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  • Gabriela Moreira

Archaic Human

The body against the ground. The weight of gravity acting against muscles, bones, cells. Silence creates emptiness from the inside out. Speed changes. Time slows down. What is time? What makes a minute last an eternity or a minute go by so fast that you already want the next minute?

A human being in front of me. A circle around me. Three other pairs next to me, moving. I feel in my own body. I inhabit every cell. This is strange for me, to inhabit my body, completly. Most of the time, it is like being in a train station and each passing train I put a part of my body into. On one I put my heart. On another my ears, on another my arms. The trains go in different directions and when I realize, my presence is completely fragmented. There is nothing left for this body. For the here and now. Time has become eternity.

Facing this human being, between the seconds that pass, something is different. At this very moment, I am not entering parts of myself on different trains. I am here. I am entire. I am in the now. Present. I feel the cells of my body vibrating. Alive, I feel connected to myself. As if I am plugging my attention inside my own body, in my center. I can feel my breath. I can feel that weight of gravity. I can feel the subtle sounds. I can taste my tongue, hear the sound of my own heart. I feel the touch of my hair on my skin. I see the lashes of my eyes in a brief blink. Wow. I am here. Alive. Life pulsing in all directions.

I close my wrists. I am ready. My partner closes his wrists at the same time. We look into each other's eyes. In their eyes I experience Love. As in the green of the forest, I am Gaia. We close our fists, bump our hands. We seal a commitment: "I connect with me, I connect with you", "I don't hurt myself, I don't hurt you". With closed fists still touching, I feel the skin, the warmth, the strength. I push, he pushes. We create a new gravity: our bodies.

The game is to put his shoulders on the ground for 3 seconds and vice versa, no points. In the first layer of perception we have opposite goals, however this is just the platform, the stage. The scene that takes place on that stage is: Connection. We are gravity. Time ceases to exist. The mind is silent. It is only the here and now. We move. Tumbling, spinning. We dance. We fight. Force and care, contraction and expansion, slow, fast. Without any movement technique. Just being. Instinct (and that word can have several additional connotations, such as violence, aggression, and whatever else comes on your mental screen. Here I use Instinct as 'presence with what is. Being what is wanted and needed at every moment').

I have no idea how long we stayed in that experience. All I could perceive was the sweat on our bodies, the cells vibrating, the state of presence, of flow, connection, ecstasy.

The facilitator asks us to slowly move into the final ritual: Appreciation. I approach my partner. We smile and cry at the same time. Communication beyond words. We hug each other. We appreciate each other without a spoken word. Through intention, hands, eyes, body, he appreciates my curiosity during that experience, the caring, the fun and the state of openness and presence. I appreciate his ability to propose and listen to the body, the strength, the curiosity for the next movement, the navigation into the unknown. We say goodbye. We return to the big circle.

PlayFight. This was one of the experiences that I lived through and that I tried to put into words here. Something that went through my being and deeply touched me, because I could dive into experiential reality. It was not in the realm of words, 100% non-verbal. I never imagined that it was possible to have this level of connection with a human being of the opposite sex without any kind of sexual intent or manipulation or invasion going on.

In this PlayFight immersion I participated in December in Italy, it was evident how over the years, in modern culture, I have learned to disconnect from my physical body, to disconnect from instinct. From the animal being in me. How I learned that the body is dirty, that contact is dangerous, that touch is a sin. Physical contact became a commodity. Touch became synonymous with sex, interest, seduction, sin.

The most archaic, natural and pure of human beings has been distorted, buried, devalued, marginalized. Looking into each other's eyes, hugging, listening, showing affection, expressing, moving the body. Where is the humanity? Where is the archaic and animal in the human being (it may even seem paradoxical at a first moment)?

Using force and body-to-body contact to create non-sexual intimacy is most often seen as strange. Even in physical body oriented and more open minded practices like yoga, meditation and dance it is not easy to find spaces where wrestling along with affection is welcomed and practiced. Even children, who naturally use play/fighting with their bodies to develop body awareness, explore boundaries, delimit limits, and respect others' limits are forbidden to do so.

I have experiment with several body practices in search of connecting more with my own body and with other people. In these experimentations, within yoga, martial arts, dance, soccer, swimming, frisbee, volleyball I started to realize how easily I was seduced by technique. How to do it? Which technique to use to get a better result? I believed for a long time that the door to have a better experience was to have more technique, more knowledge (in different areas of my life). To have a better result for what purpose?

Very often we are not willing to learn from our own life, from our own experience. We block the instinct, the connection. The instinct and the connection are already here, they always have been. But, yet, we put blocks in place for the purpose of survival during our childhood (reactivity, unconscious confusion, denial, resentment...). And we often try to 'fix' this with more techniques, more concepts, more talk, more mind.

However, techniques depersonalize. Technique turns life into business, the body into a tool, people into mechanics or machine operators. The use of techniques does not help wake up a sleeping person, on the contrary, it reinforces the principles that make this person sleepy. The main challenge is to get back in touch with survival strategies so that it ceases to be the autonomous governing factor in our functioning, moment by moment.

One of the most effective ways I have experienced so far to do this is through experiential reality. It is through instinct, through intuition, through the body, through feeling.

You don't follow instinct with your mind. Following instinct is not a matter of seeing signs in front of you and knowing where to go. Following instinct means 'being what is wanted and needed in every moment', that is being connected with reality. It's about thinning the wall between you and reality, between you and the other. This is what I could experience in this PlayFight.

PlayFight is a non-verbal physical practice that integrates physical, mental, emotional, and energetic body and creates a safe container, through play and movement, to experience connection with yourself and the other. And it is in this experience of connection between oneself and the other, while each has opposing goals, that we have the opportunity to experience, in the body, the survival blocks that come into this path. From this, there is the possibility of making contact with these blocks, feeling the pain, and reconnecting.

To learn more about this practice, go to And if you don't want to know, but want to try it, I invite you to the next circles that I will facilitate in Brazil:

  • February 18 and 25 in Goiânia

  • March 5th in São Paulo

  • April in Florianópolis

To sign up, send me a message here.

With Love and Adventure,

Unfolding Essence Gabriela

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