I stand in Ruth’s yurt, my back towards her, my gaze reaching out the dusty window out into the mountains far in the horizon. The heat has packed itself in the room, the wood is soft and cool under my feet. I feel Ruth’s eyes on me. She talks to me about finding my animal, the empowered position where I am willing to feel the kinesthetic response of my body, and following that lead, staying with it. ”It does not reside in the make-sense level”, she says; ”You are still trying to know.” She wants me to notice more closely what I already do and not just go on automatic, loosing the life in my actions and thus the possibilities for other choices than the utterly safe and familiar. The animal metaphor strikes a sounding chord, since I know in my flesh what she is talking about, even as my rational mind is completely lost by her urging. Yes, I am still desperately trying to know, while also sensing that it is the listening of the flesh which begins the process of allowing me to organize the world and it’s realities anew. As we construct our world through our senses, and as certain pathways become habitual and well trodden over time, we begin to see what we expect to see. Ultimately, what we perceive determines what we know – and what we think is real (1). Yet the plasticity of our perception offers hope for change. The process of recognizing and changing the filters of association and categorization through which incoming signals are screened, as in the practice of improvisation, can expand our perceptual conditioning and habits. (2)
1. Andrea Olsen, 2002. Body and Earth, An Expriental Guide. 55.
2. ibid. 56.