On December 14, 2015 I had the pleasure of working with the crew of PV Squared, a photovoltaic installation company based in Greenfield Massachusetts. The purpose of the workshop was to address and replace movements that can lead to injury and fatigue; to look at how break times can be used to rejuvenate the spine and, explore the relationship of spacial forces to movement and physical strength. Preceding the workshop I had spent time observing and interviewing several crews and was not surprised to hear complaints of neck and lower back pain, wrist, elbow and shoulder problems as well as sore feet. One of the reasons I was familiar with the injury and discomfort described by the crew members is that I spent the better part of 18 years as a stonemason, gardener, and arborist. I remember all too well days of not being able to get off the floor due to lower back pain, being unable to turn my head due to slipping cervical vertebrae, and the searing, knife like pain of tendinitis in my wrist and shoulder; not to mention everyday aches. I personally was able to treat and overcome much of the above mentioned trauma through my study and application of Spacial Dynamics, and finished out my career in the trades relatively unscathed.
I felt fortunate to be presenting the work of Spacial Dynamics to a group of electricians because of their knowledge of ‘current’ in regards to the flow of electricity. The Spacial Dynamics view of anatomy is very similar to electricity in that it views the body functions as ideal when the current of ‘spacial streams’ surrounding the body is not disrupted or inhibited along its course. We began with ‘knuckle wrestling’ and ‘ring wrestling’ to look at how the amount of force needed to accomplish a task is reduced when a proper carriage is achieved. We looked at possible points of energetic disruption along the postural lines of the body. We explored how, the locking of the wrist, elbows and glenoid cavity of the shoulder as well as kinking the neck is like tripping a breaker which can lead to a decrease in strength while requiring more force to accomplish a task. By now I had their attention and we explored further in an attempt to redefine the shoulder to include the entirety of the thorax and the importance of ‘grounding’ one’s physical body through the legs when applying force, as well as not including the head in these activities.
Following these lessons we looked at the role of gravity when using a forward bend to give space to the vertebral discs and lengthen the spine. This lesson also explored the importance of symmetry in relation to posture and how the simple act of standing properly during ‘break time’ can help alleviate bodily stress. The phenomenon of oppositional forces or force vector, “going down, to come up” was also explored at this time. We looked at the difference between using a stretch to nourish the skeleton apart from the muscles; during this time I also worked individually with people who had ‘flat feet’ and got some amazed looks as their arches appeared with a slight ‘lift’ from the force of levity and proper weight placement.
For our final activity we further explored oppositional forces and the role of our ‘water level’, or how we “wear the horizontal plane”, in tasks that require lifting as well as staying emotionally cool. To do so we used ‘tight wire wrestling’, a game that requires lowering the ‘water level’ to achieve stability and strength. This is always a popular activity as it easily shows how we can alter our relationship to gravity to bring ease to tasks, as well as how it is possible to inhabit the space below our feet, perhaps even all the way to the center of the Earth. To further explore this phenomenon we finished by pounding stakes into the earth and pulled them by only using the lowering of the horizontal plane, many jaws dropped as the stakes lifted out with very little physical strain.
Overall I feel the workshop was a success, the majority of the crew had experienced the phenomenon of utilizing the forces of space to increase strength while conserving energy. I am thankful for the crews willing participation and look forward to seeing them again; it is also my hope that this work can begin to serve as a model for future workshops for skilled and semi-skilled laborers in the future.