We are so familiar with the phrase, “walking in someone else’s shoes.” Last week, in an IA4L exploratory workshop we attempted to match the posture and pattern of walking of another person, and then had them attempt to do the same. I personally found it so fascinating and difficult. Having quite short legs myself, a 28”inseam on a tall day, I was paired with a partner with long legs and a slight heel, while I was barefoot. She felt restrained by attempting to match my stride behind me. I found I could not have my hips move like hers and match her stride. I also could not determine where her foot really would strike within the confines of the shoe. We don’t often consider that, the articulation of the foot against the ground, how this moves up the knee joint, to our hips, and how our core, spine, and shoulders absorb this impact and move our bodies. So much of who we are and how we exist in this world, we have unconsciously developed, and yet the primacy of cognition in learning persists.
A major aim of these workshops is become more aware of ourselves through forming and fine tuning relational connections to others in and through movement. This focus dispels the Cartesian divide, the sense of compartmentalization between mind and body or self and other. Often in sports we compete against each other, and we respond to one another in that capacity, so we have developed how to be adversarial, but not so much a sense of relational sensitivity, attunement to one another. How do we have a kinesthetic sense of self that is responsive to another, in an immersive experience? How would our lives be transformed if this was a common experience, rather than isolated and infrequent? How could this affect how we inter-act with each other in each moment? How would it affect how we “read” and respond to the people we come across in a day? In this way we took a common idiomatic metaphor and played with the effects of living it. For me, I find it deeply meaningful to cognitively, kinesthetically, and emotionally ponder how our postural alignment and way of moving through the world affects our experience and understanding of it.