Sunday, December 12, 2010

Reverb 10: Body Integration

Body Integration: This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present? (Author: Patrick Reynolds)

I have these moments pretty frequently, actually. Most of my life they've come as a result of running and while my running suffers from my farming habit, I'm grateful to have had the experience of using a daily activity to work on consciously seeking that body integration. Like many things in life that are good, this takes practice. Long ago, basketball also helped. I was well-known for my court presence when I played. I had a sixth sense about where I was on the court in relation to the ball and the basket that resulted in some great shots and occasional blocks from time to time.

On the farm, herding animals often poses the bests opportunities for consciously seeking to be fully integrated. Take for example the day when we were moving boy lambs to a new grazing rotation. One of them was not cooperating and kept running away from where we needed him to go. He was tricky too. He'd slow down and seem willing for us to walk up to him, only to dart as soon as we were within striking distance.

Lisa and our intern, Kathleen, and I were working together to get him headed in the right direction. He ran up against a fence and was moving south toward the gate. I quietly approached closer, took a deep breath and as he darted in front of me, I lunged forward, eyes wide open, fairly well aware of where I was in comparison to the lamb, the fence, a big tree that he'd run behind, and the ground. I kept my eye on him the whole time, and in a moment that seemed perfectly choreographed, I caught hold of his leg and held on for dear life, while I fell to the ground in a thud. His leg securely in my grasp, I scooped him up under me and stayed still until someone got over to pick him up from me, not daring to stand and run the risk of losing him. I may also have been hiding the fact that landing the way I did made getting up quickly a near impossibility.

It was a comical scene, actually, perhaps not the almost mystical, spiritual experience that body integration often provides. But I did feel alive, deeply aware of myself as an integrated whole, focused solely on ending the ridiculous chase that was preventing us from moving on to the next thing on our to-do list. I had bruises to show for it when I finished, and a deep sense of satisfaction that would rival any I ever felt from those glorious moments of eyes on the ball all the way up in the air, matching stride for stride my opponent's moves, until with a long stretch of my arm and a perfectly timed move, I cleanly blocked a shot on the upward part of the arc toward the basket, with not even a brush of a finger against the hand or arm of the opponent.

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