-I will-be.

“Do you keep it generic, or do you bring to mind a specific time in the future?”

“A specific time: the end of my life. Whenever I celebrate, I think ‘Memento mori’, and bring to mind the image of myself on my deathbed.

“That’s intense.”

“Precisely the point. It’s meant to powerfully emphasize the meaning of my actions.”

On Embodiment and Stacking

Fragment from imaginary dialogues

“To optimize a practice, you need to remember to practice. The more often you remember, the more often you can engage in the practice.”

“What’s your strategy for remembering to practice?”

“I’m currently experimenting with concept-stacking[<link; short length] as a means of information-retrieval.”

“Remind me what concept-stacking is.”

“It’s the process of fusing concepts together for practical ends.

Let’s take Embodiment for instance – the practice of becoming aware of your own body – and Mindful Breathing.

As long as Embodiment and Breathing are two different concepts, it makes it less likely to remember to do them together. By connecting them, you increase the likelihood.

You can connect them conceptually: Breathing as Embodiment practice. As far as retrieval goes, this is better than no connection, but it’s a weak-connection.

You can connect them structurally: EmbodiedBreathing practice. By fusing the two concepts together, you create a strong-connection for the purpose of retrieval. To make it even easier to retrieve, Embodied can be shortened to E – you thus get EBreathing.

Using the structure as a template[<link; medium], you can expand its application:

EConnection
EMovement
(and, by extension EParkour)
EMeditation
EThinking

ECelebration

EMovement can be expressed as EMotion. You thus get emotion, which I consider an essential aspect of Embodiment practice.”

“So emotion also stands for EmobodiedMotion.”

“Indeed. Whenever I think of emotion, it also reminds me to move.”