Sidewalk Café Observations - Emotional Centres
at a city sidewalk café, is an excellent way to watch the world
walk by. It is also
an excellent way for an actor, writer or artist to study the
personalities of scores of individuals.
A cup of hot chocolate, a rich curiosity and a leisurely
attitude is all it takes to absorb and learn.
example, here are the initial results from a thirty-minute
relaxation at a favourite inner city café.
There was no need to take a book, for there were so many
books of information walking all around me.
first step in an afternoon of character analysis, is witnessing
the variation on the walking techniques of each individual.
Men walk from their knees.
Women walk from their hips.
They also walk from their emotional centre.
for Bigger Things
is a man in his 30’s, looking determined and brave.
He has his arms bowed out, spaced at an almost comical
distance from his body. He is projecting a palpable need for personal space, way
beyond the limits of the folk walking by him.
He emits the strong psychic odour of a man doing a job that
he finds disgusting. He walks from his knees, and his stomach.
body language makes him an easy target for instant personality
emotional centre is obvious.
This man spends his days in wide, open spaces.
He could be a Marlboro commercial.
He is dressed appropriately for the city but he obviously
from the country. He’s
not used to the congestion, or the dirt, or the over-abundance of
humanity. He’s a long way from home.
I can’t help but wonder what his walk is like when he’s
back on the land ... when he’s safe.
a little more complex is the man in his sixties, walking with
stiffness down his entire right side. It is a small defect but it resonates throughout his entire
It could be a simple physiological concern, but all
physiological concerns start in the emotions, so it’s back to
the same question. Why?
theorise. The right
side of the body is referred to in eastern medicine as the
‘masculine’ or ‘yang’ side of the body.
Could something have happened to damage this man’s
masculinity? Has it
been constricted, limited in some way?
How? Why? When did it
daydream. Did he work
for a big, uncaring company?
Did they demand their healthy male specimens be less than
men? Did they insist he say ‘ Yes’, while those muscles on his
male side tightened with his unvoiced “No”?
Is his physical tension their fault?
Or maybe his unvoiced battle is with his father, or his
wife! There’s a
story in his tension. His
emotional centre seems to be in his throat, but the trauma and
restrictions in his throat have travelled down his right side.
story will have to wait. A young waiter is now coming towards my table.
Walking from his knees … and from his crutch.
His attitude is openly displayed for all to see.
His attitude is not for me.
It is for everyone. He
is almost strutting.
grandmother with her young granddaughter dashes in front of him,
determined to hide from a disastrous day. Grannie and grandchild have already thrown their emotional
centres into the future comfort of the chairs and tables of the
open-air café. They
must reach safety. Nothing
the young genital-driven waiter is easily distracted.
My table has disappeared from his notice and no longer
exists. He has new
prey. He pounces on
the middle-aged woman as soon as she claims her seat. He devours her final piece of calmness by requesting her
Straw Too Many
picks up the menu. She
is still wearing the shocked look of the battle-weary.
She pretends to cope, but she is not coping.
Her granddaughter picks her nose.
Grandma stares at the menu.
testosterone in the young waiter blends with his meagre patience,
frothing over into an overwhelming desire to exit.
He mutters something unheard by anyone but his own
frustration. He lets
his knees, and genitals, guide him somewhere more interesting than
continue to watch grandma. She appears emotionally frozen.
Her granddaughter is hiding all cuteness inside her
refuses to notice. Grandma
is unaware of anything but the words in front of her nose.
She has a job to do, and she’s going to do it!
hasn’t realised her aproned inquisitor has abandoned her.
She lowers the oversized menu, to find him gone!
She looks up at empty space.
A sense of isolation and helplessness come flooding from
her. She has made her
choices … and nobody cares.
there’s a flurry of activity on the footpath.
A flock of teenage girls are chattering and interweaving
their hip-driven walks. They
are almost dancing with the excitement of being together, and
being forever young.
is difficult to tell where their attitude centres are based.
Their combined energies have so blended that their entire
bodies are involved in their walk and talk.
Their giggles send waves of happiness to all the patrons of
the café. It’s
possible I am the only person who notices, but everyone is still
blessed with their bountiful energy.
is another waiter. He
is walking from the knees, and from the heart.
His face is pocked. Each
mark shows a lesson in compassion.
He has learnt a lot. His
face is a palette of previous pain.
Yet he is handsome. It’s
something to do with the eyes.
They are loving eyes.
His eyes have accepted his fate.
He is comfortable with who he has become.
He walks from his knees, and from his heart.
He walks to the grandmother.
has had time to settle. Grandma is smiling. Her
granddaughter has stopped picking her nose.
Grandma is promising milkshakes and cakes. Grandma and granddaughter have stopped hating their day in
the city. They are
anticipating a special treat.
They are enjoying themselves.
young, heart-driven waiter arrives at their small table, and
immediately bends those male-driven knees.
He squats, and becomes the same height as the little girl.
Grandma assumes an autocratic air.
She will be heard!
relaxes with the realisation she is safe with this new waiter.
He seems to care about the choices she has made.
He even openly approves.
The little girl giggles and repeats the order to him.
He accepts their mutual commands with equal respect.
waiter, in the manner of a personal butler, stands to his full
height and gives Grandma a little nod. Grandma may not know it yet, but the heart-driven waiter has
just made her day.
With Crown and Cape
would like to see Grandma and grandchild walking together once the
good cheer of their café visit has settled into their bones, but
I’ve finished my drink and it’s time for me to display my
emotional centre. I’m
aware that no one is noticing me as stand with all the dignity of
my long distant training.
like royalty, and you are royalty.”
I still remember the strength in our dancing instructor’s
stance as he said those words so many years ago. The
words made an impact on me. They
still make an impact.
changed the entire concept, of course.
We were instructed to feel the trappings of nobility upon
our body. I didn’t
enjoy that thought. I
was born by the sea. I
like less clothing, not more.
Imaging myself crowned, with a rich cloak around my
shoulders, was far too weighty a dream for me.
So I changed the crown and the cloak into Pure Light.
I picture sparkling white light flowing out of my head and
shoulders like a fountain. It
makes me feel buoyant and graceful.
My husband says I float.
I float out of the sidewalk café.
No one realises I am leaving.
No one notices. No one cares. No
one can see where I keep my emotional centre.
B. A. Llewellyn
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