Patterns and Resolution
I’m wondering if you’d try something for me: Please write your name—optimally with pen on a piece of paper, but even with your index finger on any surface will work. Do this before you read any further.
Now for some reflection: Did you think about how to organize your fingers to pick up the pen (if you used one)? Did you attend to the exact shape of each letter? Did you consciously stabilize your shoulder and elbow to better control your wrist? Did you purposefully move your eyes? Almost surely you did not. You just did these things. This is good, or the whole activity would probably have been a bit overwhelming.
Imagine a toddler learning to write their name. For a two year old each of the aspects I mentioned would take direct and exacting attention. It would be worthy of great praise and support. How did we as adults reach the point that these tasks became possible without much conscious thought? We created patterns. We do this all the time. Everything we do; every movement we make, is a pattern. These patterns make it possible for us to do ever more complex tasks. We stand up and sit down—patterns. Walking is a pattern made up of patterns.
When we bring attention to patterns we can become beginners again. This can be very useful when our patterns aren’t optimal for the tasks we’re trying to accomplish. I teach people to break down patterns like walking so that they can resolve chronic pain or perform better physically. Try walking very slowly and find that balance gets far more difficult to maintain. It can be comedic (and frustrating) to watch our ability to do basic things disappear when we bring attention to how we do them!
With the New Year people are often inspired to created resolutions—an intention to change something in our actions. Sometimes we take on deeply engrained patterns in ourselves with the hope and belief that changing them will better our lives. This year I’m looking at resolutions differently: ‘ Resolution’ suggests completion. A problem is resolved when it is solved, or no longer a problem. So instead of looking forward, I’m looking back. What has resolved as we come in to a new year? What changes have already happened? I spontaneously witness myself doing and perceiving some things differently in my own life. I’ve found that I’m enjoying meditation. I now encourage myself to meditate even when I might be drawn to watch something on Netflix instead. These resolutions we’re already enacting strike me as the ones most likely to be maintained through continued practice. Does this seem true to you?
We are our patterns. Resolutions for action are unlikely to succeed unless they begin with who we already are. Awareness—attention to what we’re already doing—is powerful medicine. With awareness we can discern the shifts and resolutions that are already taking place, and we can participate actively.
If you notice that you’re interested in investing in physicality and awareness I’d love to be a resource for you. I invite you to come join me in the classes, workshops, and sessions below. I am available for customized pattern engagement—movement therapy and coaching—as well, including by skype.
Happy New Year. May you revel in being.