DEAR STEVE #2: A response to Steve Chinlund

Here is my response to a letter from my student Steve Chinlund about our project to bring body awareness to people inside prison – see link to Steve’s last letter here:

Dear Steve,

Yes I get it! It was interesting that the first image that came to me when I thought about what it might be like to be in prison was the image of being an animal. It raises so many issues. Including the fact that I have no idea what it’s like in prison, and that any image that arises in my imagination is going to be…..just my own fantasy, a projection of my mind etc. And that it is possible to go very wrong and just insult people whose experience I know nothing about. But then I thought well, if I might connect with even one person in prison, to let them know that somebody is thinking about them, that someone wants conditions to be better for them, that their right to feel good in their body is important to me – well, it’s worth the risk of making a mistake.

Yes – imagine your body as the body of a horse. Your own horse.

So, as for what I’m wanting in all of those parts of the body, it’s two things. First, just the simplicity of being aware of that part – where it is in space, how one senses it – neck, head, back, legs, arms, all the details of those parts of us – and then second, to have a clear intention that all of those parts relate to one another in a spacious way. That neck can free, letting head move up, back move back, legs and arms to release away from the back. Send those wishes to your body, and observe how your body responds.

Even without knowing anatomy, exactly what the bones look like, or where the joints actually are (which we call “body mapping”) I believe that the body will respond to our imagination in a positive way. It’s been proven actually that the nervous system does not distinguish between real and imagined events. So that is a good beginning. I will have to write it all up for you! Can’t wait to hear what you think.

Much love,


June 11th, 2012 • No Comments

Movement Meditation for Prisoners 2: dialogue with Steve Chinlund

This letter is a response to my first blog post:

Dear Clare,

I love your message to my guys! The tone is just right – respectful, caring interested and searching. Very Clare.

I think one more point may be needed. The guys – (especially, but women too) are terribly sensitive about being compared to animals. In your blog, I think it is all of our bodies that you are comparing to the frightened horse. Especially after War Horse, people are extra sensitive to the “human” dimensions of horses, so for most people there is no problem, but for people inside prison it would probably be good to lean on the point one more time: MY BODY is my frightened horse. We all have bodies; we all have frightened horses.

Also, can you say more about what you want to happen in all those body parts you mentioned?

I would love to bring some copies of this inside with me the next time I visit.

Much love,


June 5th, 2012 • 1 Comment