The flattening of our political space into left and right is well established. It’s an easy way to count views and default to the average: that arid clearance of acceptability. It has always left me uneasy. Like out of all the magnificent space we move within, we somehow thought it was a good idea to pipe our humanity into a single vector.
From the earliest days in the womb we organise ourselves around a centre, the beginnings of our spine: it’s called the primitive streak. The primitive streak. It’s visceral. And from our earliest moments after birth we are under the spell of gravity, referencing the ground below and the heavens above. We can reach up only so far as we have the core strength to yield – not collapse – into the earth. And likewise, in our political space, the most powerful visions are grounded in an intimacy with the present reality.
Fling your arms open and bare yourself to the world. Hold yourself close and nourish your inner voice. We are continually pulsing along the breadth of our bodies. Out of balance, we veer between bracing against the world or collapsing in hollowness. It’s not difficult to see this interplay in our politics at the moment. Spluttering abstract notions of sovereignty cannot replace the gift of a singular voice emerging from a knowledge and love for who we really are as a country.
We generally live in the front of our bodies, tightening up through the tummy in forward eagerness, yet forgetting the easy magnificence lingering in our spines, longing to propel us forward. And so too are we the lever between past generations and those of the future, both stretching out unfathomably behind and in front of us. Resting back into our ancestral history – all of it – gives us the strength to walk towards our grandchildren’s grandchildren with integrity.
We root to rise; go in to go out; tip back to surge forward. These are not binaries, but integral to each other – impossible without the other. A centre doesn’t constrain but creates movement: when you walk, your weight is continually shifting in a dynamic equilibrium between the back foot and the front foot. Balance is not about being static but about being capable of being in relationship with whatever shows up. At our edges, we have no where to go; from our centre, we are spacious in the moment.
How far is our politics from this fulsome centre? If our politics were an actual body, what would it look like? Where would it be heavy, where would it be light? Where would its centre lie? Where would it want to move next?
To engage with the concepts above in your own body, try this 10 minute centering exercise.