Pre-Conference Masterclass: What is our art of being within our doing? @AoMO2022

Paul King is an explorer of places inside and out. He is co-founder of The Beyond Partnership a leading-edge people development consultancy. He has been working as a coach and consultant for more than 35 years. He particularly known for his work with the body-mind and integral approaches, connecting personal development to larger system change. He currently delivers embodiment-based workshops and coaching across Europe. www.thebeyondpartnership.co.uk

This three hour masterclass will explore how the ancient soft-martial arts can help us explore our inner experiences of self and centre.

The deeper activated narrative of humanity at the moment is increasingly one of uncertainty, volatility, disconnection, separation, fracture and opposition. This current narrative both reflects, and is reflected in, our own embodied patterns of stress, armouring, ‘over-efforting’, tension, and feelings of inadequacy and scarcity. Tight in body and mind we can lose meaningful connection to our inner sensitivity, to each other and to the world around us. Habituated over time this can become to feel normal and therefore not actively present in our consciousness.

In such a way, the foundational human aesthetic of sensing and moving, inherent in our design, is compromised by modern life. We are ‘bent out of shape’, struggling in the midst of our nervous system’s pull between its drive to keep us safe, which often leads to a sense of separation, and its drive for connection.

Greater creativity and freedom are enabled when we shift from being contracted, separated and oppositional to being open, energetically extended and inclusive. With all our hope and fears, our visions and goals, how do we show up and meet the world. What is our art of being within our doing?

This is explored within the ancient traditions of martial arts, and particularly through the experience of centre. This is especially true of the ‘soft’ martial arts such a tai chi (ji) and aikido, founded on relational interdependence not opposition. Tai chi is perhaps more correctly named as tai ji.  ‘Tai’ represents the person, open and present. ‘Chi’ is universal life force. ‘Ji’ is the relationship of integrated complimentary opposites, in Taoist terms, yin-yang. Through moving awareness, and the practice of centring, we learn and explore these forces that shape us and our relationships with others and the world.

Centre is not a fixed state but a process. Centring we learn to resourcefully engage in the ebb and flow of life. We centre, not so much inside ourselves but within the context we are in. From centre we raise our ability to effectively respond with presence, confidence, and compassion even under difficult, challenging or stressful situations.

The quest for work-life balance might be better explored in the deeper enquiry into yin-yang balance. Yang – ‘masculine’, strive-drive, grasping, accumulation, imposing. Yin – ‘feminine’, receptivity, listening, letting go, opening, empathy.

We tend to over-effort, overly focus on content and procedure and forget the means where-by, we focus on surface and form and lose feel and the relational dimensions of life. The creative complimentary pairing of yin-yang comes together harmonically in the concept of wu-wei which, roughly translated, means ‘doing by not doing’. This is not an advocation for passivity but for intending and allowing, for appropriately trusting and sometimes controlling. Like the best athletes we seek how to relax inside activity.

Embodied awareness asks us to be honest with ourselves, how we are now, how we are relating and how we are creatively engaging with the fundamental patterns of life.

To participate in this masterclass please contact Paul directly at paul@thebeyondpartnership.co.uk.

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