Movement and Imagination 

Barrett L. Dorko P.T.

 

I’m certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart’s affection, and the truth of the imagination.

Keats  

Our "imagination" is our ability to form an image out of something not yet fully formed around us. We must do this, we must move before we have all the facts. We put together a larger picture from small clues-we must have the courage to do this.

David Whyte  

Most of what is wrong with our patients, we will never see. I mean that what is accessible to our vision and palpatory skills is almost always a consequence of the function of structures and processes that we understand but are actually beyond the reach of our senses. This is certainly not news to any experienced clinician, but I thought I ought to say it to begin with.  

So, what do we sense, if it isn’t the problem itself? Of course, it is the surface manifestation, the remnant, the secondary consequence or the reaction to something else. When you think about it, it isn’t what we sense that forms the majority of conflict among clinicians, but rather what we think that thing represents.   

I like what Whyte says of imagination, that it has its seeds in something real, something objective and palpable, however small. Sherlock Holmes said, “To a great mind, nothing is little.” He could take a tiny clue and surmise all that was needed in order to solve his cases, and, when you think about it, so must we. In short, we need imagination, and Keats, for one, felt that such a thing actually harbored the truth. You might say that the truth about our patients often lies in something small and seemingly unimportant, and that we have to employ the methods of detection and reasoning common to someone like Holmes.  

If you want to put it poetically (always a good idea to me), you could remember that Thomas Moore says that to detect is simply to notice, although the root of the word is stronger, meaning to uncover. In his book, Original Self, he traces the word “truth” to its Greek origin, aletheia, meaning “nonforgetullness,” and says, “It is the poet who is the magical, shamanic master of remembering, who calls to mind, for our deepest benefit, the absolute, hidden secrets of our lives. The poet is a detective, and the detective a poet.” To me, the therapist who can see larger meanings in small movements is a detective, maybe even a poet of sorts.  

The connection to movement from here is most clearly made when we consider those movements that emerge uniquely and creatively from the body. These would not include the posing and posturing taught to children by a culture bent on controlling them, and certainly not in some choreographed regimen of exercise. I actually feel that the movements that really help us are our own secret (like that poetic thing I mentioned earlier). So instead I attend to the ideomotor activity constantly present as we live.  Suppressed by the culture, it’s usually pretty small, but palpable nonetheless. If we don’t mistake it for the problem (a very common mistake) but rather as the beginning of correction, we can use both our imagination and the patient’s to make it grow. All that’s required is a certainty in its truth, the courage it takes to break the traditional mold, and some faith in our imagination. 

 

 

For more information about the work of David Whyte, go to his web site http://davidwhyte.com or email: mrivers@davidwhyte.com or write Many Rivers Company PO Box 868 Langley, Washington 98260