What a gift it was to attend Wisdom 2.0 in San Francisco this month! This begins a series of posts that reflect my notes and reflections on the extraordinary learning and insight gathered during our weekend.
Richard Strozzi-Heckler is the founder of the Strozzi Institute. He teaches, lectures, and lives the somatic practices he teaches in his framework of Embodied Leadership. He modeled his framework in the talk he delivered to the Wisdom community. It was a powerful reminder of the insights we can gain when we "tune in" to those gut responses and body sensations that provide us important information. Our bodies speak loudly--to ourselves and to others--one of my favorite quotes begins with "happy girls are the prettiest!" Indeed it is true. We can see and learn SO much when we tune in to the body language we experience and observe. We can also change our outcomes by consciously choosing how we want to be present and thereby communicating it with our body language. Whether we choose consciously or not, our body language speaks more loudly than any of the words we choose.
He began with a powerful demonstration of a physical mindfulness practice that invited us to be present to our length, depth, width, and center, and to connect our self to our world in those dimensions. Then he asked the questions...
How is it that there is a growing separation of haves and have not's? One of the reasons is that we are out of touch with our bodies. How is it that so much conflict ends in violence? We are out of touch with our bodies. We feel through our body.
Culture has placed so much value on rational thought. What we have sacrificed in between is the capacity to feel and sense. James Joyce, Irish author, in his collection called the Dubliners, tells the story of Mr. Duff who lived a short distance from his body. Absent from emotional life and deep intimate connection with the natural world; James Joyce talks about those who have been trained to live a short distance from our body.
This animating force of the body has a repository of intelligence and wisdom. Inter dependence and inter connectedness has value because we understand the importance of reciprocity. In planning and intellect we may not take this into account.
The body and the self are intimately linked together; we see the image of the perfect body and our intellect invites us to compare, contrast and fall short. The way we see our self shapes how we make contact with others and how we take shape. The shape can change. We can shift it to have more intimacy with deeper wisdom that is in us.
He then used the example of putting our hands together naturally and then shifting it to a different way. It is the example of the discomfort between who we are now and who we are becoming. We want to practice so that we can do both right away. He used a sports image of the Brooklyn Dodgers Carl Furillo and Howard Cosell when Cosell asked Furillo, "How can you play the right field wall at Ebbets Field?" Furillo answered, "I friggin practiced!"
Practices--are the ones we are doing at this moment going to take us to where we want to be? Somatics teaches us how to get to new habits. Knowledge is only a rumor until it is in the body. Knowledge is only a rumor until it is in the muscle. How can we leave with this embodied wisdom? How can we take this out into our worlds?
He closed with this powerful invitation...
Take it easy, but take it.
We DO get to choose to change! I am personally grateful to have witnessed so many extraordinary changes. They take practice. Using the wisdom of ALL of your dimensions supports moves into new ways of being.
Following is a link to a clip of Richard Strozzi-Heckler