First thought in EVERY great class or workshop I’ve ever taken.
Sometimes I’m smiling. Sometimes I’m laughing nervously. Sometimes I’m shaking my head, rolling my eyes, looking around the room deeply confused. And most of the time I can feel something in the pit of my stomach that tells me I’m in for a wild ride and I’m ALL in (mostly…usually).
No matter what, those words always lead to something memorable and usually more than that, inspiring and meaningful.
This is why Momentum Fest…
To be with people and ourselves in new ways, to push the edges, be a little (or a lot) uncomfortable, physically challenged, maybe even (hopefully) a little mentally and emotionally challenged, for sure lit up, expanded, opened, and set ablaze. Being with people does this. Movement does this. Celebration does this.
But let’s talk about me for a minute 🙂
I know who I am because of you. Likewise, you know who you are because of me. Not necessarily in the long view, who I am entirely as a person forever and ever, but in the “this moment” view. We’ll use the language “present moment” because what else is there…really?
When you and I are in a room together, especially when we’re face-to-face, you change my physiologically and I change yours. You see my eyes and my smile and maybe there’s something familiar there. You smile back and feel yourself drop into a deeper sense of ease, you open, feel safe, get curious.
Maybe we hug (I’m a hugger) or I touch your shoulder while asking you about how you came to be interested in this class (mine are the ones that will definitely make you say What is happening!? — in a very good way). Your body decides whether or not you feel safe.
You’re nervous system is responding to my voice, my facial expressions, my touch, my body language. A smile, a comforting touch, a soothing voice, an open (but not too open) posture, all of these things communicate to you that you can relax.
So many of us — and honestly I’m tempted to say most of us — are living from the opposite view. We interact more meaningfully with the our tech than people. And let me be clear because I know we spend lots of quality time with our families and dear ones, but how many spontaneous and passing meaningful moments do you have with acquaintances or people who simply help you get your life done (think bank teller, crossing guard, grocery checker, barista, the person sitting next to you on the plane?).
We don’t look up. We don’t look around. We don’t see faces or smile at strangers. We spend a lot of our attention shifting environments and interactions, trying to keep all the balls in the air. This level of output keeps us in a nervous system high rev. Stuck, let’s say, in the fight, flight or freeze mechanism in a very deeply rooted way.
When life is like this — and all of life feels like this — we create a bubble of safety around ourselves, to preserve what energy and attention we have left and need (this being the perception not necessarily the truth). Even when we go to a yoga class or Pilates class we’re often not truly in relationship with others, which prevents us with being in relationship to ourselves.
One of my favorite things to say to my classes (generally as I’m having them walk in Radom patterns around the room) is:
“Make eye contact, smile at someone. In here you don’t get to pretend like you’re the only one in the room.”
And we do. Unknowingly. We do. We forget that we know ourselves and the beauty and joy of life through others; through the language of others (books), through the eyes of others (art), through the touch of others (movement and intimacy) and through the presence of others (relationship).
This is why Momentum Fest.
To move. To explore. To tap into potential you never knew you had or haven’t touched in a while. To smile at someone and recognize that they’re here to experience joy too. They’re at Momentum Fest for that, but they’re also just ALIVE for that.
Looking forward to being a human in a room with you.
Chantill is a movement explorer, educator, and mentor and has made a 20-year career teaching Pilates; it still makes her smile. Her work focuses on teaching from the whole-person and whole-body perspective, drawing from brain-based learning frameworks, motivation and communication science, somatic and humanistic psychology, and other emerging models such as the polyvagal theory. Chantill is the founder of the education company, Skillful Teaching, the creator of the Thinking Pilates Podcast and author of the book “Moving Beyond Technique”. She is also the creator of one of Pilates Metrics’ original movement libraries and a featured presenter for Fusion Pilates EDU. Chantill lives and teaches in Sacramento, CA.