Mindful Movement Research Interviews. 15 Feb 2018. MI3EBNY,
E: … So the first is, kind of describing this, like you tell…like for example you just told me this story of visiting this woman and then like ‘o my hips were doing this.’ And then if you stop for a moment and then…feel into your hips. And the difference in that quality of memory. And so, we’re going towards that. I kind of refer to it as a full organism memory.
Ella: Body speaking.
E: Yeah. And like, cause where’s the line between this memory and…so just being like, did I check all the corners?
Ella: Ok. So just go through the experience of what I remember, as if telling it to people who weren’t there?
E: Yeah, so I would say, as much as you want in the first telling, just to kind of like re-situate yourself there. Bring as much information as you want. And no pressure to go super deep. Just to start painting a picture.
Ella: Um, so I don’t have a good memory of like everything that we did. But I do remember that we started out much slower. And sort of built…not super rapidly. But I do feel like there was a…I felt like there was a…how do I say this…like a gradual, um, a climbing up of intensity. But at one point there was like a jump. To a higher intensity.
And I think it’s always harder for me to judge how my body is feeling when I’m at a higher intensity. And I went a little too far that time. And it was just hard for me, I just couldn’t tell.
Um, and, as far as other people, I remember you saying um ‘you can always go towards someone or not. and you always have that choice. To like engage with someone or not engage. Even if they are wanting to engage with you. And I really liked that. Giving me the choice. Because even though like having the choice made me feel like ambivalent. Like, o no I have this choice that I have to make. I found actually I was really relieved, that every time I really did want to make contact. Like I was like, o no I do want to make contact. Touching other people feels good, this feels good. Even though having the choice made me feel like, o, nervous, you know.
So for me that was the strongest memory of that. For lots of reasons that’s a little complicated for me. And so it felt good and reassuring to like I do want contact. I do want that warmth or that touch, you know. Um, what else…
Uh, so…tell me what you want to hear again?
E: That seemed great. Perfect. And going from that to, um…so, this, this section of the class where we were starting this meditation into larger movement. Um, and from there to the end of class…picking, in there, um, it’s like, it’s almost like I can see it as a rolling over. Describing the moments of ‘here’s my sensation that I’m paying attention to now. And then, from there to being in any way in contact with somebody else. And so looking for the transitions of sensation in that. And going from there. So wherever point feels appropriate for you to start in that portion of the class.
Ella: Yeah, I remember…so you’re talking about the end? I remember in the beginning…I think you were saying pick an emotion that you were feeling…or that’s what I went with. And I was feeling pretty sad that day. So I was just feeling sad and going with that. You know. And, I think…
E: And pausing right there, in that dropping into full memory way, can you kind of do a body scan and look, are there adjectives that describe….
Ella: Yeah, I think I was just feeling…I remember…a lot of like tension and blockage at the bottom of my neck. And just a lot of heaviness in my chest. And um…the, I don’t remember all the things that I was doing. But I do remember just wanting to like smack it out. I remember doing a lot of like smacking against the floor. And, um, letting out sounds. I don’t remember what they were. But I think I did do that. And I…yeah, I think I just wanted to communicate the heaviness. So playing with gravity and really letting my body smack against the floor. Which is probably why I didn’t feel so great after [laugh.]
Yeah, I felt heavy and intense. I just wanted to, I wanted to communicate that with my body and also like was hoping that, to have that outside like force would help lift it. So, yeah, just like smacking against the floor felt like it might help a little bit and also communicate it.
E: And in the heaviness you’re talking about, and in the locations you were talking about…So this is kind of one of the pieces of the interview of rolling back over particular moments…So…um, yeah, if you’re going back into this memory of this region…Can you sense if it, where the borders are? Or how these bottom of throat and chest areas, do they feel connected? Or different pieces? Or how far back in you was it, versus frontal. These kind of…
Ella: Um…I mean, it’s hard to remember. But, I do, I get that a lot. So I’ll say that, uh…they feel connected. Generally when I feel sad or, having a heavy emotion in general, it’s like this whole space [points to chest.] Um…
E: Do you remember that day, how far it went back?
Ella: I don’t think it was far. I think it really felt like it was here [points to same region of chest.] I really have that memory of woough, here, in the chest. […] in the throat. It was also a time when I wasn’t quite singing very much. So I was really missing that. So I really felt like really locked in my throat. Um, it was like ‘ougghh’ right there. And then just, yeah, just…just heaviness. In the front I would say. In the front, I don’t know how to say how far back it went. Um…yeah, I really have a memory of the chest and full chest. Really…heavy.
E: This is a weird question. I just, there was something about the way you were expressing in relation to your feeling…I don’t even know if this questions makes sense. Um, did it have…I guess maybe I could describe it like this…um, there’s a heaviness that makes you fall straight down. And then a heaviness that makes you fall flat on your face. Do you remember which one you had?
E: Ok….And then, um, and then going from there…um, ’cause, you know, memory, whatever however much is accurate or…for the most part inviting, uh…a, like a, for whatever you don’t remember: you check and if its not there it’s not there. And kind of…not needed, like, what is normally happening, but what you remember in this particular moment.
So as you were, I guess going from feeling that to, the any memory of…how the sensation was shifting in relation to the movement you were doing?
Ella: I think that my sensation didn’t shift until I was touching other people. Um…well no, that’s not true. It started out…yeah, ok. It started out…very heavy. And slow. From what I remember. That’s the feeling that I had. That’s the movement I was making.
E: Like the tempo of the sensation was slow?
Ella: Ungh-hungh. Um almost stuck. And then it went very quickly into ah…a more frenetic feeling. Like a much more…I don’t know if it’s frustration or, or, whatever, whatever movements that I was doing to try to like communicate the heaviness just go more intense and faster.
E: And in those regions the sensation was…I don’t quite understand the relationship…of the frenetic with the heaviness.
Ella: Right. So, right. Remember that I was saying I was doing movements that were sort of like against the floor. Just letting my body hit the floor. And…the…maybe the pain of doing that brought liek and nager with it. That I felt like my movements got faster and more like ‘aaghhhhh!’ You know, like…maybe that’s frustration. I don’t know. But it felt less grounded all of the sudden and a lot more like [waves arms around] shuuooo, shuuuoo, shuuuooo. Yeah, that was the feeling…yeah, less grounded and more in anger.
E: And the frenetic, was that sensation…where was that sensation located? Or if you know.
Ella:…the same place.
E: And do you remember if they were simultaneous. Like were they layered in a way? Or were they…
Ella: …um…I think that it was…the image is coming to me is like feeling like pinned down by this giant rock. And then sud…and then trying to communicate that there is a rock on you. And then being so frustrated that you have to deal with this rock that you’re just like ‘ agghhhhhh!’ That’s what I remember. So that’s, to me, how they are related.
E: Ok, cool, that actually makes a lot of sense. Yeah.
Um, and then, one of the piece about this dynamic of this moment, of, is if you remember, um…how did you go from being relatively still to making a smacking kind of move?
Ella: Uh…I don’t remember the first movements that I made. Um…I think…
E: Like maybe even a scan of…because at that point your eyes were closed. Um, if, if I’m correct. Um, and so it’s like there’s all these, you know, in my imagination…like what you were hearing maybe. Or what you…you know, so many things that influence how
end up moving. Um, so like, just taking a moment, if it’s there. You know. If you’re like, ‘o yeah, there something…having this memory of…’ It’s like I’m trying to figure out the most, um, loose, malleable word to, to, along the line of impetus. Like, you know, how do you decide to go from still to smacking? How does it feel?
Ella: …I think, I think as you were saying “allow” movement to come it, there was movement there. And…that to me meant, like, communicate the feeling that you’re having. Um…and…because I felt so weighted I just wanted to communicate that. I don’t know if I can get more, like, specific than that.
E: Um, did it feel, um…did it feel like an intentional, cognitive um,…or do you have a memory of like if it was a fuller, a fuller kind of initiation?
Ella: Yeah, I don’t think it was, um…I don’t think I was like, ‘…and now I’m going to move my body.’ I just was like, ok, just do what your emotion is saying. Or let…I don’t know how…
E: It’s an incredibly difficult question.
E: And it’s something that I think about a lot.
Ella: Yeah, I don’t think, it wasn’t, I wouldn’t say it was like a very conscious…
Yeah. When I’m dancing, I try…I don’t usually make like a lot of…thought…yeah, it’s feeling. Or trying to make the feeling with my body. Almost like I’m bypassing, ‘though I’m not bypassing my brain, that’s what it feels like.
E: That’s great. Um…so then going from, um, I guess kind of, jumping aheadto, too this moment where…I don’t remember my exact words. But it was something like, ‘ok, you will soon be coming into contact with somebody. And do you remember a sensational change at that time?
Ella: When you said it? Or when I came into contact with someone?
Ella: Um, when you said it I think I was like…I had to use more of my cognition. I felt much more like, ‘ok, I have to consciously go towards somebody.’ ‘Cause it’s not at all what I’m feeling right now. So I had to kind of pull myself out of that. And kind of just try to…like, ok, I’m doing a different thing. [laughs.] We’re going in a different direction. And then when…I don’t remember who I was first in contact with.
E: Even of just how it felt.
Ella: Um, I think it very tentative at first. And sort of, also worried. I felt very worried that, ‘o, how am I gonna…um…I felt very worried, for some reason I felt like very attached to keeping my emotion going, that I was working with. [laughs.] And it was like, ‘how am I gonna do this? How is…’ And, you know, ‘do I want to share that with some….’ You know I just sort of like, I felt ambivalent about it. And, um….I…felt…so different when I was actually engaging with someone. Like, and it took me maybe a minute or two to let the sadness go. But it was gone. And…um…actually I felt like I had to be a lot more present. Um…
E: And can you describe, how it is to be more present.
Ella: Um, it’s almost like you can’t be sad. Or I couldn’t be sad…um…I had to be…being present what does it feel like. It felt…what did I say, impossible to be sad. Because…you have to be open and…your rec…I don’t know, for me, like, personally, physical touch like always makes me feel…good. Like just like the warmth of another human is just like, ‘ahhh.’ [laughs.] It’s very soothing. Like, I love it. So it’s impossible….that’s not true, it’s not impossible to feel sad when you’re in contact with someone. But it’s much harder. And…um…I felt like I was going to say something else…
E: Ok, so to paraphrase, and feel free to let me know if this is, like, about right. So as I understood what you’re saying, it’s like, you’re doing this thing, you know. And it’s a real intense thing. And I’m bringing in instructions. And so you have a new task to do. So it’s like, there’s a shift in your, um…a bit more cognitive, to be like, ‘and now I have to perform this task.’ Um…and so, in that, from that place of, um, shifted from were you were to heading to your assignment, so to speak, um…how did that feel?
And then coming to, um, like this moment of how that felt to then…just, um, like, coming into the space of, like, all the elements of, like, what it is to come near this cup [demonstrates hand moving to cup.]
Ella: Um, so, I think like I said at first, coming into contact with someone felt very tentative. Because I was in such a weird…
Ella: Um, so, I think that…the not good feeling, I don’t know where it was coming from. But I, I think it was part of…I don’t want to be open to this person, ’cause I don’t know them….I, yeah, I, I’m gonna touch them and kinda be in contact with them but I don’t want to be exposed in anyway. I think that was what made it not feel good. And I don’t know if he felt that from me and therefore responded in kind. Or if we were both kinda like “we’re in weird places.” Like, “I don’t know about this.” Um, it felt, yeah, that felt…that was the feeling.
E: So could you describe, like when you say, um, “hesitant”, how does it feel to feel hesitant. In that particular moment. How do you know that you’re in a hesitant moment?
Ella: Um, I think I didn’t want to make eye contact. I almost wanted to pretend that our bodies weren’t…or, I don’t know, or like, coy is the word, like I was being coy about it….I think that the movements I was making were like protective. I don’t think there was a lot of opening my chest to this person or looking at them or…or, yeah, being, like acknowledging them, as being in contact with me, fully.
E: In the way that, in a similar fashion that you were describing how you felt your emotion, do you remember how you felt the hesitancy?
Ella: Mm….I just don’t think I was putting my weight into it, if that makes sense.
E: …did you feel stillness? In any, or like stuckness, or um…
Ella: I think it’s just…you know it’s that difference between like when people shake your hand and it’s like [reaches out limp hand] or they’re really shaking your hand. You know, it’s like a question of…life.
E: Ok, 36:06 …when you go like this, with a limp wrist shake, you know…Ok, so you like, put your hand back out…and. like get ready for the limp. Like, even the anticipation, so can you feel your hand right now? And, like, how the tissue inside of the hand feels?
And then get ready for a vile handshake. And feeling that difference?
Ella: Right. But I don’t know what that is. That’s like, it’s like in dance class when your teacher would be like, “think about your arms. Just think about them.” And you immediately go from this [limp, outstretched arms] to that [toned, outstretched arms]. It’s just like the intention, just the focus, having the focus there and the intention…brings some power or some life to…
E So, what I’m wondering about is not the reason why there’s a shift. I’m wondering if you have a memory of the tissue. Does that make sense?
Ella: Um, I don’t know…Like, you’re asking me…if I remember the actual, physical sensation of touching that person?
E: Yeah. Like, if you go back into that body memory and, you’re…like if I’m trying to recall something, right…if …[ADD IN LATER]…
If you bring yourself back through the corporeal steps that you remember and as much empirical information as you remember, and then ask yourself again, what do i feel in my cells, is there a memory there.
Yeah, I mostly have a vague, a vaguer sense of like an emotion…yeah, just the hesitancy. I don’t think I can explain it more than that.
E:…and then, from there, do you remember when something, in a tissue way again, felt different than that?
Ella: Yeah, I think it was sort of, so I went on, I think, to be in contact with Eleanor. And that felt, it felt easier to me, personally. ‘Cause I was like, I know Eleanor. Um, but I felt Eleanor, that’s when I felt “mm, maybe Eleanore’s not ready to be…maybe she’s not quite ready. Maybe she’s not…actually I think it was when you were like, I forget exactly…how we first came into contact. But, um…you approached me with total openness. And that was like, “ok, now I’m gonna be open.” You know, like [laughs], ok.” It was a relief because it was like not approaching something sort of like…you know…but head on.
Um…and, even just like the movement of, I think, you went to pick me up and I was like keeping a foot on the floor. And you were like, nope, just, like, give me your total body weight, you know, like. And I was like, Oh, ok. And it felt really good to be picked up. Like nobody, I’m tall and big. Nobody picks me up, you know. Um that, I think that was the real shift.
E:…Can you describe how the shift felt? Like what the shift was before and then, from what to what?
Ella: Um…in a body way, in a emotional way, in a…?
E: In a trying to be as loose and incorporative of the organism of you.
Ella: Um…I just, I just feel like its a question of the chest being open and like the heart being open. And not…like, you know, you know those…[phone rings]…
So, previously it felt like I was approaching people…you know when you’re like at the movie theater and the bathrooms, the door doesn’t clo…there’s no door. But you have to kind of make a couple turns to get in. That’s what it felt like. Like, I’m not closed. But I’m not, you’re not gonna see head on. I’m gonna be like a little bit, turned off, to the side.
Um, and so that…is what it felt like before. And then to have someone approach you, who was really approaching you head on. And doesn’t have like, like defenses in that way…um, I guess one can respond negatively to that. Um, but for me it was a relief. Like I just felt like, um, I don’t have to be hesitant. Um…and I can, in fact, meet you there. You know. And I wanna meet you there, ’cause that seems fun.
And in terms of like sensation…I think…yeah, I just think we were doing a lot of movement that was like face to face. I don’t even know if I was looking at you so much. But, um…it was just…fully like that, you know [puts hand close to face]. And, um…yeah, we were communicating. Now we were communicating. We weren’t acting like we weren’t in contact. Like we were definitely in contact. We were definitely communicating. We were definitely, like, there. And…yeah, that was just a relief. I don’t know how else to put it.
Is there, like, another part?
E: That was perfect. And then also trying to get even more nuances. In particular about the regions you had mentioned in the chest. Both in the beginning and in this portion. Um, do you remember any shifts of, or like, um, because the bathroom description is very sense-ical to me. I’m like, oh, I feel what you’re saying. And I’m, what I’m particularly trying to get at is, um, is a thing. Is an inventing language thing. So, like, inviting you, not in any way forcing, to make up words. Cause I don’t know this language, to try to figure out, how do you describe, like if you’re writing a scene, or a, you’re writing this experience, how do you describe how your chest goes from being a bathroom to being open to me? Or being open?
Ella: Um, hm…honestly I really think it’s just about, like, facing the person…I think previously with Leo and with Eleanor there was a lot of like, rolling or being back to back. Or like rolling over. Like none of our fronts could be to their back, or, you know. It was a lot of just turning away. Physically. Turning away or turning the head away. Or just not, you know, that…very personal…space that’s here, the head. In front of the head, in front of the chest. These are really intimate areas. And, um, it’s hard to not know if you’re invited in to that or not, you know. And, um…so, you were just coming at me, like, when I say full on, I mean just physically straight forward. With your full, self. I don’t know. Yeah, intention.
E: Um, do you remember, um…ok so there’s the, maybe I could call it an external description of a sensation. Like, I feel my head turning. I feel the, um, physics of myself. Um…and then, so for you know, just a different example, if someone’s charging you, frontally. A bull, say. Or a human acting as a bull. Different. Different scenario. So…what I’m working with is, you could describe the physicality of that. And I’m wondering what you could fell of that. Even say, let’s focus on the area that you are talking about, of like, um…the million of different ways that a chest can feel more internally I would say, at that moment…
Ella: Yeah, um, I just felt open and without defenses. I don’t know the actual…I don’t know if I can say ‘there was a dropping away.’ I cant really remember that I just remember feeling…connected. Here [in chest]. Um, you know if you had been running and charging at me like you were going to kill me I would have felt different. But you were running, I don’t even know that you were running but….you were like coming towards me…um…just…as if, just as if you wanted to know me or something. You wanted to communicate. And so I was like, Oh I also want to communicate. Right, that difference we were talking about earlier of contact versus communicating. Engaging. Like, before, like it was like, that’s when I was ‘O, I’m gonna fully let go the earlier emotion that I had. And that kind of like cagey-ness of, do I wanna, do I wanna reach out? Really? Does this person even really want to? Like…if I was doing it at 60% before. And that actually very unpleasant. That’s a very unpleasant thing to do. Um, I think I do that a lot actually. To like agree to something but I don’t fully commit. So, like..I’m just realizing it now. Just like yeah, almost like I’m gonna do two things at once. [laughs.]
E: And neither [laughs.]
Ella: Right, exactly. [laughs] And then totally neither of them. So exactly [laughs]….
Um, yeah, like I just decided, because you were not being self protective at all in that moment I was like, O I don’t have to be. And that felt really good.
E: …I’ll ask two more questions about this one and then let it rest. One is…this word makes tons of sense to me and I hear it used often. Openness. What does it feel like to feel open?
Ella: Um…it just feels very peeled back. Like, like…you know….if you were…it’s like being outside and having a coat on. And you’re like “I know that the wind is, is hitting me. But it’s not hitting my skin. To be open would be to just take whatever you’re wearing off. And just feel the wind hitting your skin. Without any kind of intermediary. Yeah. It just, which can feel very scary or very good. Or both. And, um…yeah, it’s just a very alive feeling. I don’t know how to…a very like…
E: like, the, is this cor, when I hear you say ‘alive’ I think ‘vital’ or ‘capable’. Are those synonyms?
Ella: Yeah, yeah, definitely. Also the feeling of like not having to hold yourself in at all. And just let your, ’cause you know, human beings have energy. So our energy extends beyond just the physical…self. So like, instead of sort of trying to pin that energy in and kind of keep it all inside. Which is something that I feel often that I have to do. Um, to just let that drop. and just let your energy extend as far as it wants to extent. Without any…worry about it I guess. Or any…yeah, just you don’t have to hold back. No holding back.
And that’s not really a phys…like a sensation. But I’m struggling to think of a sensation.
E: Yeah, maybe a different word. You can drop sensation. It’s like…trying to describe how you experienced the situation. I guess, is another way to phrase…And so, even what you’re saying now is really descriptive to me And, um…
Ellla: It’s energizing also. Energizing, for sure.
E: In your particular description it made me really curious about these aspects of, spatially, I would almost describe them as. Of like, ok there’s this energy as you open your arms wide. And, um, literally, now, experiencing that. [Both open arms.] And experiencing the memory of that. Um, and…completely feeling the flummoxing of language in relation to this. Um, literal experience, now. I don’t know, I feel this energetic space in front of me and i don’t’ know where mine ends and yours begins. And, as you were describing that…it, did that happen in that moment for you? In terms of, was there a…in memory, if its there, a memory of, could you feel that energetic layer bordered from mine? Or combined with mine? Or…
Ella: No, I would say…I would say combined, I think. That’s why it was impossible to be in the other emotion. Because we were making a new one immediately, in the moment. You know, like, it’s…yeah, it’s like, I guess, I mean that whole confusing mystery of relationships. Is where do I end, where do you begin. What’s the…exchange between us. That’s a really, it seems a real mystery I don’t know. But I think….right, I don’t know what energy I was giving. But I definitely feel like I was recieving. Fully. And…that gave me the courage also to, just like, let whatever energy I had out.
E:…The piece, spatially for me….as you were just telling the story ‘ and we were facing each other’ it seemed very frontal in this way. A question, because I also experience it from the back, do you remember if was all around you? Or, if…
Ella: Ah, I really, in that moment, I really felt it from, it felt very frontal.
E: Do you remember anything about the relationship of that energy into, um, any part of your self, like your chest, or anything, in any, any words, spatially related?
Ella: Do I remember?
E: Its’ like so this energy is extending and there are these open hands. [Opens arms again.] And this acknowledgement that this goes in front of my body. Like, I see my skin here. Does any of that energy extend in, and can you feel it anywhere inside of your skin? Or including your skin?
Ella:…yeah, I think…I, I think it…I think it penetrated me. But I want to say that it’s frontal because to me the back is a very self protective area. Like that…uh…Yeah, I guess I just don’t think of the back of me as…as like having energy or like containing…um…something that can connect.
I just…um…yeah, I just really felt it here. Really just in my chest. And I like, yeah, chest, heart…throat, head. Everything from here above. Yeah. Very much, engaged.
E: …Is there any other moments along this kind of topic of feeling the relationship that you wanna…or any other also.
Ella: Yeah, I think…it’s funny. I’m just about to totally undue what I just said about the back being like communicative. Um, with Leo, later, you know…
…we were all getting tighter together. And I think I was still facing you or maybe it was Eleanore. And I had my hands out. And Leo was behind me and I really felt him behind me. And we just were, I think he was parroting my motions. Really, really close to me. Not quite touching. Or maybe we touched a little bit. Just really….yeah, really close. And really like following me. Or maybe I was following him. Again that playing with who’s doing what..yeah.
And even tho he was behind me I felt very much like i was communicating with him. It was almost more exciting not to see him And have to guess, what’s the next movement. You know, and…so, yeah. It’s like so interesting. What is that shift? Why was I…thinking that the back was so, a protective thing. And that’s what it was with him earlier. And then even tho the movement…we were still like back to front. How was I able to feel so much more open to him, I don’t know.
E: It makes me think…you know, all the stories that inform us. And all the many things that inform us. Speaking of stories at the moment. And hearing so many different, um, practices. This, this piece of like, hearing that back referred to as the shadow side. In different ways…just stories about the back . As there are stories about the head or the heart or the pelvis. You know there are many stories about many things…this is a total opinion piece. When I go into this practice I ‘m, I’m like trying…ok we’re always situated. And also how much of a beginner’s mind can I have. To say, all of these stories inform me. And more. And what can I sense right now.
…the contradictions are super exciting to me cause it’s like….cool! Who knows if the memories correct, or…
Ella: That, that I remember very clearly…the person I have the least memory about interacting with is Eleanore. And…yeah…it never quite, we never quite were able to have that not self protective.
E: In the moment with Leo…a way to say, an energized back connection. In that body scan memory land, do you remember if you also felt it frontally?
Ella: Yes, it extended through me.
E:…Was the quality from the back side extended to the front, similar to the exchange you were describing when we….
Ella: Yeaaah. I think it felt a little quieter. Slowly. Moving very slowly. And…uh…like sweeter. Like there, with you it felt like a, like a slight wildness [both laugh.] Im sure you have no idea what I’m talking about. And Leo felt like a slower, sweeter thing.
E: The last question from me, do you remember the, the openness that you described, was it similar?
Ella: Ah, yes. Yes, I think…I don’t know why that movement felt like it penetrated through me….maybe it’s cause I was also looking at someone else. So I was communicating on both sides? I don’t know.
…it’s like all these…tiny little moments that can unlock so many things, you know.