Ever wonder if you are on the right path in your life?
Has your path led you straight to your destination – or has it been curvy?
In these past Autumnal Equinox Walks, we brought awareness to your orientation: orientation to the path, orientation to the changing seasons, and orientation to the solar system. Maybe, by bringing awareness to your body and of yourself in space, you can begin to develop your own inner GPS (global positioning system). It’s sort of funny, but by being in relation to something other than ourselves, bigger or smaller, we can begin to orient ourselves.
Develop this awareness and you will find a better sense of who you are.
The Feldenkrais® – Awareness Through Movement® perspective
Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais, pioneer in movement education and in understanding humans’ need for inner direction and well being, would always point to how one finds orientation in space and in oneself.
He would ask seemingly simple questions:
- Where is up?
- Where is down?
- Where is the sound you are hearing coming from?
- How far is the wall from you?
These seemingly simple questions have a huge effect on your sense of self and on your self-organization and daily activities. Dr. Feldenkrais was actually helping our brains, our neurology, to wake up its own GPS.
When you bring awareness to how you move, you are not only bringing awareness to where you are in space but where you are in space.
How it works
There is a region deep within the brain called the hippocampus. This seahorse-shaped structure forms cognitive “maps” of environments. These “maps” are a kind of 3D / spatial memory known as place cells.
A husband and wife team of neuroscientists discovered that even before these place cells begin firing, neighboring grid cells fire in ways that help the brain encode different spatial routes and points in the environment. This is your built-in GPS and your brain is actively working to orient the body to its surroundings!
The foundational work on place cells was done by John O’Keefe in the 1970s.
May-Britt & Edvard Moser received the 2014 Nobel Prize in Medicine for discovering the brain’s navigation system. You may find out more about their work here.
Contemplations moving forward
- As you traverse your path over the course of this Autumn, how do you orient yourself?
- Does walking in nature (in the morning or at any time) help you know yourself?
- Does bringing awareness to the pattern of how your feet meet the earth help you feel more at home in yourself?
- Does softening your eyes as you gaze over the meadow lift your spirits?
I hope this new research and your morning Sunrise Walks help to bring awareness and meaning to your steps.
I would love to know how you find a deeper sense of yourself on or off the path.