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The Present Moment

October 25, 2008

“Training ourselves to feel the present is like an acquired taste. Our first experiences of the present may not be so palatable. But as we keep tasting the present, over time we begin to like all aspects, including the simplicity, the bitterness, and the richness. Who knows, maybe the present will become our favorite flavor.”

The present moment did, in fact, become my favorite flavor while reading Wendy Palmer’s The Intuitive Body: Discovering the Wisdom of Conscious Embodiment and Aikido. Like a cup of lemon sorbet on a hot summer afternoon, it captured my attention and muted my wandering thoughts. I swallowed it down in gracious heaps and, while disappointed to finish it, rested content with the memory. Palmer’s book is, after all, not like all of the others urging us to accept the present moment, utilizing vapid step-by-step instructions and stale insight—which of course triggers our antsy, preoccupied natures! Rather, her book feels like a training session with a compassionate, empathetic teacher who uses colorful anecdotes and capturing metaphors. For example, rather than describing our general mental state as merely “scattered,” Palmer elaborates:

“It is as if we are in a room with a gigantic, Technicolor movie screen controlled by our neuroses and below the screen is a tiny black-and-white television showing our centering practice. Both are competing for our attention.  It is hard to watch that little television when the large, bright screen can so easily distract us.”

In addition to her engaging metaphors—another being the river which is our consciousness—The Intuitive Body flows with a quiet ease, guiding us gently from a discussion on the body and the mind to the wisdom which arises from present awareness and, finally, to embodied action. Like a skilled kayaking instructor, she teaches first the physical technique, then the strategy which must exist in our minds, and finally releases us into the river once the two have converged. Then, without thinking, we know what to do.

Should we happen to forget…Wendy has provided us with bullet point instructions, which neatly review all of the concepts she has taught us. At the end of the book, one finds concise descriptions complete with diagrams and drawings.  Paste them to your wall and you’ll be reminded to return to her book (and your embodied self) again and again!

This post was written by our intern, Cassidy. Thanks Cassidy!

CLICK HERE to learn more about The Intuitive Body
CLICK HERE to check out Wendy Palmer’s website
CLICK HERE for a list of upcoming workshops with Wendy Palmer

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