On Reverse Engineering “Alignment”

I have worked with lots, and lots, of people who are very skeletally “aligned” — and yet have some serious twists and kinks in their vascular, lymph and nerve, tissues.

Tends to look like: shoulder dysfunction, SI and low back vulnerability and pain, needing to “pop” or crack or adjust daily, or even hourly, to keep out of pain and “stay in alignment.”

What kind of alignment needs constant tending lest it fall apart?

Most people inhabiting this type of body dilemma have been excellent and dedicated students — and teachers — in the fitness and movement world.

{ I’ll just take a moment here to interject: it’s not my intent at all to paint any practitioner or teacher in a negative light. We’re talking about ideas, concepts, what we know to be true and how we grow.

{ Lord knows I continue to learn so, so much from other teachers, and at least once a year have a full-on revelation where I see so much of what I’ve thought was true was less true in an absolute way, but more in a contextual way … I just hadn’t seen the context.

{ So, too, with this idea of “alignment” being primarily a skeletal thing. It’s true, but only true in a very particular way. }

And so … we could really look at this kind of dilemma — aligned but in pain, and actually quite fragile (the constant tending) — as a kind of reverse engineering that’s no longer working.

I have a hard time buying into the micro-fidgeting with one’s pelvic position all the time.

What I * do * buy is that deep work — that wondrous mix of that which is physical training, emotionally battling and eventually making peace with our inner daemons, mental and intellectual clarity — tends to lead us towards a kind of bodymind inhabitance that does, indeed, appear quite aligned.

But it doesn’t happen by trying, only, to make the skeleton “stack” (which is a very limited metaphor anyway; take even a brief glance and tell me the tibia stacks on top of the bones of the talus and navicular; it most certainly does not).

It’s something else.

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2 Responses to On Reverse Engineering “Alignment”

  1. Jon Howe says:

    “Align?” As in the stars aligning? Or when tho’t aligns with feeling. And then words align with action. When desire aligns with what calls. When hope aligns with purpose. Sails align with wind. Mystery aligns with seeking. Questions align with answers (and they align with more questions). When wisdom aligns with experience. When witness aligns with beauty. Step aligns with distance. Strength aligns with weight. Attraction aligns with love. When generosity aligns with wealth. When touch aligns with healing. Sight aligns with discovery. Life aligns with the miraculous (which life is). Or change aligns with time. Infinite aligns with possible. ………

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