Interdependence

Written by Marni Levitt

In a digital-age, in the modern world, we have (or so it seems) access to so much personalized, individual choice in how we spend our time, who we interact with, and what we purchase.  In the business world, people speak about hyper-segmentation of markets, niches, and specializations.  It seems that we can get very very specific indeed about who and what we want to interact with, both in the virtual and the real world.  At the same time, in this hyper-individualized culture, there seems to be a growing unease, loneliness, disconnection, and despair.   It seems as if the time we used to use to connect with nature, our families, our friends, our selves, has all but disappeared.  Our communities, families and neighborhoods can be the fabric that holds this thing called “life” together.  Without it, or with only bits and pieces of it, daily life can seem to have less meaning, less purpose.  It is only in context of living in a way that reflects our interconnections, that we can thrive.

The great leader and mindfulness teacher, Thic Nhat Han, refers to this state of interconnection as “Interbeing”.  My yoga practice has, over and over again, helped me to get in touch with the magic web, or fabric of connections that impact my lived, daily experience.  Coming home from a yoga class, I have intuitively sensed that the plants in my apartment need watering – I have been able to “see through” the actors on TV in my favourite sitcoms, and notice them “acting” – I have been able to sense who was the right person at work to speak with in order to resolve a difficult situation.  The connection of mind, body and emotions (or spirit), through yoga and mindfulness, has facilitated my awareness of our “interbeing” with each other and our ecosystem.

These ancient, tried-tested-and-true practices (and now scientifically-studied to boot) have given me practical tools, over and over again that have dramatically improved the quality (and the intelligence!) of my life.  I hope you can enjoy some of those benefits too.

Marni

1-416-910-3114
@Move_N_Music
marni@move-n-music.com
www.move-n-music.com

Marni Levitt B.A.(Hons.), B.Ed. OCT, RYT
Founder Move-N-Music
Wellness Educator, Animator, Speaker

Ignite the potential for your body and mind

The Story of Move-N-Music Video
Marni Levitt Music on Soundcloud


 

Body-Full- Ness

Written by Marni Levitt

Mindfulness has become a popular word, used widely to describe the mind’s awareness of what is happening in the present moment. A state of being that can improve our health, relationships and work. I believe it should be called ‘Body-Full- Ness’. Part of the reason the word has become so popular in modern western life is because we can relate with the word ‘mind’ that is in ‘mindfulness’. We love anything to do with thinking and cognition. Mind over matter. What I have learned from my years of self-study and learning in mindfulness meditation and personal growth, is that my emotional experience resides primarily in my body. ‘Mindfulness’ is a paying attention, not just to thoughts, but (perhaps more importantly) to the direct physical experience that locates itself in the body.

The body is the resonator for emotional experience. Like the body of my guitar that reverberates when I pluck the strings, my bodily experience resonates and responds along with my thoughts, perceptions and experiences. When I really pay attention to what is going on in my bodily sensations, and the emotions swirling inside, I have a natural built-in compass that directs my course in the day-to- day and in life. Easier said than done in a culture that so values the cognitive (thinking) aspects of experience. It is all related and interconnected. When I practise ‘mindfulness’ in my modern western lifestyle, I am getting acquainted intimately with my thoughts, but even more importantly, tuning into my body and the multiple facets of emotional experience and knowledge. Every time I do that, I access a whole self, with a full range of awareness – not only of what is going on inside myself, but what is going on around me. You could say my ‘Body-Full- Ness’ is a key that opens the door to a whole universe.

Today, see how many times you can notice physical sensations: the air going in the nostrils, the abdomen rising and falling, the feeling of your foot touching the ground with every step, the feeling of your hand touching a doorknob, the taste of the food in your mouth. Simple. Not easy, but simple. This basic awareness sets a baseline for noticing when emotional ups and downs come rolling through the body like waves in a storm.


 

Marni Levitt

1-416- 910-3114

@Move_N_Music

marni@move-n- music.com

www.move-n- music.com

 

Marni Levitt B.A.(Hons.), B.Ed. OCT, RYT

Founder Move-N- Music

Wellness Educator, Animator, Speaker

 

Ignite the potential for your body and mind

The Story of Move-N- Music Video

Marni Levitt Music on Soundcloud

Emotions Experienced in the Body

Written by: Marni Levitt

I remember my body dropping several flights in a split second on the ride at Disney World. The ride was called ‘The Drop’ or something like that, and simulated an extremely sharp elevator drop. My stomach was up, several meters higher than the rest of my body, which dropped down sharply – all of a sudden. A thrill, an unpleasant feeling, scary – all depending on how you perceived it. For me, it was both scary and unpleasant. I have felt that feeling in my stomach many times – but not on a Disney World ride – rather, in daily life situations that feel scary or stressful. I feel like my stomach is dropping down – almost right out of my body. (The opposite of my body dropping down, and stomach in the air, but similar feeling nonetheless). I have felt like that many times at work, in stressful moments.

I am sure many people experience similar physical experiences of emotions. ‘I have butterflies in my stomach’; ‘I have cold feet’; ‘my heart is broken’, ‘you make me sick’, ‘I am listening to my gut, and something just doesn’t feel right’. If you resonate with any of these expressions, or feelings, you may have a sense that our language reflects our lived experience and reality.

With the recent scientific validation of mindfulness and yoga, through studies and neuroscience, it is easy to start believing that emotions and feelings happen between your ears, in your head (ie. in your brain). In Eastern thought (where yoga and mindfulness originate), the mind is considered a mystery. Who is the one who is knowing and experiencing? Western science takes this ‘self’ for granted, Eastern traditions question and wonder about it.

I wonder how many people experience their emotional reality inside of their heads? Through my years of mindfulness meditation experience, and practise of yoga, in addition to work with a psychotherapist – I have learned to be aware of, and identify the feelings in my body; in this way, my body has become my emotional compass, leading me to wellness. For example, when my chest and throat start to feel tight, it is likely that I am experiencing sadness or grief. When I tune into this experience (either through mindfulness meditation, or just being aware as I go about my day), I can then work with it, be present with it, and that is when it often starts to transform, or loosen, and I get some relief from the pain. Identifying my physical experience of emotions – or physical processing of emotions, has made a world difference for me, on a practical, daily basis.

I have been able to navigate life and work, and improve my mental health and wellness in leaps and bounds.

According to Wikipedia, Pali (Pāli) is a Prakrit language native to the Indian subcontinent. It is widely studied because it is the language of many of the earliest extant literature of Buddhism. The Pali-English Dictionary suggests citta is heart / mind, and emphasizing it is more the emotive side of mind as opposed to manas, as the intellect or mind-sense in the sense of what grasps mental objects (dhammas). From the cultures that gave birth to mindfulness practices now transforming the West, there is a different understanding of mind than that assumed by modern, Western, scientific concepts. The heart is in the body, the body experiences emotions. The more traditional (and time-tested) practices such as mindfulness and yoga have an understanding of mind that includes the heart. This conception certainly resonates with my life experience – and being in touch with my body (and therefore emotions) has only improved my life and relationships. Being aware of the body, and of feelings, is the first step to working with those feelings – and often, mitigating or limiting a fight-or-flight stress response.

There are scientific studies on just about everything now – which is great, as it helps give a certain validity to fields or practices previously considered marginal (in modern Western context). More and more people are turning to these types of supports, in search of practical solutions to exponentially-increasing stress and distractions modern life. People are flocking to yoga and mindfulness meditation retreats in droves. Parents are finding help for issues that previously seemed unsolvable for their kids. I know that I have made a scientific study of my own life: about 99.9% of the time, when I am feeling a great deal of stress about something, after a yoga class, whatever problem seemed insurmountable before class, suddenly feels workable – and often I feel at peace. Wow.

Just like magic. My mind (and emotions) became calm because of actions I did with my body and breath. Hopefully with the logic of science, and the art of being aware of feelings – we can start to connect with a broader canvas of human experience: one that includes the head, the heart, the body, and therefore our entire being. I believe that’s where we will find long-term solutions for the pervasive ailments of modern living.


Move-N-Music is offering ‘mind-FUN-ness’ customized small group coaching sessions to introduce the concept of mindfulness in a fun, hands-on, engaging way.  For more information, please email marni@move-n-music.com
Every Sunday Morning near St.Clair and Oakwood in Toronto

April 3, 10, 17, 24, May 1, 8, 2016
9:30am – 10:30am
For ages: 5-8

Find out more about Marni’s programs by checking out her website; www.move-n-music.com

Marni Levitt B.A.(Hons.), OCT, RYT
Founder Move-N-Music
Arts & Wellness Educator,
Animator, Speaker

1-416-910-3114
Skype: Marni.Levitt1
marni@move-n-music.com
www.move-n-music.com

Photo in article from Move-N-Music Family mind-FUN-ness day in Toronto – Feb.2016.