Sometimes I think my entire life, and its purpose, is about what I call the space between. This is a space, a state, a moment characterized by relative stillness. Hence, it is a place from which something new can emerge. Old patterns, habits and inertial repetitions can pause here and something else can happen.
Visiting or having awareness of the space between can have profound healing potential. It takes us beyond the more superficial perceptual awareness we tend to engage in in our modern, western world. If you consider the internet, for example, the speed involved in shifting from one frame to another is amazing. This enables us to quickly link to all kinds of information not otherwise immediately available in our local sphere. But how do we make these links? Well, you say, we push a key or button on the screen and a new window appears. Well, yes. That’s the key. A new window appears. How do we get from one window to another? If we stopped to emerge ourselves in each technological step from one to the next, we would surely lose all of our precious speed. If we were, however, able to visit each step along the way, we would find ourselves face to face with other levels of information we normally skip past. This is the space between.
With my work on different continents, I find myself flying frequently. Sometimes I miss the deliciousness of driving from one area to another, where the sights and sounds of different neighborhoods, towns, and counties become apparent. I love the long pause involved in travel, by whatever means. I am aware, however, that there is a quality when flying over the ocean of getting on the plane in one country and getting off in another. What happened to the space between? I can create some within me by being present with my own experience and perceptions over the hours. Sometimes, the sky is clear enough to also get peeks of what exists in the space between countries. Flying over Iceland, for example, I discovered that it really is covered with ice!
Our sped up lives, however, tend to deprive us of direct communication with the richness of the spaces between. We run from one activity to another without time to pause and smell the roses between. The only way I know to access the potential of the stillness between events is to slow down enough to resonate with it. Then, it comes into view. Our perception shifts, and we enter the territory of the space between.
There are relatively simple ways to slow ourselves down and enter this important space, if we choose to. Change, as always, begins with awareness. The first step is noticing how sped up we become.
My work is all about teaching people to come into the present moment with awareness in their bodies. By slowing down and paying attention, we can learn to be able to be with the subtle changes of each moment even when we are sped up. This takes practise and intention, however. It doesn’t happen automatically. We have not been trained to have this kind of awareness. On the contrary, we have been trained to focus on the task at hand. Children must learn to stop dilly dallying and pay attention to what the adults want them to do. So much is lost along the way.
One simple way to enhance our awareness and access to the space between is through our body movement. If you bend your elbow, for example, you probably do it fairly quickly and intentionally, with the aim of getting it bent. What if you slow this process down? What if you have an intention for your elbow to become bent, without efforting to bend it? You may discover, as we do in Continuum Movement, that your arm begins to move in various directions that are not necessarily about bending. Often, in this slowed down allowing space, what naturally and spontaneously emerges, is movement characterized by spirals, fluidity and subtle rhythms or pulsations. Another important quality of this kind of movement is that it is no longer isolated from the whole. The entire body begins to participate in the movement. It may not look that any of this has to do with your goal of having your arm bent, but eventually, if you stay with it, the arm finds its way to being bent and your entire body is happy about it!
I am reminded of a comic strip I used to see in America about a family having several small children. One of them would occasionally be sent off to the shop to buy some bread or something similar. The comic frame would show the path the child took to reach the shop. It looped all over the neighbourhood, with stops at the playground to swing on the swings, time off to climb a tree or a fence, exploring a neighbour’s garden, etc. Finally, the child buys the bread and finds the way home in the same creative way. This, of course, doesn’t work if the bread is needed immediately. It does, however, feed the child’s brain and body in a way that bread can never do. Our brains and bodies are similarly nourished by taking time to be in the space between.
The space between is about being, not doing. We may have intentions there, but they must be softer than the intentions that often take us from one webpage to another. I must know this now! What if we just take a breath, feel our breath, feel our feet and settle into being with the not knowing?
This is where magic begins! This is where life begins!
Being in the space between seems to me to be the main occupation of the embryo forming in the womb. What happens between conception and birth? So much! If we are in a hurry to be born, we might miss out on the many steps of development between.
When we pause, slow down, visit the stillness of the space between, we also re-visit the immense potential of the embryonic state. Here, as we dissolve under the hard structures of our formed selves, we enter the opportunity to re-form ourselves within a new context. Rather than returning to whatever trauma or lack we may have actually experienced within the womb and our early development, we can return to the potential that time offers. It is not about being a fragile, vulnerable embryo again. It is about accessing what is possible within a fluid primordial state.
When we dissolve, we become like the embryo in that we have more direct access to our mysterious source. We begin to resonate with more essential forces and rhythms and can re-form ourselves in relation to those. We may also find ourselves in sync with more essential intentions than those evolving from a life of external pressures and conditions.
What is your intention? If you could allow yourself to slow down and meet your more essential self, to be, to float, to play, to explore...what would you find? What would you hope to find?
I believe the space between offers us what we most deeply desire. Waiting for you within the stillness...