I attended two workshops this weekend. On Friday my friend Katayoon and I went to a workshop called the Alchemy of Movement. We spent the evening moving our bodies and visualized letting go of any emotions causing tightness in our body. It felt a bit awkward, I loved it, and it reminded me much of ecstatic dance.
On Saturday I attended a workshop called Empowered Discipline. Led by artist and wellness consultant, Chetna Mehta, the workshop was 2-hours and involved discussion, movement, and reflective writing. One interesting concept we explored was self-parenting. As I understood, discipline is closely related to self-parenting and being aware of the inner-child, or the less developed part of our psyche that may want to eat poorly, be lazy, stay in bed, etc… Chetna explained that self-parenting involves developing a new and active relationship with ourselves, one that is intentional, accountable, and yet kind and nurturing.
Someone in the workshop mentioned the technique of speaking out loud to her inner child when she recognizes herself being persuaded by the more undeveloped and childish part of her psyche. She mentioned speaking to herself in a firm but nurturing voice (like a parent) to motivate herself to action. It felt powerful giving name to the part of myself that doesn’t always want to do things, the part of my psyche that may be feeling scared or lazy and thus somewhat immobilized.
We spoke about the importance of committing to small actions - daily, weekly, and monthly ones. My list included daily disciplines of chanting, stretching, flossing, seed cycling, and writing; and weekly disciplines of gardening, exercising, checking-in with loved ones, dancing, as well as some others.
As part of the workshop Chetna guided us through a visualization meditation where we imagined ourselves fully engaged in our disciplines. We imagined how we stood, how we felt, our posture, our face, and how we moved. Through movement we shared our experience of the meditation with one another. I imagined myself free, laughing, confident, and relaxed.
Chetna shared the tool of a discipline chart, and spoke about the support of community in maintaining accountability towards our intended disciplines. I left the workshop feeling good, but it wasn't until that evening while I was at the Rufus Du Sol concert, dancing with my eyes closed, that I began to feel the power and integration of the experiences I went through. I felt deeply committed to my disciplines, I felt empowered, I felt alive in my own body.
Today I made my discipline chart and pinned it to our fridge. I also made plans to attend the weekly ecstatic dance event in Oakland. I look forward to seeing how this learning enlivens more within my body and psyche through the contractions and expansions of life.