'The Rough with the Smooth' - a reflection on the Embodied & Embedded event series (autumn 2018) from Christine Locher
Embodiment. Embeddedness. Oneness with nature. What better way to practice this than around London Bridge station in December (I am serious, actually). This is one of my “business haunts”, I interviewed in these parts, I had lunch between meetings. Or I am rushing to and from trains. Today is different. Looking for my friend the little river, the water feature running down the suits-and-tourists autobahn of More London Place like a joyful tripwire pattern-interrupter. The river is gone. Covered by a rough version of the same anthracite coloured rock. Rivulets petrified. I grieve a little.
I allow the impressions to enter me, without trying to flee into a story, a snapshot image, a neat description. Allowing the sensations, allowing emotions to come up, to have my body have its way with what just happened. And vice versa. Putting one foot in front of the other. The mind is just the witness, the phone is off. Some people are shape-shifters. Impressions enter them and they become them, fully aligned. It just immediately clicks. I am one of them and have been since I remember but didn’t have a word for it until now.
The timed exercises help. I realize how driven I normally move from A to B, and how difficult it is for me to not keep things moving this time. Being with what is. Bringing back focus over and over again. Being in the body helps, working with the sensations arising and subsiding. Keep walking. One foot on the rough stones, one foot on the smooth. To halves at snail’s pace. Noticing how different the two feet interpret what the appropriate pace should be, slow and considerate for the wobbly ground, fast and focused for the smooth side. Trying to maintain a coherent whole and a workable rhythm. And how alliances change immediately when I flip sides, turn around and walk back, smooth becoming wobbly and vice versa. Nothing is real. Everything is.
My business side, wearing suits and heels and doing tech stuff that involves things like virtual and augmented reality. Also me taking my shoes off, sitting cross-legged on the floor with the crayons and paper. Two very different sides, both real and significant. Never quite sure which one is meant to be the smooth one or the rough one at a given point in time. Shapeshifting there, too, where people expect you to pick a side and stick with it. For most people, there are sides, most of the time. There don’t need to be sides. Two (of the many) aspects of one person, of one reality.
The crayons turn the smooth and the rough into a jumble of frequencies coming in and out of a flatline, a revival of sorts. It is not rough, it is alive and bouncing. The music of the river. It is the flatline that is scary. Intuition and imagination providing a view from the inside, subterranean, molecular, a view I couldn’t get to by just laying on the ground. Children have the ability to completely tune in, adults often have it drilled out of them over time. It’s a good idea to start reclaiming some of it in this new year. One foot on the worn out path, one on something different that is emerging. This might get wobbly. It will be worth it.
Photography by Christine Locher.
Christine Locher is a coach and consultant and works with individuals as well as small businesses to help identify their values and bring them to life. Christine is based in London and also works virtually. Currently she's in the process of writing a book on decision-making based on values. Here's a link to Christine's website for more information. You can follow Christine on Twitter here.