Friday, February 19, 2010

Conocimiento Walk and Reflection

There are so many options about which to write this week! I think I'll share what happened on my conocimiento walk...

The very first thing I noticed upon going outside was that there is another tier of shrubbery leading down the A&L steps. I know that's nothing too remarkable but I couldn't help but be amazed that I have been going in and out of this building for quite a while and only ever noticed the trees/bushes on the top level...

After this I first noticed my immediate somatic needs, which distracted from other sensations. I was cold, hungry and tired and, in usual Chelsea-fashion, my mind started to wander and think about what I need to do in the coming three weeks. Then my mind became very aware of right then and there, but not in a conocimiento sort of a way, I started to think about how silly I might look and what might people think if they see all of us sorta just standing around on the grass. At the time I felt embarrassed that I cared so much about what these other people might think of me, but it also put into stark relief for me an aspect of my personality that I think I have been denying for a while. I can't say that I am not embarrassed now, but I do now "own it", so to say, which may help me to work on it and overcome how much emphasis or importance I can sometimes place on others' perceptions of me. It's a start at the very least.

My brain ran the whole time between somatic needs, my to do lists, and what others might think of me. In this sense, I was never fully engaged in the activity because I couldn't slow down enough to try and take in my surroundings with all of my senses. I opened my mouth to taste the air (it tasted dry to me) and I stopped to smell some flowers, but it all felt very contrived for me. I think the walk might have been more beneficial for me if it had been solitary.

One thing that is of note, though, is that it is very hard for me to literally slow my body down. I'm always in a rush and I'm always a fast walker, so the fact that I was able to slowly meander through parts of the campus was a small victory for me. It was equally fascinating to me that as we returned to A&L and got nearer I felt myself speed up. As I registered this, I forced myself to slow down but I could literally feel the urge in my thighs to speed up. I don't know if this was a Pavlovian response to the A&L building (if I'm headed there, I must be in a rush to get where ever 'there' is)? Is it what A&L represents to me? Did I want to hurry to get to class so I could leave sooner? I'm not sure.

In some ways, the walk didn't succeed in the way that it was expected. I didn't do much of taking in my environment through all of my senses. My mind wandered too much (and uncontrollably so) that my other senses never even had the chance to be engaged. But, on the other hand, it was revelatory for me in several ways that may lead to eventually being more opened to using my senses to inform my knowing of my surroundings.


  1. Interseting, I had the same thoughts about what people might think if they saw our class just wandering silently in the grassy area. I also became very aware of my surroundings but in a self-consiouss way. In addition, I thought about so many trivial things and I was a bit frustrated with myself for not reaching a "conosimiento" moment. Earlier that day I had a nice moment in that grassy area as I sat to eat my lunch but I was not able to get to that same place again in the evening.

  2. i really appreciate your honesty. i also like that you reveal that the walk did result in a certain kind of awareness, different from what was intended but still valuable.