🍂 Being Fully Present...
It has been a while since I wrote ...
The past few months I was quiet in my communication outside of the studio.
If during the pandemic closure and lockdown period I created a habit to write regularly (sending emails to our mailing list), as things started to change (again) and open up, the frequency of me writing any emails or blogs went down.
I did mean to keep in touch with you all at least once a month but I pretty much all but abandoned any kind of electronic communication and social media.
On the one hand as the studio opened (partially at first, and more later) and interconnection in real life, face-to-face with other people increased (and the springs, bars and other equipment in the studio started to move), the need for human contact was somewhat fulfilled and I felt less compelled to reach outside of what I was actually a part of (i.e. studio life).
On the other hand (in full transparency), there was a feeling of unsteadiness getting back to full studio activity, mainly returning to in-studio group classes after not running those for 18 months (since the start of the pandemic). Trying to steady on didn’t leave much energy to engage with the “outside” world.
A little bit frayed at the edges.
With the first block of classes /courses that started in
September now wrapping up there are a few things
As I mentioned above, getting back into running a
block/course of group classes wasn’t as straight
forward as a “pick up where we left off”. I felt out
of balance and a bit unsure how to navigate what
was essentially another change. No, it wasn’t
“getting back to normal” at all. It was more like
trying to weave back the fabric that holds everything
together and still fraying around the seams.
As the weeks went by I was hearing and seeing others being disappointed (sometimes to the point of angered), with themselves or others.
I suspect it all has something to do with our expectations.
I know I was disappointed with myself for dropping a few balls – which I’m the first to admit I did.
I was also at the receiving end of people being disappointment with me – the classes I’ve decided to run (or not run), the way I was communicating (or lack thereof), my business and/or personal decisions and priorities.
When I shared that feeling in the studio it turned out many were feeling the same way in almost every aspect of their life – work, community, interpersonal relationships...
The challenge is real.
After a long period of time dealing with major changes, constantly adapting to things shifting with the whole situation being out of our control we end up in cognitive dissonance. We want/need to get back to a place that felt safe before - like old routines we used to have BC (‘Before Covid’) - and find ourself acting and feeling differently now.
We might be “over reacting” to something that didn’t feel like a big deal before.
We might feel like we’ve committed to something but are unable to follow through.
We might feel like we’re struggling with things that are seemingly “easy”.
We might feel like our fuse got shorter or that we’re too tried/exhausted/overwhelmed.
Being in that state of dissonance is not a comfortable. It’s a conflict that indistinctively we want to resolve for our successful survival.
The only way I know to resolve these kind of cognitive struggles is to bring every aspect of ourselves to the table and reconnect all those aspects into the one interconnected organism that we are. To be fully present.
Being fully present.
Way before "mindfulness" was even a word
(not to mention a practice), Pilates was always
about finding that quality of presence. Focus,
concentration, control were always the the words
used to define the basic foundation/cornerstones
of the Pilates method.
Both Pilates and Mindfulness are asking us to "be present in each moment" but a Pilates practice is also calling for patience and consistency.
In a way, it’s like Pilates is looking for the present and the future combined which, I know, can seem like a contradiction in terms.
Personally I don’t see it that way.
For me it explains the physical active presence of a Pilates practice as oppose to the passive meditative nature of Mindfulness.
The physical and mental moving presence in Pilates has a purpose. A meaning.
There are many reasons why you'd decide to take on a Pilates practice but if any of those reasons are coming from a place or want to run away from yourself, punish yourself or pushing way your feelings (anger, sadness etc.) than you’d be left with only a bunch of exercises. Yes, just doing the exercises will be beneficial BUT you’ll be missing a crucial component of what Pilates is and you might as well go to the gym or sign up for a fitness class.
I’m not saying this in any derogative way at all.
There's absolutely nothing wrong with fitness / toning / sculpting / HIIT / cardio classes. Different people and at different times in our lives, need different things when it comes to moving our bodies – there’s never just the one “right” way to keep active and Pilates is by no means the be-all end-all practice, but as Joseph Pilates himself said:
“Just doing the exercises will prove of tremendous benefit... Doing them with careful deliberation and thoroughness will gain for you that EXTRA SOMETHING you are searching for.”
" Intention is a mental state that represents a commitment to carrying out an action or actions in the future. Intention involves mental activities such as planning and forethought." Wikipedia
Your purposeor aim is your intention.
It's something you mean to do, decide to do, whether you pull it off or not.
Within your intention you can find your hopes, your motivation and your struggles.
Why we do what we door, why we decide to do something, can be philosophical but can also simply be a tool to uncover and re-describe action.
What I love about setting intentions is that by no means it guarantees the outcome.
Unlike setting goals, intentions are not about achieving concrete results but about the process. Goal setting is a cognitive activity of planning and analysing. It gives you the sense of full control on how to move from A to B which is a great thing. The only problem is that in the meantime, while you move from A to B, life happens ...
There are a lot of outside things that are beyond our control.
Setting an intention (for long or short time) will gives clarity and will facilitate consistency of action - something that was missing for all of us in the past 18 months.
As we’re setting up for the last block of
in-studio courses of 2021 I ant to ask
you how do you want to end 2021?
More than looking back at the past year
(which was an unusual by all accounts)
I’m asking how do you want this year to end?
What do you want this time to be about?
You can start by filling the blanks:
I want to feel ________________
I want to be ___________________
I want to create ____________________