Three Fold WalkingApr 17, 2021
Threefold walking is a basic eurythmy movement. It is super important to understand not just the “how to" but the “why” we do it. When we walk around in our daily lives, we are walking with purpose. We are trying to get from point A to point B. Some of us walk very aggressively. Some of us may walk lightly and forget where we were going or what we were doing. Some of us walk and change direction 10 different times before we actually get to point B! In threefold walking, we still have point A and point B, but they are not a destination. It is a state of presence. In threefold walking we come to realize how we connect to ourselves and how we connect to the earth. The way we connect to the earth is important because here on this ground is where we make our experiences. Here we make our achievements and joys. Here we meet our trials and frustrations. It is through this type of resistance that we develop ourselves. Now let's turn our thoughts to this: when you walk, you cannot press yourself into the earth. When you walk, you greet the earth and press yourself away from it. You can only feel the earth beneath. This is an important image for us as humans living on this planet to remember. In normal daily walking, we use heel, soul = will, deed. We move forward. But eurythmic walking is much different. We want our hearts to make a connection with the earth.
So why is it called threefold walking? There are three steps within three phases. One, we perceive with our toes. Two, we roll to the balls of our feet. Three, we bring the heels of both feet down. For the three phases, we count 1, 2, 3 as we lift the foot. Then we count 1, 2, 3 as we move the foot forward. And finally 1, 2, 3 as we roll it back down. There is a fourth unspoken phase. It is when both feet are completely on the ground. We do not need to count it. We only take notice of its existence. We do not count in this phase because it has a timeless existence. We can remain here until we are ready to move. We must draw our senses downward while thinking upwardly. It is here that we let go, and prepare for the next step, no matter how long that may take.
Threefold walking looks different at each age and stage of development. The younger children are not taught all these complicated details. When we tell a story, we walk as the fairies or gnomes, being sure not to leave a mark in the woods as we walk through our story. Children in the middle grades and stages are taught directly how to threefold walk and what that should feel like, again, coming from the heart, that matching the story we are telling. Older children are taught what it should feel like and look like as you move through each step of threefold walking. As you can see, threefold walking is a lifelong process, adding to it as they grow and develop. We give to them little by little so they don't have too much to think about all at once. Giving them a little more information here and there helps them to develop the skills needed to be able to walk without even thinking about it, and walking with purpose and influence!
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