“Body-Based Conflict Transformation Workshop” 3-5 March 2017 at the Watershed Center (Millerton, NY 12546) will introduce Paul Linden‘s somatic exercises for self-regulation under stress to community activists and peace builders (as well as martial artists). To clarify his purpose Paul, Ss. paraphrases Dr. King’s motto, “Love without Power is weakness; Power without Love is brutality.” Through perceptual, physical, verbal and imaginative experiences participants learn how to take charge of their challenges gently, powerfully and lovingly. Continue reading »
A True Power Exploration
A partner practice with David Weinstock, USA
In this practice, both partners keep their attention on the sensations and changes in their body. Be sensitive and work carefully and slowly with your partner. Very little strength is needed to explore this practice. Before you start, read the directions and make sure to communicate whether there are any injuries, weak spots, or quirks in either of your bodies that might be hurt by this practice.
- Person A: Stand on the side and slightly to the front of Person B. Ask your partner to put his or her wrist on your shoulder. *MAKE SURE YOUR PARTNER’S ELBOW IS FACING DOWN SO IT DOES NOT GET INJURED.
- Person B: Make a fist, straighten and stiffen your arm. Say out loud, “I will not let you bend my arm.” This represents a fighting stance—offensive or defensive.
- Person A: Put both hands on the upper crease of your partner’s elbow and firmly, without jerking, slowly attempt to bend the arm. Remember, this is a muscle test, not a competition. It is not about seeing who is stronger or if you can bend your partner’s arm, because sometimes you can’t. This is about noticing and comparing the amount of force each of you use in the different sections of this exercise.
- Person A: Again, stand on the side and slightly to the front of your partner. Take person B’s arm and lift it up to rest on your shoulder—again, with her elbow pointed down to avoid injury. This time, make sure that your partner’s arm is relaxed and that she is not helping you lift her arm. You will find that some people cannot not help. If you feel her muscles tense up at all, coach her by saying, “Give me your arm,” and with a gentle shake, “I got you.” Let her know that tightening her muscles will restrict the flow of her power.
- Person B: Think about something or someone that you truly love. Imagine holding that feeling of love in your belly. Breathe into your belly. Imagine that caring and love in your belly as a glowing coal. Let your breathing gently fan the flame of that love so that it gradually builds and grows until it eventually fills your torso. Don’t rush the process.
Now imagine it filling up your arm as if it were a fire hose. Fire hoses become incredibly stiff from what courses through them. Tensing your muscles will contract the hose and block the flow, so keep your arm as relaxed and open as possible.
While keeping the arm relaxed, open, and without tension, imagine the energy of your loving intention, like a fire hydrant pouring out from your core, flowing through your body, arms and fingers. Let your hand and fingers fill up like balloons and then release the pressure by shooting it out toward and then past the horizon. Let the energy flow with purpose.
- Person B: Put both of your hands on the upper crease of your partner’s elbow and firmly, without jerking, attempt to bend her arm.
- Debrief and then switch roles.
As you debrief, notice the differences between parts 1 and 2 in the actual strength of the arm you are trying to bend. How do both persons A and B experience this? Can you notice the difference between muscling and fullness? When you are moving from what you love and deeply care about, you become incredibly powerful. It’s very curious and even surprising to realize that when you’re relaxed, open, and inclusive, you are even more powerful than when you are rigid, tight, and contracted. How would this feel in relationship?
When you are fighting others—represented in this practice when you say “I will not let you bend my arm”—you are using a good portion of your resources on offense or defense. If defense and offense were two opposite sides of a continuum, what would be directly between them?
When we are not fighting against another, just moving from what we love, there is nothing for your partner to resist. You are most powerful when your energy flows freely toward a purpose. When you are moved in this way, your words and actions become moving.