Integrated heart

How to teach connectedness
by Matan Levkowich
Photo by Laurent Ziegler

How often do you pay attention to where are you internally before acting in the world?

I know that it is not an obvious thing for me to do. Typically I am either acting out a rational plan or that I am reacting to unintegrated emotions.

On Monday eve, I was teaching a class to the Full Contact study group. We have been meeting once a week for the past few months. The plan for the class was to teach dynamic shoulder lifts. The group is already in a good place technically and I had it in mind to do these type of materials with them. When I made the plan, I didn’t actually pay attention to where am I or how I feel today but rather followed my mind and the overall plan that I have made when I built the curriculum for this study group.

When I entered the space I had a short talk to Juli Gabor (who is teaching in the program as well). She shared that in her class, they explored for quite some time spine undulations and that the group was somewhat in a deep and sensitive place.

So in the beginning of my class I started by checking with my students where are they and how they feel. The first student that answered me simply asked me ‘How are you Matan? I am curious to know’.

Now it might sound insignificant. The type of question you can simply answer by saying ‘I am good’ and move on. But I chose to take a moment to sense myself and to answer sincerely.

Before I share the my sincere answer with you dear reader, let me take you 28h back in time…

Saturday evening, I am in the Austrian countryside, an hour drive away from my home in Vienna. I am about to start a plant medicine ceremony but somehow I feel not in place, quite disconnected from the group of people who gathered for this meeting.

During the following 12 hours, I went through one of the toughest processes I have gone with myself. I met a very deep place of loneliness within myself. A place where I doubt whether I belong, a place where I feel disconnect, unworthy of love, a place full of shame. I needed all of my courage (+ support from my friends) to face it with humility and surrender. And at the end of the process, I found again myself, I found gratitude and connectedness.

Back to the studio, I find myself taking a moment, breathing, observing what is inside. And what came out was simply the truth. I shared with my students that I am in a very sensitive place, that I had a very emotional weekend and that I feel myself much more open than how I usually am.

So I decided to drop my ambitious plan and to take inspiration from what was present in me and in the room. Instead we dived into floor material and explore the relation between spine undulations, spirals and body surfing in CI. I have taught some material that I have never taught before, found many new connections and got some very precious feedbacks and refreshing observations on few technical details, things I didn’t manage to see by myself.

And the deepest lesson for myself (beyond what I have learnt on the pedagogy of my practice) is to not forget to listen deeply to myself. As another student of mine told me several weeks ago - “when you are connected you help us to be connected as well. And if you are disconnected, you can only teach us how to be disconnected ourselves.”

Photo by: Laurent Ziegler

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