Tiny steps and nano-practice.
For most of us who deal with SPT professionally, this year of the pandemic has been a year of cancelled events and courses. Myself, I am a bit too old and conservative to go online with SPT, I haven’t been tempted. For me SPT is something you do in person. SPT is, as I see it, something where all my senses are active… Online seems odd and two dimensional to me. I want to tell you about two tiny episodes from the zone of what is possible offline, tiny steps and nano-practice, valuable tiny pearls that I carry in my heart.
In a physical meeting you can feel heat from bodies, a soft wind from a person passing by. The smell of a woolen sweater, or a person that has been warm by the training. Changes in the light, particles of dust in the sunbeam behind an arm reaching out, vibrations in the floor, the sound of clothes sweeping against one another. Patterns that kaleidoscopically comes and goes in the room, as thoughts and phenomenon in a meditation. A rich complexity of sensory impressions that form a rich whole.
But what is possible in a time of limitations?
Often, I read fine stories from the SPT and Theory U community: impressive projects, many people, huge movements. As a contrast, I want to tell about two tiny episodes from the zone of what is possible, tiny steps and nano-practice, valuable tiny pearls that I carry in my heart.
In the summer 2020 there was a “pause” in the spread of infection here in northern Sweden in the area where we are living and working. For a little while everything was almost normal. Among our retreat guests was a person (X) traumatized from having experienced war.
During the stay X was introduced to the SPT exercise “20 Min. Dance”, an exercise which is an invitation to be more present in the body, to let the mind rest upon the body. Without having to accomplish anything, you shift between movement and stillness in a silent dance with yourself the floor and the space around you. You are parking your prejudgments, every movement is welcome, you feel into the body, moment by moment and the present expands.
Re-establishing contact with the body
When X was doing the exercise for the very first time, tears were running down X’s face. X told us afterwards that it had been a chock to feel the body again, just to feel the body, something X had not done for more than 20 years, and now wondering:” Where have you been my dear body?” And X realized the body as a source of recourses that X had not been aware of. It was very touching to be a witness to the re-establishment of the contact with the body after so many years without embodiment. To again land into the body was also to realize all the things that body contact contains, such as: access to life, memories and feelings. To be whole, it is necessary to include the body.
“Y” was seeking my help to get tools, with the purpose of have a more calm and present life. It was in the autumn of 2020 and there were strong recommendations to keep social distance. Y and I agreed to take a walk instead of an indoor meeting. Y had no previous experience of presence training, but because of the current life situation Y was open to try something new.
We took Brownie, our Labradoodle who is trained as a social service dog, with us on the walk. It is an ice breaker to bring a dog in, it isn’t as serious when the dog wants to play with you and is making funny things. The dialog naturally started about dogs and our different experiences with dogs. But it should not only be a walk, it should be a journey of learning as well. We should try to do something during the walk, with an openness in mind because we didn’t yet know what exactly we had to do. A state of not knowing.
Try to acknowledge that you are walking while walking.
I recommended Y to, while we were walking and talking, at the same time try to even feel the feet, be aware of the ground, try to acknowledge that you are walking while walking.
After a while I asked how it worked to do this exercise? Y told me that most of the time it felt easy to remember feeling the feet, and Y also reflected after some thinking, that never ever before had Y been present in the walking itself, even though there was a lot of walking in Y’s life. But normally there was a lot of thoughts, fixing problems, having reflections and associations for example about what Y saw on these walks. Y expressed great surprise that something that simple had passed without Y discovering it. Y told me, at the end of the walk that “right now the feeling of calm is more vivid than it has been for weeks”.
Even long journeys involve many small steps, steps that must be taken one by one, we easily stumble if we skip a step.
Anders Fabricius, SPT teacher, Fabricius Resurs