You've Got the Right Street ( and some strong directions)

  • 8 minute read
  • Reflections on my time in the lab last week and Colorado adventures
  • Discounts on my On Demand classes!
  • Updates on July classes

What I’ve learned from my time in the anatomy lab is that every time, the lessons I take away are as applicable to life as they are to dissection. This was my fourth time coming , which means I kind of know my way around ( both the lab and the human body) and Jules Mitchell ( my teacher) had reached out to me ahead of time asking if I’d take a particular body as that table needed someone with more experience to help guide the first timers.

Everyone in Jules’s classes comes in with their own strong background of knowledge. Just because someone has never held a scalpel before doesn’t mean they don’t have their own wealth of experience that they’re bringing to the table and in truth, those of us who are put in the positions of “leaders” don’t have much to offer than the fact that we have a better hunch about what lies ahead. Every body is different, and there are no wrong decisions, only choices that require a commitment.

As in life, every decision you make requires that you remove another option. Some are low stakes : like changing lanes on a freeway, or buying tickets to a concert. Easily reversible, and ultimately having little impact on your life. Others are more impactful, like the choice to begin or end a relationship, or enrolling in a course that may impact the direction of your career. Some, like having children, we aren’t even aware of as the initial change is made, but once you choose to carry the pregnancy to term, you effectively have cut off the life you led before becoming a parent, and that decision will forever alter your destiny.

And that’s been the lesson that I’ve taken from this lab. Every decision is a commitment, and it comes with the elimination of other options. Sometimes the decision leads to where you wanted to go, and other times you wind up going in another direction. Either way, the choices you made brought you there and all there is to do is be present, and ultimately, you must remove what is there in order to reveal what is coming next.

Allow me to walk you through highlights from this past week, viewed from this lens of decision making:

  • On the first day of the lab ( Tuesday) , I learned from a fellow student that Diana Ross was playing Red Rocks Amphitheater on Thursday night. Now I have a long standing pact with my soul that when I have the opportunity to see one of the greats before they leave this earth, I am supposed to take it. So I bought a ticket, sacrificing a future good sleep in order to add to my vault of epic memories.

Fast forward to Thursday:

  • I woke up and exchanged my morning workout for packing in advance, readying myself for a late night return that wouldn’t be so conducive to my early morning check out on Friday.

There were a lot of things on my to-do list, including filming a short video celebrating one of my teachers, Debra Rose.

After packing, I searched around for an appropriate backdrop downtown Colorado Springs to shoot the video, but was unsuccessful, and chose to punt that task forward, sacrificing the opportunity to check something important off my list for the choice to arrive with some breathing room before the lab began.

Day 3 in the lab ( Thursday) is always my favorite. It’s the day we get to do the eviscerations. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, evisceration refers to the removal of the internal organs. But before that happens, there is the revealing of these sacred organs, or as Gil Hedley refers to them, the “ artifacts of our existence”. For me, this experience is sacred. You get to meet the entities inside of you that literally give you life. So different in quality and texture than the muscles - the “Rock Stars” of anatomical focus - given so much of our attention, and glorified in our versions of the “ideal” human body, the organs live inside of our abdominal walls- protected by the bony armor of our pelvis and ribcage, and living an existence that in my opinion resembles more the rhythm and texture of Sea Life than the dynamic form of human movement that is so embodied by muscular body.

  • I was fortunate enough to do TWO eviscerations that day. Assisting in the morning on a big man we chose to call “ Santa”, I walked the familiar territory of slicing through the peritoneum, separating out the Omentum ( the helpful “ fat apron” that protects our internal organs by acting as it’s own kind of organ, removing toxins, lubricating, and filling space where necessary), tying off the large intestine, and finally separating the digestive system from the diaphragm, which requires precise attention to the direction of your scalpel blade. One errant cut will destroy the diaphragm entirely, removing what is an important lesson for any student who pays attention to the role of breath in movement.

The trade-off for this lesson? I had to leave the table where I had been assigned, and had been carefully working on separating out the nerves of the Brachial plexus, following them through the upper arm to where they disappeared into the nest of the elbow on our tiny donor, a woman who we’d nicknamed “Flo”.

  • In the afternoon, I returned to Flo’s table and led our group in the process of revealing the artifacts of HER existence. Very different in size and resilience to Santa, Flo presented a different set of challenges. And unfortunately, as I was separating her liver from the diaphragm, I made a mistake and sliced through the left side of her diaphragm. All was not lost though, as in the end we removed her right lung with that side of the diaphragm intact beneath it, and her heart accessible through the vena cava beneath, revealing a slew of fascinating lessons as we inflated and deflated her left lung outside of her body while comparing it with the right lung which we could view from the inferior aspect of her ribcage.

There are no mistakes, only different decisions, leading to different lessons. And in the end, it’s how we learn from those lessons that stays with us throughout our lives.

  • After class, I chose to make a stop at the Garden of the Gods. I seem to wind up at that natural monument to greatness that so resembles massive human figures after every evisceration day in the lab. But this time, it was to shoot that video for Debra Rose. And the sacrifice was that I would miss the first 30 minutes of Diana Ross. So the choice was made, and I committed to it.

  • Unfamiliar with Colorado highways, I navigated the 90 minute drive as best I could following the directions of my phone. Committing to lane changes where I believed the choices would bring me closer to an amphitheater I had never been to before as the sun set and I navigated in darkness.

  • Once I hit the parking lot, I texted my friend Brian, who works the sound at Red Rocks as well as other venues in Denver. He gave me some instructions and I decided to follow them even when the crowds were being directed in different ways. These choices led me backstage, where I dropped his name and walked through unfamiliar doors, with no clear instructions as to where to go next.

  • Choosing to follow the music, I quickly arrived at a dark area beside the stage were I had a back/side view of Diana Ross and her band. I settled in beside some sound equipment and quickly began to enjoy the show, forgetting about the necessary sacrifice I’d made of dinner until my stomach reminded me about the protein bar I’d stashed in my backpack ( good job past me !)

  • Suddenly, the stage was being cleared. The tech crew had made the decision to pause the performance because winds were picking up and the light rain that was misting the audience was turning into a full blown downpour.

  • I , and all the band members, took cover further inside the backstage area to await further instructions. Pausing the musical journey in favor of safety in the face of uncontrollable nature.

  • In what resembled a concrete bunker, I found myself perched on a railing beside a friendly black man and we struck up a conversation. Tony and I talked about road trips, decisions, how “ the things you own begin to own you” and why life in California is the best. I invited him up to Carmel if he ever decided to take a road trip up the coast from LA, and then the band was called back onstage. The final set of Diana’s show was as epic as you could imagine. In particular, her rendition of “ I Will Survive” delivered in the face of a storm, surrounded by that gorgeous natural amphitheater that was formed by decisions made by nature eons ago.

  • Driving home, I contemplated the day to come. Using my time in the car to weigh out different options and possibilities. Playing out potential scenarios and finally settling on a schedule that would sacrifice my final afternoon in the lab, but ensure that I made my flight out of Denver that night and open up the opportunity to take a longer hike in the Garden of the Gods.

I’m finishing up this email to you from my balcony in a hotel in Albuequerque, where I’m attending a conference and leading some wellness/movement classes. It’s been a whirlwind this week and consequently I was not able to film you a short movement video for your Sunday morning. So instead, I’m offering you the option of renting as many videos as you like from my ( extensive) On Demand class library at 50% off this week. Just use the code Supreme at checkout. You have 30 days to watch any video, and it’s good for 72 hours after you press play.

Also, please enjoy these two short clips : moments from Diana Ross's concert, shot from my perch on the soundbox back stage, and a brief narrative of my lessons learned in the lab, narrated while hiking in the Garden of the Gods.

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Vibes for All is filling up! Class price raises to $100 on 07/01 and registration closes on 07/05.

Registration opens soon for the Gyrotonic “Progression 7 Sessions”. This learning experience offers 7 “On Demand” classes available from the moment you sign up until 12/31/24 as well as 3 live online intensives in July, August and September. It’s a deep dive into the advanced exercises of the Gyrotonic Level 1 curriculum that will vastly expand your understanding and execution of this powerful work.

Your choice to sign up for either class will transform your professional acumen. An exchange of your time and money for expanded reach, and the ability to share your knowledge with a broader range of students at every level of ability.

Pay attention to your decisions this week. Take note of what you choose to sacrifice as much as what you choose to embrace.

These are the movements that direct the course of our lives and define who we are.

Talk soon,

Domini Anne

Domini Anne

• I help people fully inhabit their bodies and guide teachers to do the same • Get access to exclusive videos, articles and teachings from Domini Anne

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