On Observation

Do you ever stop to really observe the world around you? Stop to smell the roses, take a second to take in a beautiful view? Well, in a city in constant motion, stillness and observation can really bring a greater sense of your place in the world. I’m not suggesting that everyone now has to take a bus to the Catskills and meditate in the meadow, but take a deep breath once in a while. I mean the kind that makes you expand on all sides, that rushes through your body like a breeze on a beach. (I bet you just took a deep breath… I know I did). Getting too caught in the routine of our every day separates us from the beauty of exploration and the gratitude and appreciation we should have of the things around us.

Too granola and yoga for you? Well, let me put it in the dance perspective. Let me start from the beginning. I took a really challenging and engaging modern class today (5/2/13); a room full of dancers moving across a glistening hardwood floor exploring the length, smallness, peeling, ranging, expansive qualities of our bodies. After progressing through phases of a guided floor series we rose to learn some movement phrases. The phrases thoroughly progressed our floor work, allowing us to find the nuances of the movement. Towards the end of class, we were encouraged to weave into and out of the space and time, watching and observing as well as doing and moving. By the second round, the rush and rage of the sea of bodies fighting to catch the movement and be present in the moment became overwhelming for me. All I could do was watch. I just needed to look with my eyes, feel with my skin, my limbs and breathe. And that was ok. I might have forgotten a good chunk of the phrase work (and of course remembered everything again after class), but the watching was a far more impactful part of the learning process.

I challenge you to really see someone, not just try to practice the phrase as you watch them, but see his earring, her freckles, take in the whole person in that moment. Because at the end of the day, the moments you take to look can be the most profound.

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