As I sit quietly (for a change), I notice my shoulders are not symmetrical. Perhaps it’s not obvious to a casual observer, but suddenly I’m acutely aware that my left shoulder is curled slightly forward, causing my upper torso to rotate slightly to the right. This creates a different feeling in my right and left sit bones. Or is it the position of the sit bones that’s causing my shoulder to move forward? Chicken or egg, I’m in a disorganized pattern.
Curious, I begin to play with moving my shoulder. A little more forward. No problem. As I start to move the shoulder back, it starts to make some crazy little jumps, as if it doesn’t know how to go back. Or is scared to explore that territory. Or is just stubborn. I notice I’m holding my breath and tensing my eyebrows. I pause.
Now what could possibly make my shoulder act this way? Was it that fateful yoga class 15 years ago when I tried to prove that I could do as many jump backs as a 28 year old and ended injuring my rotator cuff? Perhaps my left shoulder habit is even older, caught in a partial version of startle reflex from growing up with a wildly unpredictable father. As I continue moving my shoulder, other images appear. Years of playing the accordion, my left hand wrapped around the side trying to find the right chord out of the 120 buttons as the left arm pulled and pushed the bellows. The way I hold a shovel. At this point, my left shoulder’s slightly forward tilt is in everything that I do. For a moment, I am my left shoulder. How my left shoulder organizes the rest of me is like the story of my life.
I try a different movement, gently raising and lowering my shoulder. Then I connect the points. Up, back, down, forward. Reverse. Things feel different, though I can’t exactly say how. And then I know what it is. My right shoulder is jealous J.
Here’s a short recording of an Awareness Through Movement sequence that explores this shoulder movement. You can apply the same principle to your hips, your pelvis, your feet, your head. So take a moment and notice, what part of you is telling a story right now?