“What is Most Personal is Most Universal”

In reading this book at the lake, I was struck by one jazz great’s mention of Carl Roger’s eternal truths:  “what is most personal is most universal.”  The more I sat with the notion, the more it dawned on me that this idea is what drives me to write.

While I certainly see that what is closest to our hearts, we tend to have in common with others, I also see that with mental trickery, we tend to deny ourselves that which is most personal.  Giving voice through writing seems like a sensible countermove to that tendency of ours.  Why do we deny ourselves?  Is it our over appreciation of extroversion?  Is it our collective lack of intimacy?  Is it just where we are in our collective evolution, that we need to feel the lack of relationship to self in order that we realize just how essential it is to living a fulfilled life?  Or something else?  Or a combination of it all?  It doesn’t really matter, but my mind likes to come up with reasonable explanations for things.  In that exercise I gain insights into our human ways because I choose to delve under the surface to sort through an idea and link it to something in the material world.  The exercise itself is enough.  The arrival at any sense of right or wrong is not the point.  To share thoughts, to spark insights in others, that is the point.

Even more than my musings on my experience of living, I feel that my writing about my physical experiences answer the call to acknowledge the very personal because it is the most universal aspect of all:  our bodies, ourselves.  And yet such explorations are not particularly common.  Our bodies are our medium of influence and yet we take them for granted.  At least on a collective level.  So much of how we share our bodies on the social level is unappealing to me.  I’m interested in substance rather than form.  And on the social level, it seems that form is all that matters.  To give voice to the inner workings of our bodies intrigues me.  It is how I have always shared Pilates.

Every person brings their unique human experience to bear with practicing or teaching Pilates.  I chose to name this online space The Body Sleuth because I’ve come to realize that so much of how I approach Pilates has to do with body sleuthing.  I’m always curious what is happening on an internal level and why.  And as teacher I love to facilitate my client’s own internal explorations.  I used to say that Pilates was more entertaining than television because I used to teach classes after work and I figured that if folks weren’t there with me, they’d likely be on the couch.  “Don’t go home and passively meditate in front of a glowing screen, come and discover what is happening in your body, live and in person!”  Seems like a good slogan to me.

What I share here is always meant to expand out in the world beyond my own personal mental happenings.  In that way I don’t have control over it.  In spite of my limited sphere of influence, I do have a vision.  I imagine a world in which we are each more fully ourselves.  And I imagine that our relationships to our bodies and ourselves are largely supported by physical practices such as Pilates.  Toward that end I continue on with my part, sharing what I know about Pilates and the connections I see in living day to day.

It’s good to remind ourselves why we do what we do.  Especially on hard days when we question our resolve.  Thanks for reading.

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