Step Back, Move Forward
Lately, I've enjoyed observing myself from the outside as I work and move through the day. Separating self from self, paying as much attention to my actions from an external perspective as internal. It's like envisioning Viewpoints training session from a bird's eye view while inside the work, or considering the contours of the body as a whole in Alexander Technique practice. As I write, as I correspond online, as I teach or converse or listen, I can be more aware of the overall sphere when I watch myself watching the world.
I'm a person who regularly needs to hear, "Get out of your head," either from myself or others. This separating from my skin while being there is a helpful way for me to do this. It sure helps with emotional and mental clarity, and getting refocused on my current task.
I've enjoyed attending more to how I see the world, too, from this perspective. As I watch, and watch myself watching, I feel less judgement toward what happens around me. People are humans, but they are also characters, and so am I. A guy singing a collection from the Stone Temple Pilots repertoire behind me on the BART is more fascinating than annoying. A 4th grader repeatedly asking permission to do the opposite of my assigned activity in a playwriting residency is an interesting phenomenon, not a needle in my teaching or her learning. Another cohort member opening his mouth to cause disruption in class flow is data to record in brain or on page. Something to notice. That's all.
This distancing self from self, experiences and surroundings (while living within them) helps me take on my comfortable observer role as a participant. I become more of myself - an active onlooker. I feel less limited by my immediate reactions in emotion, thought and body. I am freer to create. I am more present in my relationships and daily life - just by stepping back. How refreshing. In this way, time slows down and I can better connect with what's happening.
This reminds me of another Viewpoints tool - in whatever we're doing, we can take on a micro, molecular perspective, an everyday perspective from adult human eyes, or a macro, cosmic perspective. Where am I now? And how am I seeing? The more I ask that, the easier it gets for me to step back into the creative process and begin again.
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Process notes on a work in progress (me). This mostly contains raw rough content pulled out of practice notebooks. Occasional posts also invite you into the way I work, with intermittent notes on the hows and whys on the whats I make. Less often you may also find prompts and processes I've brought to workshops, as well as surveys that help me gather material for projects. Similar earlier posts from years ago can be found on: