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Cross Country 6-Darkness and Light

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  • Cross Country 6-Darkness and Light

    Posted by Barrett<script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2004,7,23,7,24,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> (Member # 67) on 23-08-2004 14:24<noscript>August 23, 2004 07:24 AM</noscript>:

    It’s been a quiet week in Cuyahoga Falls…

    In Appleton I had outgrown the meeting room at the Holiday Inn so Cross Country changed the venue to a place called The Monarch Gardens. I thought it was a convention center but whoever told me that was either just trying to appease me or had never actually been there. I walked into an aging beer hall where the tables had been set up in front of the dance floor. Four large signs around the perimeter of the room warned people not to stand on the tables or chairs. I’m not kidding. I would guess it’s been a while since anybody felt like standing on a table there. The owner, an elderly woman, moved about doing this and that in preparation for the crowd. The entryway was dungeonous though the meeting room was light enough. Still, when people came in the door from the sunlit parking lot (it doubled as a “braut fry” venue at noon) they couldn’t even see the registration table six feet away. In an effort to avoid any actual injuries I asked Mrs. Monarch to turn on some lights. Finally two faint ones appeared above the bar. The look she gave me discouraged my asking for anything more.

    I watched the class emerge from the registration area into the brightly lit meeting room for a while. They looked like people exiting a cave after a week of spelunking. Staggering slightly, they used their olfactories to find the coffee and groped about for an empty chair. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a little. But the contrast of the dark and light came back to me as I drove south toward Madison late that afternoon. Behind me the sky was blackened by a storm front that the guy on the radio couldn’t stop talking about but through the windshield a brilliant Wisconsin day spread before me. I needed only to glance in the rearview mirror to be reminded of the gloom greeting my students that morning. Looking for a theme for my writing about this trip I decided this contrast was trying to tell me something, and on Friday morning I started to type.

    “Everything with substance casts a shadow. The ego stands to shadow as light to shade. This is the quality that makes us human. Much as we would like to deny it, we are imperfect. And perhaps it is in what we don’t accept about ourselves that we discover our humanity.”

    From “Meeting the Shadow,” edited by Zweig and Abrams.

    Again I found during this trip that my thinking and practice are finding a focus I’ve never before known. In Wisconsin and northern Illinois this time I kept encountering examples of the Jungian “shadow” concept that has always fascinated me. Briefly, Carl Jung proposed that our unconscious contained thoughts and desires we are loath to express primarily because we fear the culture’s judgment. We edit what we would like to say and, most certainly, we inhibit muscular activity we feel others would find less than ideal. Patrick Wall would call this being stuck in the second stage of instinctive response to pain and the philosopher Daniel Dennett feels that “Pain is a matter of plans being thwarted.”

    In the class on Friday I happened to choose a woman in the third row upon which to demonstrate the immediate and beneficial effect of Simple Contact followed by self-correction (ideomotor action). Everything went fine, and, as it happens, she’s had decades of pain. But I never convinced her that she had the ability to move in the same way without my hands upon her. When asked to find this and express it nothing but doubt and rejection registered on her face.

    Later that day another woman came forward to serve as a model. Built like a gymnast and standing initially as if for the judge’s approval, she nevertheless immediately sensed her own inherent movement and continued to express it when I let go. The chronic pain following a severe trauma six months ago rapidly receded and her range of motion was enhanced by 50% within ten minutes. More importantly, she expressed complete confidence in her ability to continue on her own after I left for Ohio. Turning to the first woman I saw the same confusion and disapproval in her face. She felt better, but it was unlikely she was going to stay that way.

    Ultimately, my courses are all about the physical shadow; the things we hide in our bodies for a variety of reasons, even if effortless expression of them immediately helps. For many, keeping things in the dark is safer, more familiar and seems to cost less. Often these people need more help than I have to offer.

    After a little while I went back to the owner of the Monarch Gardens and I engaged her in some conversation. I asked her if she knew anybody named Hinske in the area and explained that this was my mother’s maiden name. I understand most of them live in Wisconsin. She smiled for the first time. “When I was a little girl, that was our neighbor’s name,” she said.

    Five minutes later the entryway brightened, and the students entered effortlessly.
    Last edited by bernard; 30-12-2005, 05:57 PM.
    Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. L VINCI
    We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances. I NEWTON

    Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not a bit simpler.
    If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough. Albert Einstein