Creative Dynamic Opposition Exercise
This is an exercise in mutual support, cooperation and healthy contact. It is a tool you can use that allows you to feel good, even in a place where differences exist. This exercise is an opportunity to communicate with another person somatically. It supports safety, and in attachment theory terms, secure attachment. Many of us as young children, even newborns, were not allowed to assert ourselves in a healthy way. In a spirit of cooperation this exercise is designed to help us develop an internal sense of what it feels like to assert ourselves and be respected and met in that assertion.
One of the necessary components of safety is the willingness to be with each other and with what is happening in the moment. This includes feelings of anger, frustration, unhappiness, and conflict. It is important that we do not go into isolation and withdraw from connection. If you need to take space, communicate this need and make a plan for re-connection. When safety and accurate reflection is present, regulation can be optimized and everyone can feel more resilient, working through challenges in present time.
Each movement has five phases: intention, preparation, action, follow through, and integration. Pair up, settle together, and then choose roles, person A and B. Person A will be the one who “pushes” and person B will be the one receiving the “push.” The intention of person A is to push into the other person, while the intention of person B is to offer just enough resistance so that potency builds and the turn person feels empowered. Creative dynamic opposition can be done in a gentle way with one hand, or with your whole body. Wait until you actually feel the impulse to push before you move into action. The key to this exercise is to build potency, not moving into action too soon and then going in to collapse, or starting out in a collapsed place and not allowing the potency to build first.
Pay attention to what happens in yourself and in relationship through each of the five phases. This exercise is a process of discovering how you feel in each part of the sequence. Many people will speed up, skip over, or get stuck at certain points. Pay attention for breaks in continuity, which from an attachment perspective, could be places of early shock or trauma.
This exercise works with the very mechanism that supports us to go beyond what we think is possible and feel able to meet life’s challenges. Optimally this happens from the prenatal period through three years old, giving children a strong felt sense of potency, access to a resourced way of meeting challenges, and without having to avoid the hard stuff.
Safety, or secure attachment, is strengthened in places of challenge. This exercise instills the feeling of being fully met, without having to use compensation patterns from the past. This exercise is about listening and communicating on the somatic and emotional levels, building potency, moving energy and feeling empowered!
Adapted from Myrna Martin