by Madison Asher
What’s the difference between moving through an experience and sitting the f*** down in it? I recently found myself going through some inner turmoil. It felt different. I wasn’t quite sure what the experience was and I kept asking myself, “how can I move through this?” I was sad and I realized I had very little experience with sadness. Anger – sure. Irritability – definitely. But sadness? This was new and all I wanted to do was move through it in the ways I knew how. I was relying on my brain, analyzing my way through it and tapping my mind into the arena believing it to be my most useful player on the team.
Then I considered that first question: why am I trying to move my way through an experience with my intellect when I’ve been reminded time and time again that my body knows better than my thinking mind? When you drum with us at RhythmetriX, for example, we shift from our minds into our bodies, which is why you'll notice us ask you to describe a physiological quality at the end of our sessions rather than a thought or emotion. So I considered what it would look like to sit in the sadness in this way. How could I be with it like a new guest who I’m getting to know? It takes time to get to know my new visitor, sadness, just as it takes time to get to know any new acquaintance. The quality of presence required is the same it takes to connect with anything or anyone new. How often do we allow our thinking minds to get in the way of our knowing bodies? If sadness is a feeling, then why would I approach it as a thought? The felt-sense experience – paying attention to my 5 senses and how they are when sadness is present – is precisely what will reveal the messages that sadness has to bring. We can rarely think our way through an experience meant to be felt. Can we learn to approach a feeling by leveraging our bodies with the same level of attention and care as we would approach an equation by leveraging our minds? Can we recognize when we can’t intellectualize our way through something? Once we do, perhaps we’ll spend more time sitting down right where we are, shift from thinking to feeling, and experience the fruits of that elusive concept: presence.