conscious movementPosted by Pablo Mon, May 08, 2017 14:21:41
2:00am. Nairobi, Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta airport. 4 hour lay-over on a trip from Harare (Zimbabwe) to Amsterdam. There are just so many things you can do when you are exhausted and with time to spare in an in-between land. After finishing my book and arranging all the contacts, pictures, videos and notes I had in my mobile phone, I found myself in a really uncomfortable chair with more than three hours of waiting ahead of me.
So, I started looking around. The waiting room was packed with people that tried to sleep or tried to find something to do to keep them busy, but most of them, like me, just found the waiting too long and looked really uncomfortable and impatient.
Then it happened: the land crew announced that our flight would be delayed at least two more hours…
Don’t Re-act, Create!
Everybody (including me) got really annoyed. Some people started to complain, even to fight with the crew and among themselves. Children cried and we all entered a downward spiral of anger and resignation. At this point is when I became aware that to be able to cope well with the uncomfortable situation, I needed to move away from “re-acting” and start creating a new context to cope with a situation I could not control or change. I needed to use what I´ve learned in my Yoga, meditation and Biodanza practice.
I started by focusing on my breathing, on the sensations I had in my body, on the conversations that I was having with myself, and realized that I was trapped in the downward spiral and emotions like anger and despair were taking control. But then I also realized that although there was nothing else for me to do but wait, I could decide how I face the delay. That although I was exhausted and angry, I had the power to choose what to embody. As soon as I became conscious of my inner state and decided to consciously embody flow, creativity, balance and presence, my mood changed and my mind calmed down. The situation outside was still the same, but my inner situation had drastically changed for the better.
We all constantly face situations that confront us with our inner resources. You may find yourself in a really full U-Bahn on your way to work, having conflicts with colleagues at work, finding it hard to deal with marital issues, or being put to test by your children. All these situations require from us that we act, but depending on what you have inside, on your inner resources, you could either re-act or create. You can either profit from a difficult situation or be caught up by it, feeling incapable to deal properly and ending up frustrated and weakened because of the outcome. These situations and many more are common for the majority of us that live in postmodern times. Situations that surprise us and drive us outside our comfort zone. Situations that require that we make decisions and act fast and swift. All you need is to learn how to embody empowering contexts that support your well-being when driven out of your comfort zone. But how?
The Missing Piece of Conscious Creation: Embodiment
First and most important by becoming aware of our ability to create. But this awareness state is not enough by itself. It needs to be followed by the ability to embody that what we are creating. Currently there are a lot of authors that focus on how to consciously create, but many people that learn about this subject still have a lot of problems believing they have this power because although they visualize the future they want to create, it doesn’t happen as they want to.
I believe that most people who face this problem are missing one important step for creation: to consciously embody what they are creating. I say “consciously” because we are always creating and embodying even though most of us don´t do it in a conscious way. For example, when I see people walking down the street I perceive what they are embodying by looking at the way they are moving, their posture, the gestures on their faces and alignment of their joints. By doing that I have a glimpse of their reality just by seeing them walk. The importance that our body has to create our reality resides in the fact that we cannot run away from it and unlike our mind, our body always tells the truth.
Thanks to my life path I’ve learned some of the skills needed to travel outside my comfort zone, create my reality and embody empowering contexts. Below I would like to share with you some of the strategies I´ve found to consciously embody our creations.
Strategies for Embodiment1. DISCIPLINE & PERSEVERANCE
First we require discipline and perseverance. If you like yoga, this means showing up in the mat regularly with a clear purpose and intention you want to embody. If you like to dance (consciously), it means to attend (regularly) to workshops and frequent teachers that use dance as a ritual of creation. Techniques such as Biodanza, 5 rhythms, authentic movement, teach how to use the energy generated through movement to create reality, heal and evolve. If you like to meditate it means to do it on a regular basis with a clear intention and focus on what your body is feeling when you enter meditative states. If you are into shamanism it all about attending ceremonies that expand your consciousness and connect your physical experience (body) with the living universe…
What is important is not the specific technique, but to regularly practice in order to learn how to understand the language of your body (its sensations and feelings) and its importance to bring the visions you want to create to every cell. Of course the emotions (that are also felt in the body) you feel while practicing are also key to support the embodiment of your vision. The important thing here is to comprehend that training your body is as important as training your mind and your emotional awareness to be able to embody creative contexts. These three domains (together with the spiritual) constitute our coherence.
2. AWARENESS, ACCEPTANCE & DETACHMENT
Trying to be more specific, besides discipline and perseverance, embodying creations need form us to cultivate presence of mind and body, emotional awareness, acceptance, and detachment. I’ve also found that others skills like introspection, balance, flow, ability to connect with others, openness, joy of movement (and/or stillness), and focus are also key to be able to embody and create reality.
What Am I Embodying Now?
The challenge that most of us have is to bring what we practice on the mat or while dancing, or meditating, etc into our daily lives and especially when we are taken out of our comfort zone. The true spiritual warriors are recognized there, when pushed to the limit.
Any kind of spiritual/physical regular practice, combined with an introspective view and the conviction of our power to create are really important for us modern-day humans. That long night in Kenya I learned the importance of answering two questions that have been with me ever since that may also resonate with you: what am I embodying now? And, what do I want to embody?
Dance life in BerlinPosted by Pablo Mon, May 08, 2017 12:39:49
While standing in front of the huge pyramid of Kukulkan in the Mayan city of Chichen itza in the south of Mexico, where the Mayan god descends from the top of the pyramid in form of light, I understood a little about how the Mayans lived their lives. They followed the organic rhythms of life and celebrated every aspect of them by performing rituals that bonded them with nature and as a community.
As I was marveled by the magnificence of those ancient structures and the magical way that the sunlight creates beautiful figures, I got to think about the way I, or we all live our lives. What are the rhythms that we follow? How do we honor those rhythms? How do we celebrate our bond with nature?
Living in the City
Living in Berlin, a city with a frenetic pace and endless opportunities, these questions were not easy to answer. I’m a student of human behavior, and my studies are conducted in everyday situations. A voyeurist some may call me since I love to observe the way people interact, the movements of their body, the gestures of their faces, the rhythm of breathing, the way people behave when they not aware that someone is looking.
After many years of observation, I realize that in Berlin most people live their lives following the rhythms of the BVG (Berlin Public Transportation). I know I’m generalizing and being very simplistic, but most of us design our days and nights making sure that we catch the U-Bahn or the Tran or the bus; we run from one place to the other trying to get there early, to leave on time, planning ahead, working so much so we can then feel useful because we produced or consumed what was expected from us. What we expected from us.
If we think of these routines in terms of dance, we would see people who live their lives that way, always in a frenetic techno dance that never stops. Silence is something that is not only not appreciated, but that is scary because they have gotten used to the frenetic (techno) way of life. And don´t get me wrong, I have nothing against techno music, but as with anything else, if it’s not combined with something else, after a while it becomes boring and meaningless. One side effect of the Berliner (post-modern) frenetic way of life is also the lack of rituals. This is not a Berliner thing, is all over the world. Besides birthdays, marriage and baby showers, we don´t have any other rituals that bond us as a community. We have lost the connection with what’s sacred. I’m not talking about religion, I’m talking about spirituality in the broader sense of the word. Especially we lack rituals that connect us with nature. Besides than “using” nature most of us don´t feel connected or part of a living planet. I believe that the emptiness most of us feel, that the sleeping problems that a lot of people have, have to do with the lack of sacredness in our life. So, how should we find space in our daily routines
to connect with what’s sacred? Who to find sacredness in ourselves?
So far I haven´t described anything new to some of you who are also voyeurs, that are conscious of our connections with other human beings and with nature and that also feel the lack of sacredness in everyday life. Before I said that Berlin is a city with never-ending opportunities. And here are many that will reconnect you with yourself and nature. I’m especially drawn to those who use movement or dance to do the trick. In my opinion, Berlin is a city that dances. I’m not talking about the huge club scene, I’m talking about techniques that use dance and conscious movement in a different way. So far I´ve danced freietanzrituale, contact/improv, 5 rhythms, authentic movement, vinyasa flow and some more that
create joy, connection and pursue transformation. I really appreciate the freedom and connection that can be achieved through them.
But there has been one that has really fulfilled my needs of freedom, connection, and sacredness; one that has taught me how to open my body and my soul to whatever life brings, that has taught me responsibility to create and design my life following my own internal rhythms and where I have learned how to listen to nature´s cycles and live my life in an organic way. I am talking about Biodanza, the dance of life. This system was created in South America, a subcontinent that is all about dancing, with the clear purpose to contribute to human evolution. It uses dances and bodily exercises to reconnect people with their own potentials, so they can find in themselves the possibility to live happy and meaningful lives. After 70 years of being created, Biodanza has extended itself and now there are schools and practitioners in more than 50 countries and of course, there are several groups here in Berlin.
Biodanza moves away from fitness centered or eroticized dance techniques and proposes a way to deepen the search for authentic movement and coherence in life. From individual dances to pair and group exercises, Biodanza is the ideal choice for people who enjoy free dancing, real connection, great music and the power of metaphors. Through the constant practice, I´ve learned how to put my mind at ease, listen to my body, allow myself to be moved by my emotions and find the deep connections that live inside of me between instincts and spirituality. This multi-layer work will broaden your experience of being alive inside your body and open new possibilities of connection with yourself, with others and with every living
Biodanza is the dance of life and joy. Through conscious movement and profound moving metaphors, in each session, we will discover what can be learned from Affectivity, Creativity, Vitality, Transcendence and Sexuality. Each session is a ritual of freedom and a complete transformational experience that nurtures the seed of authenticity and awakens the courage to live life to the fullest. For me, it has been the way to recognize what´s sacred inside of me and reconnect with the sacredness of life. I’m still running to catch the bus as most of you are, but I do it without losing perspective on what’s important, on who is important. Thanks to my regular Biodanza practice I have been able to open space in my everyday life to enjoy myself even when things don´t go according to plan. Now I flow being aware of the importance of being well rooted in order to be able to fly high.
Dance life in BerlinPosted by Pablo Mon, May 08, 2017 12:32:13
LET THE HERD INSTINCT BE HEARD
To sit in a circle, breathe together, become aware of our own place in the community and recognize the power that is present when we are all conscious of the connections that bond us is one of the most powerful experiences we will ever have. This simple act makes us feel safe, connected and part of something bigger. It fosters the sense of belonging which is directly connected to the herd instinct.
This article is about nothing new, surprising, shocking or revolutionary. It’s my take on something so simple that we, or at least I, often overlook. It’s about being in circle.
“Being” in circle?
One of my oldest and dearest memories is sitting among my parents and their friends in a dark night under the stars while on holiday in Colombia. I don´t remember how old I was, where exactly we were or if my sisters were also there. I have no clear image of the moment, but what I remember vividly is the feeling of protection and safety brought on by this simple act. I remember the way my body felt warm, happy and safe as I heard the laughter of the grownups while they enjoyed each other’s company.
Since the beginning, humans have gathered in circle to feel complete, secure and connected. The circle is a powerful archetype/symbol that can create an experience of expanded consciousness that emotionally translates into feelings of trust, tenderness, compassion and braveness. The circle has been an Archetype/symbol of completion, the feminine and masculine energy coming together, the sun, the moon, totality, wholeness, original perfection, the Self, the infinite, eternity, and timelessness, among others.
By sitting in circle we can see and acknowledge every other person gracing the circle with their presence and open up to embrace a grander image of ourselves as our figure is reflected in the others pupils. Our ancestors knew this and constantly practiced sitting and dancing in circles to connect, create and strengthen the sense of community. Our children when growing up do it intuitively as well, even if they haven´t consciously learned it. But somehow as adults, the practice of sitting in circle and/or the awareness of its power gets lost in the everyday life.
For me there is a difference between sitting in circle and being in circle. The experience of having surrendered our ego to serve the community while at the same time expressing ourselves through it, has a powerful emotional and physiological meaning which strengthens the bonds we have to our peers. This experience is best achieved when being in full presence with one another. Being in circle doesn´t necessarily happen every time. It requires intention, presence and mindfulness to embody the power that being in circle represents.
Of course you already knew, or at least intuited the power of intention and presence to give meaning and deepness to any act we do. Intention is the purpose we give to our actions and depending on it the same action may feel and be totally different. Presence is being here and now.
A great example of the importance of intention and presence is to dance. When I dance I do it for different reasons: to have fun, to learn a technique, to connect with people (and if there are women I like, this can be especially sweet), to feel free, to inspire my son to dance, to connect with my inner energy, to become one with god (or at least try), or sometimes just because my body needs to move. The same body acting (moving) in a similar way, with the same music and in the same place will have a different meaning/color and of course a different outcome, depending on my intention and presence.
Examples like this are everywhere: when having sex, sitting down to meditate, staring at somebody´s eyes, having a drink, meeting colleagues, etc. The experience and the outcomes will depend directly on the intention we set and on how present we are. Intention will give power to our vision and presence will support us to commit to make this vision come true. For me intention and presence go hand in hand with the transformative power of the ritual of being in circle.
When trying to be in circle, our ego sometimes gets in the way. I have nothing against ego, we need it to affirm ourselves, but sometimes it gets in the way of experiencing connection and surrendering to the community. Our ego doesn´t particularly like to surrender. This is especially true in corporate contexts where more often than not, competition, individuality and self-interests are presented and embodied as values. In my experience, sometimes the challenges that we face to create a shared, safe and trustful environment by agreeing on a common intention and staying present to follow through, are just too big.
How people and systems normally behave
I have coached many teams from a wide range of clients that range from large multinational corporations to academic institutions, NGO´s and public institutions. It doesn’t matter if you work for a family owned company in Kampala Uganda, a Finish NGO, a Houston-based oil company or IT start up in Delhi, every institution holds meetings.
I view corporations, institutions, and organizations as systems, which behave in a similar manner (or at least try) to living organisms. What I mean by that is that the parts that constitute the system need to be acknowledged, taken care of and seen in order to interact well with the rest of the system. The actions of the individual parts of the organism will impact not only the other constituent parts but also its surroundings. Corporations, for example, affect, positively or negatively, not only the people who work there but also the surrounding community. At the end, we live in a world of interactions, where individuals, and collectives affect each other constantly.
One of the key skills that teams ask for or need without knowing it to reach a new level of performance is to conduct effective meetings. This means communicating effectively about objectives, figures, numbers, tasks and responsibilities. It also means acknowledging the presence, energy, creativity and opinions of all present. It also means co-creating a shared vision (intention) of what they want to achieve and have the courage to set up agreements, and follow through with presence to achieve that vision.
To say this is relatively easy, but to actually embody it and make it part of the organizational culture is a big challenge. It means learning how to create a safe environment where people can communicate and share their opinions openly, without fear or anxiety. It means learning how to create a space where people feel part of something bigger instead of feeling separated, attacked and competing. Contrary to popular belief, many organizations have already acknowledged the importance of addressing the human aspect of teams to effectively achieve the expected outcomes, and have a positive impact in the well-being of collaborators.
But I still see teams and systems that act without acknowledging the human aspect of being together. They fail at recognizing the person that is behind the title and tasks they perform. The problem is that if organizations intend to achieve a concrete outcome without strengthening the bonds and nurturing the sense of community, the individual commitment of their employees won’t be as strong and will lack the necessary passion to pursue and achieve the desired goals.
I’m writing about organizations, because 2 of every 3 people work in such an environment. Humans have always felt the need to come together and most of us now do it to produce goods and services. The intention of building community is hardly there in our everyday life. Our post-modern societies don´t encourage that felling of togetherness as much individuality, competition and independence. We are taught that relationships are there to provide services and that money is the mean to ensure everyone wins in the interactions. Somehow this method works to foster economic development and growth, but now we know that when we only relate to others in terms of an economic interchange, it has a devastating impact on human relationships and the environment.
The eternal circle
The herd instinct, as any other, cannot be denied or suppressed; that´s why in every generation there have been people who recognize the power of the circle and have used it in a conscious way to foster community. But somehow I feel that today´s mainstream society is far away from embracing the power of human connection through being in circle.
I believe that the seed of consciousness is inside us and that trusting our instincts is the key to unlocking our hidden wisdom. The herd instinct is for me is one of the most important aspects of life. It’s the sacred impulse of coming, being and staying together. Community living is a trend nowadays in the circles I frequent. I know people who after thriving in some of the most exciting cities in the world have decided to move back to the countryside to live a simpler life among similar-minded people in communities. Other circles practice Poliamori as a mean to connect and expand love. They believe that love is an infinite energy that can be lived through many people. This is another way to practice sitting in circles.
Many people are now really interested in shamanism. One of the things people interested in Indigenous wisdom always do no matter which tribe you are with, is that they will always sit or dance in circles. The power of the ancient Indian wisdom resides on its simplicity. And circles are always present as a powerful symbol of togetherness.
As for my work, in Biodanza we always start and finish our dance sessions in circle. We do it as a metaphor of being together as co-creators of the eternal dance of community. I always work with the circle as a symbol of being together, complete and integrated.
In corporate workshops, AA meetings, group therapy, kindergartens, women and men groups and in many more contexts circles are everywhere, we just have to open our heart, set clear intentions and be present to connect.
What is our challenge?
If you have gotten this far into this article it’s because you recognize the power of being in circle. So let me ask you, how often are you in circle? With whom? And where can you bring it to foster a feeling of togetherness?
This is a call for mindfulness and action. What I’m about to suggest is so simple that you may think that it’s not worth trying, but I challenge you to do it at least for one month. Every time you sit in a circle together with people (to work, eat, drink, dance, etc), do it with the firm intention of using that time to connect and bond. Actively speak up and share your intention with the people you are sitting with and see what their reactions are. Invite them to be present, to share their intentions and create a common vision. I have done it with different crowds and I´ve been amazed with the impact a shared intention and active presence have on a circle and the lessons that each person takes with them.
Let us reclaim the herd instinct and use it to foster the new communities we as species need to assume our responsibility of guardians (not owners) of this planet and of every living being.
conscious movementPosted by Pablo Mon, May 08, 2017 12:22:43
“…the very moment you dispel your finite consciousness and feel that you are the all, that you are the whole world, that you are an Infinity;
when you realize that, then you become whole and the bodily disease, trouble, anxiety is dispersed, dispelled, evaporated.”
Swami Rama Tirtha
My Two Worlds
I have clarity on one thing. I do what I do because I want to change the world, I want people to be empowered and free so they can make their own decisions and learn how to unleash all their potential.
I’m tired of seeing myself, and all of us only as a consumers/producers, and letting those two behavioral patterns become the purpose of our lives.
I move between two worlds that have different costumes and beliefs but that in my opinion complement each other. The “Conscious Community” that attends yoga, shamanism, dance, meditation and any other ceremony of awareness and mindfulness. And the Corporate Community, that consist of people that work in organizations that attend technical trainings, team building and leadership workshops among others.
Although some people belong to both communities in general terms we are somehow divided in terms of awareness, mindfulness, and behaviors. I’m not saying one is better than the other, I’m saying that the awareness and behaviors of each community are radically different from one another.
Every time I attend or teach a dance, yoga or meditation workshop, a shamanic ceremony or a coaching program, I´m amazed by the levels of connection and awareness people there achieve. It doesn’t matter if the retreat is held in Europe, America, Africa or Asia, every time I see the way the community feeling is nurtured and cared for I renew my faith in humanity´s present and future. But is my observation that once the music is over, the connections are lost and everybody starts behaving the same way as always.
Why do we “fall back”?
As a business consultant having worked with hundreds of different organizations and teams I recognize the same pattern of good will to come together, change, improve and create a new level of awareness in organizational groups. The great statements and agreements that are reached during the workshops can be inspiring but sadly, according to my experience, most of them are disregarded once the teams go back to their offices.
I see this pattern in myself as well. After the retreat, workshop, seminar, certification, etc is over, I go back to my everyday life filled with joy and expansion, but sadly after a while I sometimes see myself falling back into old toxic patterns that I thought were left behind. I know that I’m not the only one who has had this “falling back” experience, that it’s probably normal due to the spiral nature of evolution.
Sometimes we go back in order to move forward in a more conscious way. Both the conscious community and the people who work in organizations seem to be addicted to the
experience of the workshop itself. They seem to enjoy saying I went to this, I did that, I certified myself in…. but despite all of their work most of them fail to bring the desired changes into practice. Why?
Practice, practice and more practice…
Let me venture two hypothesis to explain this phenomenon. The first and more reassuring one is that we humans need practice and recurrence to actually let our comprehension transform into new behaviors.
This means for example that in a workshop I recognize (become aware) an old pattern that affects my relationships with women. This awareness is great but it´s not enough to say that I have learned how to change and relate to women differently. It only means I’m aware of it. To change the behavior I would need to consciously start training myself to do things differently when I’m with women. According to this explanation, the only thing we need is time and recurrence (and maybe support from a teacher, coach guru) to let the changes happen. I recently wrote an article on how to embody your practice that has tips on how to bring your awareness to the level of behaviors. Check it here
This is the way things are moving right now. And don´t get me wrong, I see them moving. More people are more aware of the need for change in more parts of the planet. But do you think that at this pace we will be able to make the necessary shift in consciousness before our planet and/or society collapses?
Are we all addicted?
The second explanation is a little bit more provocative. I believe that there is a great number of people that are addicted to the workshop (retreat, program, etc) experience. I have learned how to recognize those professional participants, which despite what happens during the workshop experience always behave the same way afterward. Why? Because most of them feed themselves from the energy of love, respect and community feeling that is present during the work but have no clear intention of changing. Why should they? If the feel nurtured and happy after their attendance? This one is like any other addiction where we just act in spite of our own will just because we are used to those actions because we feel good afterward until the effect wears down and we need another dose of workshop.
Where are we failing?
In any case, I believe there is a big problem that most of the workshops are not facing. I’m talking about the lack of coordinated action that is required for us to change the world. What I mean is that although conscious retreats have multiplied in the recent years, politicians and the big corporation tycoons (and their teams) are still the same ones and they behave the same way, just looking out for themselves and their personal interests. And although the number of conscious people attending different programs is increasing, the world is not getting significantly better because we as people lack the leverage to push changes or what’s worst, the interest to make the decision-makers behave in a different way. Most of us
seem content of being able to do a headstand, meditate long hours or experience the power of a sacred plant.
Who´s responsibility is to do something?
These times are really exciting. You may agree with me when I say that we are in the threshold of a big change in consciousness and awareness. This article intends to be an eye opener and invites all of you to act, to bring your comprehensions into actions, to find the way to act in a coordinated way to push decision–makers to act differently. Is my belief that we as conscious people need to become more engaged in politics and economics, need to bring changes to our offices, need to talk with everybody about the need of change and the importance of personal responsibility. This is not too big for you. Everybody can get engaged. Just think about it the next time you meet your neighbors or family when you decide not to vote in the next election or not attend the neighborhood demonstration. We are all in this together, whether we like it or not.
I believe we are the generation called to transcend the egoistic/individualistic way of living and is up to us to actually make it happen by bringing what we learn in the workshops outside into “real life” and make it happen.
About the author: Juan Pablo is a life coach, Biodanza teacher, real life yogi and entrepreneur. He is currently living in Berlin where he delivers trainings, workshops, and sessions related to human consciousness. For more info on his work please visit: www.7sessions.de