School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion

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Issue: December Newsletter
Sanctuary on Site

By Megan
The luxury of a residential workshop is to completely leave whatever you do and whoever you are to the people that surround you behind, and allow yourself to immerse fully in the experience. The flip side, if there is one, is that when you leave the incognito you risks being left behind, making it difficult to integrate the experience of the dance in your life. Time to come out from hiding behind the impersonal, to the story of my personal experience, coming 'out of the Sanctuary'.

I 'am' (amongst many other things, as I'm glad to say), a structural engineer. I currently work as an engineer architect on the delivery, from concept to completion of building projects, which involves a lot of time on building sites, in an intensely male environment (besides: what is it in bricks and mortar that brings out the maleness in men?)

During 'Sanctuary' I was 'me' and while I love what I 'do' and at times am proud of my work, I hardly mentioned my profession, despite having many wonderful, meaningful conversations with the array of amazing women.

The bridging came on my return to work. What was clearly an error in my judgement, committing to work on the last day of the workshop, resulted in the most powerful bridging experience, as there was absolutely no dilution. I danced straight into work. Dance gestures literally appeared in my hand movements in potentially conflictual discussions, into my step walking away unscathed, and I had to quietly laugh to myself as a gentle yet firm YES came out of my mouth on the way back to the office at the end of a meeting. It was one of those Martians coming in from outer space moments.

A stark contrast, with a relatively recent experience, at the crunch moment in a project, at the time of year when everyone's tempers are frayed, a Leo male 150 kg electrician decided to play the not very fun game of winding Megan up. Once all the others had left site his side kick stayed on and they continued to niggle in a passive aggressive way. My heart and lungs were burning, wanting to scream, hit, cry – anything to break the energy that was building up inside me. I took a deep, deep breath, and at the top of my voice shouted 'arrete' ('stop') – jaws dropped; silence, tacit agreement – and they haven't tried this again. I was empty. It worked but it is not a way to be.

During sanctuary I became more and more aware of my choices in terms of my way of being. More fundamentally, that the choice is mine. The power of the experience of containing the energy and taking it into the workplace turned it into reality.

So what has changed?
We laugh and smile more and get just as much done.
That dry mouth feeling at the end of a site meeting has gone away.
We are a week away from the first of fife deliveries before the end of the year – a monumental, mildly ridiculous, challenge.
By not taking away the responsibility from the individual trade contractors by becoming too insistent, they are taking more ownership.

And I've committed to dance next weekend which I believe is the perfect antidote to keep me going until Christmas. It may even be the first year that I get to 24th December without that gravelly feeling in my throat ...

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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.