Is it time to bathe in grace?

June 29, 2015

Excerpted from: Slightly Mad Rantings of a Body Intellectual, By Phil Porter  

If you knew what stress felt like in your body, you could probably name the physical experiences that signal this charming, here-it-comes-again-all-too-soon experience. But you don’t experience stress, now do you?

Shimmering-shores-of-Vaadhoo-Maldives-768x512What if we imagined another state that was the opposite of stress–a shimmering-water, skin-tingling, open-hearted, melted-chocolate-on-figs sort of experience. What would that feel like in your body? What if we were to snatch a word that is as happy in the world of dance as it is in the world of spirit and call that experience “grace.” A bit presumptuous, yes indeedy, to pull this oft-used, sometimes misunderstood noun and slather it on the body of our physical experience.

Presumptuous yes, but surprisingly easy.

You have it already in your life, I’m sure. You may have slightly different words to describe it—peaceful, calm, centered, energized, easy, amused—but you have it. What would happen if you were to pay more attention to that experience, to notice where you were, what you were up to, who else was nearby. What if you were to do those things, be with those people, go to those places more often?

I’ll tell you what—you would be happier, healthier, more whole.

Stress can do some interesting things to us. It can rev us up, get us going, spark new ideas. But it is hard on our bodies
and fails as a long-term strategy unless you want to be exhausted, shaky, and frazzled. IT’S A BEAR! That’s when stress is really helpful. Run like crazy! But our lives today are more like this: IT’S A BEAR! IT’S A BEAR! IT’S A BEAR! IT’S A BEAR! Way too much stress. It can really wear you down.

Grace builds up the body. Not to mention making us easier to live with.


Unlocking Body Wisdom

December 10, 2009

by Phil Porter

As individuals and groups we have resources that we are hardly tapping at all.

Why? Because as we grow up and even as adults we are taught to “behave.” In the process, we have limited our physical expression, our spiritual awareness and our emotional intelligence. Consequently we have trouble accessing certain parts of our “wisdom” for either our own good or for the good of the groups, communities or organizations in which we live and work.

an illustration of sending or minds, hearts, bodies and spirits off in all different directions

We take our experience and divide it into four neat boxes, then we store the boxes on separate shelves in warehouses in cities miles apart.

Behaving is a good thing. Learning to sit still, being quiet in a group, taking turns, not hitting—these and many others are nice skills to have. But what if we suppress parts of ourselves in the process? Parts that might help us cope, cooperate, dream or innovate. Parts that help us deal with fear, disappoint, frustration. Parts that give us joy and satisfaction or create mystery and awe. Parts that help us persevere. Parts that help us cope with difficult people or even those we care about. Parts that convince us we belong.

We have neatly packed our experience into separate boxes. Not only that, we have kept them far apart from each other. It is almost as if we have packaged them up and UPSed in all different directions.

To “unlock body wisdom” means opening up those boxes and taking a closer look at their contents. We can notice our experience, believe that it is important even if others seem to be telling us it isn’t, and pay closer attention to it. It can help us make better choices in our lives. Since a lot of people have been telling us what to do (families, teachers, religious leaders, politicians, bosses), this may be more challenging that one might think. Suppression has likely compromised our internal authority.

Unlocking body wisdom means paying attention to the fullness of our physicality. Body, mind, heart and spirit—turns out all of that stuff is physical. Not only can we bring the boxes back together, we can actually dump their contents into one big pile—a great big pile of resources to draw on when we need them.

InterPlay is a set of ideas and practices that do just that—it teaches us, in an active and creative way (that is also fun!), to notice our own information and to use it for our own good, the good of others and for the world.