Falling exercises

Falling / Supporting
1. We pair up. Hugging strongly one another. Finding a good and proper hugging position for both.
2. Slowly either one of the pair starts to let go and loosen the hugging position. Letting her/his body fall towards the ground, the Earth as low as one needs/wishes to fall. Letting go of structures/tensions. The other tries to support and carry the one who is falling.
3. The falling one starts to rise again and support her/his own body. Finding again a good and strong hugging position. The other one starts to fall. Same actions repeat.
4. Repeating.

Falling / Surrendering / Supporting with non-human
1. Sense your surroundings. Sense your body’s relation to gravity when moving.
2. Falling to the Earth. Letting go on any tensions or structures in one’s body, and letting the Earth support and carry you. Assembling and disassembling several times or staying supported for longer in one place.
3. Finding different entities to support/carry you. Falling on them. Perceiving the relationality between your body and its supporter.
4. Finding entities that your body can support. Supporting them.
5. Wittnessing things and entities falling.
6. Falling with. Support others falling.

Some thoughts on these exercises:

– How is my body supported in itself?
– What supports my body, and what is it which is being supported in/within my body? (self?)
– Falling over and over again affecting my awareness, my energy level (energy going up, when body going down), my appearance, my thoughts. Letting go. Letting be.
– Everything is falling and I can not carry others or try to prevent their falling. It is not necessary. I can only (and I need to) support their falling.
– Falling with. Support others falling.
– Layers of support: matter supporting other matter, connection, interdependencies.

Falling exercises

Morning Practice Sun 28 June

Proprioception + interoception
1. Choose a position you feel comfortable in.
2. Bring your awareness to the field of your body. Notice the state it’s in at the moment, as well as the shifts that may occur. Notice which senses you use to sense yourself. Notice what is in the background, and what in the foreground of your perceptual awareness.
3. Continue moving your awareness across the field. Listen to the stimuli and the impulses that arise from within. You can move or touch yourself if it feels enabling. See if your perception or sense of the field shifts as you move.

Extended proprioception + interoception
1. Shift your awareness to the space and the bodies around you. > Expand your sense of self (the interoceptive field) into the space around you.
2. Bring your awareness to a neighboring body and observe it as if it were yours, or a part of your body > sense it from the “inside” rather than “outside”. Become the other’s self-sensing organ. (You can use the means that are available to you at the moment – you can open your eyes if needed, approach the other body, sense into it with your hands, etc. You may even include touching if it comes naturally.)
3. Expand your awareness to the whole group. Continue doing the same you did before.
4. Go outside; do the same with a nonhuman body. (This can be done alone or in a group.)


Proprioception (/ˌproʊpri.ɵˈsɛpʃən/ pro-pree-o-sep-shən), from Latin proprius, meaning “one’s own”, “individual,” and capio, capere, to take or grasp, is the sense of the relative position of neighbouring parts of the body and strength of effort being employed in movement. In humans, it is provided by proprioceptors in skeletal striated muscles (muscle spindles) and tendons (Golgi organs) and the fibrous capsules in joints. It is distinguished from exteroception, by which one perceives the outside world, and interoception, by which one perceives pain, hunger, etc., and the movement of internal organs. The brain integrates information from proprioception and from the vestibular system into its overall sense of body position, movement, and acceleration. The word kinesthesia or kinæsthesia (kinesthetic sense) strictly means movement sense, but has been used inconsistently to refer either to proprioception alone or to the brain’s integration of proprioceptive and vestibular inputs.

Humans have a multitude of senses. Sight (ophthalmoception), hearing (audioception), taste (gustaoception), smell (olfacoception or olfacception), and touch (tactioception) are the five traditionally recognized senses. The ability to detect other stimuli beyond those governed by these most broadly recognized senses also exists, and these sensory modalities include temperature (thermoception), kinesthetic sense (proprioception), pain (nociception), balance (equilibrioception), vibration (mechanoreception), and various internal stimuli (e.g. the different chemoreceptors for detecting salt and carbon dioxide concentrations in the blood).

Nociception (physiological pain) signals nerve-damage or damage to tissue. The three types of pain receptors are cutaneous (skin), somatic (joints and bones), and visceral (body organs). It was previously believed that pain was simply the overloading of pressure receptors, but research in the first half of the 20th century indicated that pain is a distinct phenomenon that intertwines with all of the other senses, including touch. Pain was once considered an entirely subjective experience, but recent studies show that pain is registered in the anterior cingulate gyrus of the brain. The main function of pain is to attract our attention to dangers and motivate us to avoid them. For example, humans avoid touching a sharp needle, or hot object, or extending an arm beyond a safe limit because it is dangerous, and thus hurts. Without pain, people could do many dangerous things without being aware of the dangers.

An internal sense also known as interoception is “any sense that is normally stimulated from within the body”. These involve numerous sensory receptors in internal organs, such as stretch receptors that are neurologically linked to the brain. Some examples of specific receptors are:
Hunger (motivational state) defined in humans, in the past as an aspect of lust. This sense comes from three of the five classic senses combined or separate, sight, smell and taste.
Pulmonary stretch receptors are found in the lungs and control the respiratory rate.
Peripheral chemoreceptors in the brain monitor the carbon dioxide and oxygen levels in the brain to give a feeling of suffocation if carbon dioxide levels get too high.
The chemoreceptor trigger zone is an area of the medulla in the brain that receives inputs from blood-borne drugs or hormones, and communicates with the vomiting center.
Chemoreceptors in the circulatory system also measure salt levels and prompt thirst if they get too high; they can also respond to high sugar levels in diabetics.
Cutaneous receptors in the skin not only respond to touch, pressure, and temperature, but also respond to vasodilation in the skin such as blushing.
Stretch receptors in the gastrointestinal tract sense gas distension that may result in colic pain.
Stimulation of sensory receptors in the esophagus result in sensations felt in the throat when swallowing, vomiting, or during acid reflux.
Sensory receptors in pharynx mucosa, similar to touch receptors in the skin, sense foreign objects such as food that may result in a gag reflex and corresponding gagging sensation.
Stimulation of sensory receptors in the urinary bladder and rectum may result in sensations of fullness.
Stimulation of stretch sensors that sense dilation of various blood vessels may result in pain, for example headache caused by vasodilation of brain arteries.

Other animals also have receptors to sense the world around them, with degrees of capability varying greatly between species. Humans have a comparatively weak sense of smell relative to many other mammals while some animals may lack one or more of the traditional five senses. Some animals may also intake and interpret sensory stimuli in very different ways. Some species of animals are able to sense the world in a way that humans cannot, with some species able to sense electrical and magnetic fields, and detect water pressure and currents.

[Wikipedia]


Circles of listening
1. Listen to the sounds that are closest to you, include the sounds within your own body.
2. Expand the circle of listening by including sounds that are further and further away from you. What is the furthest sound you can hear? If you try to listen beyond it, what do you hear?
3. Try to hear all the sounds at the same time. Try to not name them or distinguish them from each other.
4. Notice what you are leaving out (or not hearing).

Zooming / Telescoping Awareness
1. Zoom in on a little detail, and listen to it as closely as you can.
2. Move back to hearing everything at the same time. Move between these two modalities or ranges.
3. Allow the listening to move you in the landscape.

Virtuaaliset äänet
1. Laajenna kuulemistasi kuultavien/konkreettisten äänien ulkopuolelle. Miten voit kuunnella ääniä, joihin kuuloaistisi ei yllä? Ne voivat olla esim. liian hiljaisia, liian kaukaisia tai muutoin kuulemattomissa.
2. Laajenna kuuloa tilassa ja ajassa. Miten voit kuunnella tilallisesti äärimmäisen kaukaisia tai laajoja ääniä, esim. ilmastonmuutoksen tai sään ääntä? Miten voit kuunnella maan geologisten kerrosten ääniä? Entä avaruuden ääniä? Kuinka kauas galaksiin voit kuulla?
3. Ajallinen laajentaminen historiaan ja tulevaisuuteen. 10000 vuotta taaksepäin ja eteenpäin. Pyri kuulemaan kaikki nämä ajat samanaikaisesti.

Morning Practice Sun 28 June

Basic exercises in need of development

Becoming aware of the field
1. I stay relatively still and bring my awareness to field of the body. I observe the state it is in and the small movements, impulses and affects that may emerge.
2. I become aware of the factors and phenomena that are affecting my state of being at the moment. These may include environmental factors (e.g. the texture of the floor, the shape of the room, the sound of the traffic, the temperature) as well as experiences that emerge from within (e.g. tensions, moods, emotions, memories, desires, expectations).
3. I bring my awareness to one factor or phenomenon at a time and investigate the ways in which it affects me. The affects can turn into small movements.
4. I begin to move in space and spend time with certain factors, investigating them further
5. I commit to one factor and choose a position in relation to it.

Becoming an event-environment
1. Choose a partner. One moves in the surroundings with the idea of being with, the other witnesses. The mover moves with the surrounding. The witness witnesses the event as a whole, not just the person. Extending the body into the surrounding.
2. The witness lets the event affect his/her body and being, and begins to participate in the event in one way or another. The mover includes the witness-participant.
3. The event includes both people and everything around.
4. The original mover begins to withdraw and turns into a witness.
5. This goes on for a while.

Territory
1. Find the spot in the room that feels the most attractive or comfortable for you at the moment.
2. Begin inhabiting the spot by finding a position or a way of moving that feels good to you. 
3. Someone will come and visit your home-space. Your task is to allow them in and share your space with them for a while. The visitor’s task is to find a way of approaching and entering the space that feels appropriate in relation to the person.

Turning oneself into a room
1. Sense your own body.
2. Start working intuitively in space and turn your internal sensations into a spatial installation that occupies one corner of the room.
3. Visit someone else’s “body”. Place your own body in it. See how it feels.

Exchanging places
1. Find a space that feels meaningful to you.
2. Explore it and find a bodily position and a relation that feels right in relation to the surrounding. Stay there for a while.
3. Once you have found the place, you can return to the starting point.
4. Choose a partner. Take them to your place and position them in the same position you were in before. They will describe their experience of the place.
5. You can discuss the space and your experience of it together.

Experiential body + Exchanging identities
1. Scan through your body, become aware of everything: What kind of sensations, moods or emotions do you experience? How does your body feel at the moment? Is there pain anywhere?
2. Draw an image of yourself: how you perceive yourself from the inside at the moment, how does your body feel, how do you experience it.
3. Find a partner and exchange images with him/her.
4. Let the image inform and affect you. Become the other, or another.
5. Go back to your partner and tell them how it feels to be them (what kind of information you’ve received and accumulated).
6. The partner can add things and teach you how to be like them.

Assimilation
1. We sit in a circle.
2. Notice how your body is. What kind of a position are you sitting in? How are your hands and legs placed? How does your head tilt, what do you see?
3. Shift your gaze from one person to the next. Pick up different characteristics (their position and posture, the way they move their head, the shape of their body, their gaze, the way they position their hands, etc.) and try them on, like clothes.
4. Allow the mimicking and copying accelerate and turn into a warm-up. You can also copy the movements in between.
5. Relocate the movements in space. See what they mean or how they change in this new context.
6. Allow yourself to stay in some postures. Use them to do what you need to do.
6. Find a partner and keep doing the same. You can let go of mimicking and allow movements or responses to emerge.

Basic exercises in need of development

tommi:

Hello all,

Yesterday i was leading an exercise(s) somehow connected to themes which are important to me at at the moment. I’m thinking themes like infrastructure, speed and disruption, layered with images of compressed and deformed fossils flowing down a pipeline, plastic manufacturers downstream that pipeline ignoring the origins of the material they use, and animals or geological entities which more or less accidentally happen to be on a way of those linear processes.

We started by tuning our selves into the gallery space, directing our attention to anonymous and de-naturalized (thank you Robert!) materials we could find there. To objects, materials and surfaces we cannot really grasp; know how they are made, what they are made of, who made them, how we could do them our selves or how they change the biosphere of Earth in a longer than sprint -run.

We also did the same tuning in with our eyes closed.

The second part of the exercise took us outside.

We started by walking around as a group, trying to find our common stream. In the beginning we were slow and closed group (observing for example lichen like blue plastic ropes which seemed to be growing from the soccer court.)

Then, slowly we increased the speed (or flow, or volume) of our stream. First so that we would not stop, then to steady constant walking, to fast walking and finally to running. (we were at this point in the banks behind the court so full on running was not really an option.) At this point the stream had the possibility to break loose and find its own ways. (we didn’t have to stay together as a group anymore…)

It obviously (but partly unintentionally) got a bit out of control, and not all of us could get the instructions for the final (and the main) exercise. (I could not find Robert so he spent the res of the exercise wondering and i looking for him…)

The concluding exercise was a snail in a cycle path -simulation which is nevertheless really simple. Snails often like to hang out in cycle paths which make cycling an adventure. (it often requires a lot of concentration to not to ride over them.)

So in this exercise you would just find any nice and comfy spot, or any kind of slow and steady movement in which you can be aware of what’s happening around you. The aim is to become aware of the various flows which go over or under or trough you, for which you are like those snails on a cycle path: (more or less violently) blocking or disturbing their linear ways.

We had a really good discussion (at least I enjoyed it very much) about the experiences.

Some random notes i have and what i can remember from that exchange:

-not knowing anything about anything, overwhelming layers of unknowing. Starting from the bacteria in our own bodies.

Can there be something calming in not/unknowing?

-The fastness of the stream-walking exercise took some of us to places island we hadn’t been before. At the same time the speed was violence, an inability to be aware of ones own actions. It encourages selfish human behaviour.

-It was the speed which was leading and not human awareness. (moving in the speed of ones own awareness)

-Is there a way to think of rhythms in a non-linear scales outside fast-slow?

-It’s impossible to not touch the ground, to not be on someones way.

-Walking off road (or off path) on plants (and animals?) felt also violent, in comparison to walking on paved roads or already formed paths.

-How can we create or destroy/modify infrastructures so that they would be less violent (moving more close to the speed of our own awareness)?

tommi:

Not knowing what to write

Surrender / Sustain / Support

I have been thinking about…
ability – inability – disability – incapacity – helplessness – unableness

How can we deal with or bear our ignorance and inability? Is it really so that we can not fix, heal, cure or enhance anything/anyone? Are we only tuning our bodies in to phenomena too big to take action against, too prolonged and deep to recuperate, and not actually building anything anymore – maybe building is actually just countervailing/counteracting as stopping or slowing down, surrendering?

How should we deal with fear and terror, that we can not but witness and withstand? How can we practice not letting these things destroy ourselves or deplete us totally? What are the practices of surrenderig, sustaining and supporting? Who/what sustains or supports who/what? And who/what should need to surrender to who/what?

Mutual surrender between human body and the Earth.
Can we support the Earth? Can we support other beings? Can we support ourselves, and what’s more can the Earth support us?

With great ignorance, Anniina

Not knowing what to write

Practice session 17. June with Satu

Awareness is a pre-motor act.

What do you habitually pay attention to?

How much is projection part of your perception?

Interoceptors, exteroceptors, proprioceptors + special senses of taste, smell, hearing and vision. Experience the senses fanning out of each other. Notice what is in the background, and what in the foreground of your perceptual awareness.

Can you adjust what is in the background and what is in the foreground, increasing perceptual range?

Here’s the story of an ovum and sperm.

The egg, ovum, that made half of you, was already present when your mother was a fetus inside your grandmother’s womb. At one point, your maternal grandmother, mother and half of you were occupying the same space. Consider the temporal and generational quality of the ovum. How would you embody that quality?

Lean into whatever diversity your personal history may bring into this story.

The sperm cell that provided the other half of you, takes a few weeks to mature in the male body, and can be stored up to 74 days in the male body before being reabsorbed. After ejaculation, the lifespan of the sperm is between 1-7 days. Consider the temporal quality of a sperm. How would you embody that?

Lean into whatever diversity your personal history may bring into this story.

Consider this: of the millions of sperm that swim toward the possible ovum, maybe hundreds reach their destination. Consider also this perspective: Perhaps it is not a competition or an attack (as often described), but a joint venture. Due to the exposure of female genital fluids, the sperm cells in the uterine tube undergo a structural and chemical change called capacitation, making fertilization possible. The sperm that first reach the ovum, begin to soften its membrane with special enzymes attached onto their heads – as if drumming the surface. Then along comes the one sperm with the other half of your genetic material, swimming into the egg.

It takes a village of sperm.

The fertilization process is completed when the two nuclear masses (of ovum and spermatozoon) are pulled together, fused and re-established forty-six pairs of chromosomes. At this point of fusion, the specific genetic code arises.

A fertilized ovum (conceptus) weighs approximately 0.0005 mg and looks like a tiny droplet of water. It is still encased in a delicate capsule of the ovum, called zona pelludica. After 40-50 hours the conceptus becomes two-celled, signifying a rearrengement at a molecular level. These daughter cells exhibit different metabolisms, a chemical and structural disparity, necessary for the integrity of the following cellular subdivisions.

As the cells divide and grow in number, there is no increase of size in the total volume of the conceptus.

The first few days the conceptus moves along the the fallopian tubes, assited by the muscular movements and the fine villi covering the surfaces before finally entering the uterus. This process requires hormonal communication between the blastocyst and the mother, in order to ensure a safe landing and implantation onto the wall of the uterus.

Let the above words move you in any way.

Consider how hostility can transform into hospitability.

Practice inplantation touch (as in Body-Mind Centering). How do you let the other arrive into you – sensing cells migrating toward the contact point – and then meeting and receiving the other.

—————————————-

What is fertility?

How does balanced endocrine system support fertility (also; creativity)

Consider times of being fallow. Unproductive. Resting. Yielding.

Our endocrine system is a system of transformation. It compliments and supports the nervous system, and in evolutionary terms, existed prior to the emergence of the nervous system.

The nervous system acts usually upon a specific target and within milliseconds. In comparison to that, the endocrine system, which is chemical in nature, acts in diffuse ways throughout the body, over days, weeks, months and years.

The hormones released by the endocrine system enhance our activities, providing alertness and engagement and flow states. They modulate reproduction, metabolism, development, growth and body rhythms. They have a tremendous influence on the body, for which reason it is important to balance their activities – by balancing our activities.

Consider what balance means in your life.

In terms of:

Connection – Disconnection

Movement – Stillness

Voice – Silence

Inner – Outer

Fertility – Infertility

 

Consider the vital role of perception in endocrine function.

 

Resources:

Erich Blechschmidt: The Ontogenic Basis of Human Anatomy (2006)

Andrea Olsen: Body and Earth (2003)

Practice session 17. June with Satu

AN EXPERIMENT IN READING WITH TEMPORAL DIFFERENCES

Approach the books that are available to you at the moment. Spend a moment familiarizing yourself with them, leafing through them or simply being with them.

Read a bit of text to the space and the beings that share it with you. The text can be one that is known or important to you from before, or something you’ve only just encountered.

Listen to the other texts that might be read.

Then, pick one of them and head out into the surroundings. Find an entity or presence, whose temporality is clearly distinct from yours, either due to its short lifespan or its extremely long duration.

Read the text to the entity and see how the temporal disjunction/difference affects your relation to the text.

BB_1706_2

BB_1706_3

AN EXPERIMENT IN READING WITH TEMPORAL DIFFERENCES

HAVE US BE GROWING LICHEN

A slow reading, movement meditation, a walk-through

Why a lichen-eating reindeer is part of the composite body of lichen and even more so as the boreal forests in which lichens grow and being clear-cut for paper pulp, exposing people as the sociopathic component of the forest/reindeer/fungi/algae/human holobiont) as one of the Inalienable Practices

by Robert Kocik

We could be selectively de-selected. What we think we eat, we are being eaten by.

Begin an all-inclusive listening. Include all unarising sounds. Inhale all around, breathing through your skin, bringing the breath into your bones, and exhale the breath even further and furthest and evenly into every one of your bones.

Lichen is a symbiotic organism, a composite of a fungus and an alga/or/cyanobacterium. The fungal symbiont provides structure and anchorage while the alga, the photosynthesizing symbiont, provides the food that fungi are unable to make for themselves. Fungi farm algae.

Fungus is neither plant nor animal, having diverged more than a billion years ago. Fungi grow as cylindrical threads branching from their tips into interconnected networks. Their growth can exert a mechanical force of 1200 pounds per square inch. Algae are autotrophs, not heterotrophs: producers not consumers of food. There’s no commonly accepted definition of “algae.” Algae are basically chlorophyll molecules specifically arranged around a photosystem whose core is an energy reactor.

It has proven impossible to grow lichen artificially, in a laboratory. The two would-be partners (fungus and algae/cyanobacterium) don’t socialize. Consider the phrase “impossible to carry out under laboratory conditions” as a definition of “life” and a domain of artwork. Artists becoming raw data by becoming indivisible from evolutionary selection as it happens.

Start in a position of active stillness or potential movement; not static, not flat on your back or seated as usual.

There are movements that correspond with all-inclusive listening.

Gradually assume the position of the formative space between fungi and algae by including both of their functions.

More gradually become the movement of lichen growing, growing at a rate of about one millimeter per year, and being counted among the oldest living beings.

Lichens grow in inhospitable zones; on bare rock, dead wood, exposed bone, rusted metal, plastic or living bark.

Lichen doesn’t move, it’s not mobile; growing is its movement. It can be broken off and carried elsewhere.

Move, lichen-like, as a mutual benefitting whole. Gradually dissolve who is benefitting whom.

The entire body of a lichen is called a “thallus.” For a thallus, there is no organization of tissues into organs. As a whole, the thallus is a remarkably different morphology in relation to either fungus or algae taken alone.

Lichens are miniature ecosystems, producing many hundreds of biochemical compounds.

Most lichens make antibiotics.

Apaches painted lichen on their feet in order to become invisible to their enemies. The Achomawi poisoned their arrowheads with the same lichen. The Blackfoot people drank it as medicinal tea.

Lichen has been baked into bread and used as perfume.

It’s impossible to “date” a lichen because we can’t discern when it would have started to grow together from supposedly separate parts. In fact, the fungi associated with lichen are not found alone in nature.

Lichens include many microorganisms other than the primary fungus/algae partnership. These other organisms are called “xenobionts”—rather like the microbiota lining our gut and covering our skin.

Though there are no “others.” No “xeno,” no “foreign.”

Move in a way that makes alien unimaginable.

There is no “hosting” on the part of one for another.

Lichens are the critical winter food of reindeer. Reindeer are ruminants with a specialized stomach for breaking lichen down into nutrients.

Reindeer develop as part of the lichen hologenomic community. Evolution has selected this interspecies holobiont since the last ice age.

From the land of the reindeer, there’s a Saami song known as a yoik. It has no “subject” because it is its subject. It’s not about a person, place or thing because it is the body and being of that person, place or thing. Anything it would be about, it has become. It’s mistaken to ask whether it has a beginning or end. It is nature, which is unknowable because it is innate. It’s not a circle or a cycle. It has depthsymmetry; neither a beginning nor end nor beginningless/endless.

Lichen-life is being what the other needs, as movement. To be lichen-like is to be what the other needs, by not doing anything to be so.

We come here to hear from each other what we need to hear to stay alive.

Lichen

HAVE US BE GROWING LICHEN

The sixth extinction phase

Accelerated modern human–induced species losses: Entering the sixth mass extinction (Science Advances, 19 June 2015)

Earth is entering sixth extinction phase with many species – including our own – labelled ‘the walking dead’ (The Independent, 20 June 2015)

Tutkimus: Maapallolla käynnissä uusi sukupuuttoaalto – “Tilanne hämmästyttävän paha” (yle.fi, 20 June 2015)

Humans could be among the victims of sixth ‘mass extinction’, scientists warn (ABC, 20 June 2015)

Link

16.6. Tuesday, exercises

Water/body

1. Sensing your body’s materiality. Moving, touching, breathing, staying still. Listening and sensing your body’s fluidity.
2. Welcoming water into your body. Drinking water. Sensing its materiality. Sensing how or if it affects your body.

 
Air/connection

1. Breathing. Sensing how breathing moves, affects, forms and transforms your body: movement, materiality, state of mind. Sensing how air is inhabiting your body.
2. Sensing the air surrounding you. Air pressure, temperature, water vapor, wind. Let the air around you affect your being.
3. Breathing with and for others around you. Breathing as a form of generosity.
4. Breathing as connection. Sensing the air connecting everything around you.
5. Extending your breathing further. How far can you breathe and to how far are you able to feel yourself connected through the air?

I will write short reflections on these exercises later in the comment area below.

16.6. Tuesday, exercises