What is Authentic Movement?

Authentic movement is a profoundly simple form in which a mover moves with eyes closed in the presence of a witness. Listening to the inner wisdom of the body and following impulses, movers experience the inherent wisdom of their body as it becomes conscious through movement. This process, combined with creative exploration, becomes a direct route to understanding and transforming emotion into expression, understanding into action. It is an opportunity to celebrate your unique essential contribution as it unfolds in you through movement, creative expression and learning to bridge the invisible with the visible.

Based on Jungian principles of the collective unconscious, dreamwork and our own embodied mythology, authentic movement as a discipline emerged in the 1930’s in the studio of Mary Whitehouse – a pioneer in her time, weaving together the collective unconscious with personal story in movement. For more on her work see…

With a witness holding the space for us as movers, we close our eyes. Following impulses, listening deeply to our core being’s request for movement, we begin to explore and express ourselves. We listen to the voices that are clamoring to be heard in our bodies. Our eyes stay closed. We wonder at the impulses rising, at the sensations that seem amplified, at the sounds wanting to erupt. We keep our eyes closed and continue listening and moving in response to what captures our attention. Contact happens. We keep our eyes closed. A sound emerges in the space near us. We keep our eyes closed. Feelings begin to rise and we begin to panic. What now? We keep our eyes closed. We move. We begin to track our internal map/terrain of who we are and how we define ourselves. We become archaeologist of our inner world as we experience it in our moving bodies. Keeping our eyes closed we are left with nothing but ourselves.

We have no solid space to blame anyone else for the emotions and meanings that arise within us as we move. There is no one but ourselves with our own personal history and habitual responses responsible for all the meanings that we place on our experiences. Our eyes are closed. Listening, moving, sensing into our inner world, understanding begins to rise. We, alone, attach meanings to noises, touch, moving alone, moving with someone else. We begin to have a direct, visceral, and kinesthetic understanding of how we create meaning. In that moment, our attachment, our particular meaning world, has an opportunity to shift to the simple reality of being present with what is. This shift affects our ability to experience our world which profoundly affects our relationship to our self and others. Suddenly there is more room to play, to create, to be spontaneous – in response rather than reaction. Making such a shift neutralizes the past and transforms the present into a smorgasbord of possible new creations. Moving through our meaning world, allowing the shift to happen, brings us to a place of “seeing,” witnessing ourselves or another in a way that is without meaning, bringing unconditional regard to each moment and creating from there. We understand that our only job is to listen, track sensations and let action and response arise organically out of presence.

Time is called. We open our eyes and make eye contact with our witness. We are seen.

Why Move?

Movement is a vital learning modality in both LEAPYEARLEAPYEAR 2 and Body Visible/Body Invisible.

bvbi5We are moving beings from the moment of conception. There are no shortcuts. As we breathe, we move. As we learn to walk and talk, we move. As we learn to think, as we absorb our world, we move. As we move from our families out into larger communities, we move. And yet, somehow and somewhere along the way, we forget this most basic and vital aspect of coming into this life. We forget the wisdom of our moving bodies, of what it means to feel our way into a question. We forget what it feels like when all our senses are activated and we become alive with possibility. We become flattened, one-dimensional. We sit. We consume information and experiences. Our breathing becomes shallow. Our feelings become a distant memory. Our thoughts dictate our understanding of our lives and there is a sense of disappearing into an intangible world. We become walking heads. We forget about the vitality and heart that moving in our bodies gave us when first we came to form. How do we begin to remember? How do we access the wisdom of our moving bodies when we have forgotten so much? How do we hear the call that is sounding from the earth as well as from our own sickening bodies? How do we wake up and move?

There are many forms, practices and ways of moving towards how we define and experience our world through our moving bodies. Authentic Movement, Contemplative Dance, Body Visible/Body Invisible, Deep Ecology of the Body, Moving Truth, Five Rhythms (to mention a few) are all different forms and offerings that encourage and support literacy in the body. Each is an embodied practice and a moving journey into deeper relationships with ourselves, others and where we meet the world. As moving practices, each modality encourages and supports us to exquisitely and tangibly manifest our embodied wisdom in the world while at the same time creating a conscious bridge between inner experience and outer action. This is vital to our survival as a global family on this ailing planet and gives us a living experience of the questions and the answers we ask as individuals and then as world citizens. To be with all the questions that are rising during this great turning, we must first move.

When moving is an intentional practice, a conscious descent into an embodied experience, whole worlds are explored and excavated. Belief systems are challenged. We discover how we use meaning to interrupt flow. Moving towards an authentic experience of ourselves deeply grounded in the moving body– coming into relationship with our impulses initially and then into relationship through our impulses – we descend through layers of meaning that have developed over the years – layers that create our own unique and particular sense of the world. We begin to learn new pathways of experiencing and expressing our innocence, our joys, our angers, our fears – we begin to fill out as dimensional beings. As we become aware of how meanings define how we are in the world and even who we are in the world, we have an opportunity to come into a different relationship with meaning, with ourselves and with others.