Activism Resources

There many ways to Embody Peace. What images do you have? What seems possible? And what is possible? In my work with a 7 year old today as he wished for a host of stuff he also wished for an end to the war in Iraq. We all know that dreams can come true. When we stand up and step out for what we want these dreams move along a little faster. MHE


index_18.jpgindex_18.jpgindex_18.jpgindex_18.jpg

PEACE, EARTH AND THE BODY – from Paul Linden

Peace and environmental sustainability must be grounded in a new way of living in the human body. The old way isn’t working.

Imagine sitting on a tree limb high in a tree, facing the tree trunk, and working hard at sawing off the limb you’re sitting on. That takes a spectacular lack of understanding of gravity and lack of awareness of what is supporting you. How would it be possible for someone functional enough to climb the tree and wield a saw to be that unaware? It’s really a kind of pathology, isn’t it?

That kind of pathology is at work when we perpetrate social aggression, war, and environmental degradation. It takes a deep numbness and alienation not to know that damaging the web of life within which we all exist also damages us. That alienation isn’t merely emotional or spiritual. It is physical.

Take a moment to stop and create within yourself a feeling of anger, fear, and aggression. Notice what happens to your breathing, to the muscles in your back and belly, and to your overall posture. Most people experience a clear sense of contraction and imbalance. In that constricted state, you can’t breathe, talk, think, walk, move, or act in strong, efficient, graceful, and effective ways. In other words, anger and fear weaken us. Moreover, contraction leads to a body state of insensitivity and separation, which is the root of our ability to do violence to ourselves, others, and the world around us. Alienation leads to violence, and violence leads to more alienation.

How do we break the cycle? Alienation must be addressed as it exists in the body. By learning how to open the breathing, stabilize the posture, balance movement, and develop a radiant state of attention, people can achieve a body state of awareness, power, and love and learn how to use that to connect to the world and the people around them. Whether you are raking a garden, typing at a computer, swinging a golf club, playing a violin, giving a lecture, or trying to resolve a conflict, placing your body in a state of calm, kind strength will lead to better results. And using daily tasks as opportunities to practice being in this state of mindbody integrity makes the little things of every day life part of the path toward a peaceful, sustainable world.

The question, of course, is: How exactly do you open the body? As you read this, let your tongue hang softly inside your mouth. What does that do to your breathing? To your neck and shoulders and chest and belly? Most people experience an overall relaxation and calming. Imagine relaxing your tongue during a heated discussion. What would that do? It would take much of the heat out of your thoughts and actions. It would allow respectful contact and dialoging with your opponent. This simple exercise, along with many others I’ve developed and describe in my books, form a somaticway of training our bodies away from narrow, oppositional thinking and toward a feeling of communion with other people and the planet itself.

PAUL LINDEN, Ph.D., is a body/movement awareness educator, a martial artist, and an author. He is co-director of the Columbus Center for Movement Studies (www.being-in-movement.com), at which he teaches Aikido, Being In Movement® mindbody training, and the Feldenkrais Method® of somatic education. His work focuses on the application in daily activities of an integrated mindbody state of awareness, power, and love.

Paul is the author of a number of books, among which are:

Comfort at Your Computer: Body Awareness Training for Pain-Free Computer Use.

Winning is Healing: Body Awareness and Empowerment for Abuse Survivors.

Embodied Peacemaking: Body Awareness, Self-Regulation, and Conflict Resolution.

• Teaching Children Embodied Peacemaking: Body Awareness, Self-Regulation, and Conflict Resolution.

Responses

  1. If you havent yet please visit Paul Linden’s site to learn more about your body and how to find calm in a stormy moment

    Books from Aikido of Columbus

  2. I am excited to introduce the work of Rena Kornblum, a dance therapist in Wisconsin who has written an excellent book with supporting videos. She guides teachers and movement specialists to help children regulate their bodies and become more aware of the environment that they move through.
    To learn more visit http://www.HancockCenter.net/disarm.html

  3. In 2002 several government agencies sponsored the publication of an a manual discussing many approaches to peacemaking through the arts. While they missed a lot they captured a great deal. You can download the entire 87 page document from: http://www.nea.gov/pub/ArtinPeacemaking.pdf

  4. When browsing through the resources for embodying peace through dance you’ll find the Destiny Arts site. You may want to see a sample of their work; a documentary is available under history. Or you can go directly to:

    http://www.augustprod.com/Samples.html

    The Making of a Place Named Destiny tells the story of how this grassroots organization began with combining kung fu, modern dance, and physical theater training for children. The youth develop skills in conflict resolution and peace education and provide leadership in schools, community organizations, and in performances. The growth and development of Destiny Arts has been exponential in the past 10 years.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: