I haven’t had any blog-inspiration this week. Maybe the last of my book edits have tired me out. Maybe it was the trip from CA to WA (again!). Perhaps it was the fact that all of the family has a bit of a cold. Whatever it was, it finally broke today like a fever.
I go to a Catholic church. I attended mass this morning which, as some of you may know, includes a full exercise program. If you’ve never been, it is exactly like this:
Stand. Sit. Stand. Sit. Sit. Sit. Check out everyone’s posture. Stand. Check out everyone’s posture. Sit. Stand. Stand on one leg. Stand on the other leg. Sit. Cross legs. Uncross legs. Slouch. Sit up. Stand up. Walk (so slow you can really feel how you’re really just lurching all over the place). Kneel. Stand. Sit. Eat a doughnut.
It is awesome.
It was even more awesome today because I was able to use the pew as a marker to help me stay focused on keeping my mind and body present.
Here’s how I did it, and how you can do it too.
In bare feet, back your weight all the way into your heels as far as you can go and still stand comfortably. Not so far that you topple backward or have to grip hard with your quads.
Now do all of that again, but stand in front of a chair, so the seat of the chair presses lightly into the back of the legs once you’re in the right (vertical & muscles on!) position.
From your vertical position, let your body relax into its usual position.
What happened? Did your pelvis drift forward a million inches?
Your relaxed (muscles off!) position tucks your pelvis, has your body weight rest on a tense psoas muscle, and places a high load on the feet. It seems like a small distance to travel, but the loading can be off 30-40°.
Try going between each position a few times. Once you feel the distance between the two, you can get a sense for the physical difference between when you’re choosing with your body and when you’re relaxing into old habits.
One should be doing other things besides coming up with this while in a church or temple or ashram, right? But if you know me really well, you’ll know that I see a strong correlation between body position, presence of mind, and my spirit. And for me, spirituality is all about paying attention to the quality of my thoughts and behaviors. I cannot possibly begin the extremely difficult task of constantly choosing my thoughts and actions if I cannot choose something simple as where my pelvis is in space.
Actually, the choice of keeping my pelvis stacked vertically to my ankles is not a hard one. It’s just remembering to continue to choose it that poses the challenge. I’m like, pelvis stacked, Katy. And then someone comes up to chat. Or a doughnut is eaten and then I check back in and wheredyougo? My pelvis has slipped into old habits!
So why do I feel good doing alignment exercises in church? In the same way a vertical leg is correct, the choice to perpetually offer love and abstain from judgment is the correct alignment for me. Readjusting my pelvis reminds me that even though I tell myself to do something (and it’s even something I WANT to do!) I can fall out of form in a matter of seconds.
Like many of you, I have a constant stream of thoughts going through my head. Many of these thoughts are not in alignment with the beliefs I hold, yet they are still there. So, I love all. I have compassion for all. Except for the person who came in late (pelvis forward). Or the person who doesn’t want to scoot over for me (pelvis forward). Or the person who is texting (pelvis forward). Or the person who is writing a blog in her head when she should be listening (pelvis forward). Why does my hair look so stupid today (pelvis forward).
These thoughts are just old patterns of judgment. My pelvis forward is just an old habit too. Both of these require constant mindfulness. They require the ability to view your physical or mental position, check it against the alignment you desire, and then make any necessary adjustments.
I felt like I received all messages today. All it required was bringing my real (and mental) pelvis back about 10,000 times. In one hour.
I hope you had a great day.
I love you,