About the moving Cycle

Historical Context – Christine Caldwell, the Founder

Originally designed as a form of movement-based psychotherapy, and often taught from this perspective, the Moving Cycle can nonetheless be adapted to many different disciplines.

Blending Moving Cycle principles and techniques into your particular discipline creates an organic platform from which to navigate your work in the world in a more ‘bodyful’ way.

Historical Context – Christine Caldwell, the Founder… continued

The Moving Cycle’s genetic ancestry came from the Los Angeles area, where from 1970 to 1976 I took my BA in Anthropology and my MA in Dance Therapy (DT) at UCLA, while also training in the LA Gestalt Institute, and beginning to train in a movement education and bodywork form called Aston-Patterning. This cauldron of teachings, along with the zeitgeist of LA in the early 70’s, formed many of my basic values and therapeutic principles, from a deep appreciation of culture and ethnicity to the healing power of the creative movement process, and to the psychological effects of bodywork. From the age of 18 I received and learned physical, emotional, and psychological therapy techniques in an interwoven manner, techniques that I could see were bound up in sociocultural contexts.

In the late 1970’s, however, after two years as a dance therapist in a state mental hospital in rural Maryland, I began to question my orientation as a clinician. When I began contemplating this feeling, I realized that I could be inspired by the nature of physical healing as it occurs ongoingly in the body, without any external help. It struck me that the healing process may be akin to watching a cut on my finger heal; an ordered process occurs even without my attending to it. Why not model therapy on the ways that the body naturally and automatically heals itself?

Thus began a four-year observation project that accelerated tremendously when in 1980 I moved to Boulder, Colorado and began teaching at Naropa University, a Buddhist-inspired college that invited me to begin a Dance/Movement Therapy Department for them. By serendipitously landing at an institution that valued and taught meditative and contemplative practices, I began to develop witnessing skills that tapped into wisdom traditions thousands of years old. I began to study with a Buddhist teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, who is renown for his work for social justice. It was in this womb that the Moving Cycle gestated.

As I observed my students and clients, I came to see that the natural processes I was witnessing were not confined to healing, but were also the same sequences that supported growth, creativity, evolution, and transformation. Nature does not seem to separate healing from growth and creativity, but puts them on a continuum. I and my students developed the Moving Cycle work as a way to describe and then teach what I was learning from watching natural healing and organic movement in the individual.

Moving Cycle Description

The Moving Cycle training courses ask participants to blend their moving body’s capabilities with their thinking, feeling, and sensing.

We work together in groups of 10 to 20, practicing the essentials of Moving Cycle sessions, and applying them to various populations.

As a trainee you are supported to adapt this work to your own professional practice, whether as a therapist, a teacher, or an artist.

Moving Cycle Description… continued

Based in contemplative, phenomenological, and humanistic traditions, the Moving Cycle is premised on the observation that adaptive motion promotes healing, from a cellular to an organismic level. These motions take place in four stages, which build on each other to identify, repair, and integrate conscious movement experiences. The first stage is Awareness, where symptoms (most often experienced as sensations) work to get our attention. Learning to pay high quality, non-judgmental attention to our body forms the first phase.

Second is Owning, where our sensate focus, coupled with an openness to associations that emerge (images, sounds, words, emotions, and memories), generates responsive movement impulses that can be supported and sequenced. Taking ownership of our present moment, embodied experience through moving it consciously accesses stored resources within us, and can over time re-establish a feeling of empowered wholeness based on direct experiences of being able to act on what we are experiencing. Accomplishing this heralds the third stage, Appreciation. When we access inner resources and move with them we tend to feel more whole, complete, and satisfied. Satisfaction and the completion of old patterns can actually feel disorienting, and special attention to how our body can integrate positive states forms the basis of this third phase. The fourth phase is Action. This phase helps us to negotiate our movement processes as they occur in daily events and relationships, often in the context of practicing them with our facilitator, as well as taking time to apply session events to daily living. It also helps us to embody our calls to activism, in whatever shape that might take.

The Moving Cycle, though an ordered sequence, is individual to each person in each situation. We are all on many Moving Cycles in our lifetime, some which take moments to complete and others that will take our entire lifetime. Within it, we are accessing our core nature more than the history of our experiences.

The Moving Cycle uses several techniques to “fuel” each of the four phases. The first is breath. Balancing ones breathing literally gives the body enough energy to support and enjoy our feelings and actions. Our next form of fuel is sensory awareness, a staple of many healing traditions. Tracking my current body states in a non-analytical way can be seen as a form of data gathering from parts of myself that hold important information for healing and creativity. The third form of fuel is movement itself. Whether it is the motion of breathing, heartbeating, brain waving, or running across the floor, movement separates that which is alive from that which is not alive. In a Moving Cycle session, finding the organic impulses of the body to move forms the heart of healing and empowerment. Lastly, the Moving Cycle uses the power of an attuned and interactive body-to-body relationship with the facilitator as a way to hold and care for emerging states, and as a way to pair our ongoing experiences to our ability to navigate our relationships.

The Moving Cycle can directly and quickly access our core issues, and puts us on the path of healing. You do not have to be in a certain physical shape to do it. All abilities are welcome. The Moving Cycle continues to reveal itself to us and to shape itself within changing sociopolitical contexts. I hope and trust that students who train in it and clients who experience it will continue to shape it according to their own experiences. In some respects, this Cycle should feel simple and obvious to anyone practicing it, taken for granted like the healing of a cut on ones finger.

The Moving Cycle Institute

The Moving Cycle speaks to and embraces our body’s intelligence, its creativity, and its resources.

By allowing our moving body to express its stories and engage with creative impulses, we access our inherent capacity to heal, to learn, and to innovate.

The Moving Cycle Institute … continued

The Moving Cycle Institute works to promote the understanding of movement as it relates to our health, wellbeing, and conscious evolution, and to promote movement-based practices that bring these into being. To serve this purpose, the Moving Cycle Institute (MCI) specializes in three areas.

First, we offer individual, couples, and group counseling. These sessions work therapeutically and creatively to recover flexibility and choice in ones physical structure, emotional life, thinking, and connection with all life.

Second, the Institute presents workshops and classes in various areas of interest, such as addictions recovery, play and pleasure, and birth and death issues.

Finally, the MCI trains people through its Apprenticeship Program, emphasizing the theory and skills of movement as they apply to ones chosen field.

The members of the Institute teach and promote movement on the physical, emotional, cognitive, and spiritual levels, and so serve people who would like to develop in any of these areas. People who tend to find this work the most useful are therapists, counselors, educators, bodyworkers, artists, and scientists.

Professional Applications

For Clients

Moving Cycle (MC) sessions unlock our body’s intelligence, its creativity, and its resources. By allowing our moving body to express its stories, we access our inherent capacity to heal, to learn, and to innovate.

Many clients use MC sessions as a form of psychotherapy that can then be applied to a variety of pursuits. Sessions involve inner explorations as well as attuned relational experiences with the facilitator, and loosely follow four phases:

  • Awareness – Paying attention to ones present moment, physical states, and seeing them as signals and metaphors for further exploration.
  • Owning – Engaging with ones current body states by allowing associations to emerge and finding how they want to move you. Carefully supporting these movements as they emerge as body narratives, or ‘non-verbal stories that heal.’
  • Appreciation – Feeling the inner coherency that can result when we consciously sequence our body stories, and taking time to integrate this increased ‘embodied wholeness’.
  • Action – Taking time to make the events of the session applicable to our daily life, through practicing elements of our body stories within the context of daily events and relationships.

In all MC sessions, the overarching themes of understanding our body’s capacity to solve problems and live creatively (called body authority), as well as our body’s ability to directly navigate the complexities of relationships is valued and practiced.

For Bodyworkers

Practitioners who use touch and somatic education benefit from the MC Training through learning the nuances of the relationship between physical behavior, neuromuscular patterns, emotional processes, and metacognitive states.

Trainees learn how to combine touch with emotional and movement processing, as well as how to help thinking and speaking cooperate with moving, sensing, breathing, and relating. In these ways bodywork, within its scope of practice, can hold a more holistic frame.

For Artists

Making art involves a widening and deepening of perception, an openness to novel and paradoxical experiences, and a quest to express in ways that experientially engage people who witness it. The MC Training teaches these processes, through the lived experiences of our moving bodies.

Creativity emerges when felt experiences are allowed to form from non-ordinary states, states that are cultivated through practices and disciplines involving high quality attention, engaging with material from the unconscious, holding and caring for novel elements in ones conscious presence, and applying self-experiences to wider applications in the world.

For Therapists

Most therapists are trained in some version of ‘the talking cure,’ where talking about things creates insight. While thinking about and talking about ones problems can be immensely useful, this top down strategy can be limited in its ability to change behavior.

By integrating a more bottom up approach through the lived experiences of the body, the client gains resources for change that are not accessible otherwise. The training helps the practitioner gracefully help a client to transition from talking about their experience to having experiences directly, ones that create therapeutic outcomes.

Participants learn to support non-verbal body narratives, which often hold our unprocessed emotional and psychological patterns.

For Educators

Education is optimized when the learner is present, focused, stable, and caring. Teachers know that these qualities are strongly influenced by the atmosphere created in the classroom, as well as the emotional regulation of each student and their teacher.

The MC Training works in detail with our ability to pay high quality attention, as well as our openness to input and the involvement of the body in learning outcomes. In many ways what happens in therapy is a type of learning – experiential learning – and this ability to learn can be effectively enhanced and applied in classrooms.

In addition, the MC Training studies the overlap between what it means to be a therapist with what it means to be an educator, from a somatic perspective.

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