School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion

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Issue: March 2013 Newsletter
Forty, Paris, Love Stories and time

By Sinéad Cullen
November 2012 after returning from Love Stories in Paris: ..and so I'm back from Paris and my first 40 years are complete and the next 40 have begun. As I moved yesterday morning I was struck with the realisation that I thought that something would have changed in me on turning 40.

That I would lose something that I needed: my youth perhaps or some sense of who I am? But instead here I am, still me, same eyes, same dancing feet and feeling in someway relieved but still a little anxious about this 40-business. Its interesting, this turning of 40 and dancing with beautiful souls in Paris at 'Love Stories' has left me with a comment and a question: "So here I am. But who am I and how do I keep loving myself more?" 

I realise that I’ve spent a lot of my life ‘spaced out’, a lot of time not wanting to be here, in this life. Life has felt like some miserable battleground. The struggle to survive has felt overwhelming and the enormous effort required to just remain in some way balanced in society has felt like a true battle for much of my life.

During my skype session with my AP mentor yesterday we talked about this question of how one would go about loving oneself more… and quite specifically in relation to how I find myself ‘spacing out’, and how how I could bring more love into how I welcome myself back.

I remember as a child I used to get very sad during the winter. Those long dark cold days in the countryside in Ireland seemed never ending. The world seemed grim and lifeless. I would sit spaced out watching the clock for hours, wondering what made time move forward; feeling helpless to stop it. The clock represented a big mean force to me, something as dark and grim as the wintery season that engulfed our home for the winter. I would sit on the kitchen floor just staring at the clock and as my mother passed by I would make comments about the time and life. I think I used to frighten her when I commented that life was hopeless…because we have no control over it. It just keeps ticking and ticking on and on. Time is in charge! But who is in charge of time?!!!!” 

And I realise that whether it’s returning from staring at a clock, the grim wintery rain or from a 10-minute space out from my movement practice, I am the first person I meet when I return. I return to me. And so often the first thoughts have been mean and harsh: “you idiot you can’t even stay focused for a minute! What the hell is wrong with you?! You’re pathetic!”. Yikes! What a welcome! I realise that, instead of all this meanness I could be my own all singing all dancing welcoming-cheerleading squad! What would that be like?!

So I’ve been practicing… cheering to myself when I 'come back'. This morning as Ya’Acov and Susannah described how one could awaken the dancer, on my ipod, I was off on a lengthy ramble into a world of my own, re-arranging furniture and sorting books into meaningful sections on my bookshelf… and I returned with a big cheer! ‘Yeah here you are – WOO-HOO!!! Its great to have you here!!! It felt lovely to really welcome myself back. It felt like I was giving the small vulnerable child in me big-bear-greeting-hugs, recognising that she has a place here in this life. I even got a giggle out of myself and the little kid in me: returning to a cheering squad is a bit mad but lovely!

At times it feels tragic that a little girl learned to fear this life so much and felt so unwelcome, but she is still here, and I do now feel blessed to have this opportunity to see so many aspects of life from the same heart, the same set of eyes, the same dancing feet and the same ever changing being that time leads along. It gives me such hope, it helps me see that time is not harsh. And it really is quite glorious to remember that I am still here, I always return to me: the all hugging, all cheering dancing warrior J

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent the views of the School of Movement Medicine. Roland Wilkinson, Nappers Crossing, Staverton, Devon TQ9 6PD, UK Tel & Fax +44 (0)1803 762255 http://www.