Sometimes You Just Have To Hang

I need a nap.

Seriously, I need to balance the movement patterns in my body and a drowsy nap during which I drift in and out of sleep would be perfect.

The Four Movement Patterns

Betsy Wetzig has developed ways of working with four basic movement patterns that reflect underlying neuromuscular tensions in our bodies. The four patterns are Hang, Shape, Swing, and Thrust.

Just hanging out

  • Hang: This is the go with the flow pattern, the hang out and see what is going on approach. Psychologically, hangers look for experiential understanding from within and take in a gestalt impression rather than specific details. To experience the Hang movement pattern, try some smooth and slow movements and follow the impulses of your body.
  • Shape: This is the organizer pattern. Hatha yoga postures are classic shaping movements.
  • Swing: Swing is about ebb and flow, back and forth, finding balance in movement. Psychologically, swinging is collaborative, taking turns.
  • Thrust: The driving pattern: pushing forward, goal oriented. Kicking and throwing are thrusting movements.

Each of us can use all the movement patterns, but we tend to get into body grooves, habitual approaches. The warm-up for almost every InterPlay event uses gentle practices to encourage us to play with all the patterns. These practices enable us to stretch ourselves in a safe, easy environment, and, eventually, to break our habits by choice at times.

Playing with the patterns regularly also helps us attune our body awareness so we can sense when we are out of balance and know what our body needs to get into balance.

A Body Out of Balance

For example, as I am preparing my house for sale now, I am using three of the movement patterns heavily.

  • Swing: Collaboration with my husband and my kids is an ongoing process, heightened now by the stress of changing our environment.
  • Shape: My husband and I are busy shaping our house, clearing clutter and boxing things up to create the image we want to present to potential buyers. Moving furniture, folding laundry, and putting toys where they belong are all shaping activities.
  • Thrust: All of the activity associated with preparing the house for sale is goal-oriented. Forward motion must be maintained.

There is a distinct lack of time for chilling, hanging out, seeing what’s going on, and responding to an impulse in the moment.

As my body craves the opportunity to Hang, I am reminded of The Complete Wisdom of Hangers from Susan Main, Leslie Warren, and Randy Newswanger.

  1. Being is enough.
  2. You don’t have to accomplish anything.
  3. You probably won’t change.
  4. Let Thrusters have their way.
  5. Whatever.
  6. Speed in overrated.
  7. Transformation is overrated.
  8. Alarm clocks are an evil tool of the Military-Industrial complex.
  9. A day without a nap is a wasted day.
  10. You can’t understand easy focus until you’ve tried no focus at all.
  11. Eat chocolate daily.
  12. Walk….Stop….Lie down.

I need more Hang in my life. Is there one of these movement patterns that you could play with in your life that might bring you more balance?


Posted on November 11, 2011, in Creativity, Daily Life, Interplay, Play, This Writing Life and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Terrific post, Kate!

    I didn’t know about the Four Movement Patterns until this moment. As I read them, the part that really popped out was “Psychologically, hangers look for experiential understanding from within and take in a gestalt impression rather than specific details.” This is how I see the world . . . but it’s very hard to explain to my husband when I’m lacking in the details his engineer mind prefers. I have an emotional impression of them inside of me, but that’s very hard to put into words. I just “know.”

    Thrust is one of my most habitual patterns. I just took a week off and did non-Thrust things and it was so hard to come back. I’m still trying to crank back up to Thrust so I can get something done. Reading the Hang list you posted at the end doesn’t help. I wannna Hang! (great list, by the way)

    Best of luck with your house! I really hope that works out for you. And that the place you move to after that has a great balance of movements for you. :~)

    • Kate Arms-Roberts

      Thanks, Milli.

      The new place has a lot more land, so I’m looking forward to being outdoors more.

      Hang is my most comfortable pattern and I get burned out if I don’t honour that enough. And getting back into Thrusting or Shaping is really hard for me if I haven’t taken enough time to refresh myself properly.

      Parenting a lot of small children requires much Shaping and Thrusting but I find it a lot more fun if I make time to Hang and Swing with the kids.

      I think the fact that I am writing backstory rather than a proper first draft for NaNoWriMo is that I need to hang out with the writing rather than thrusting through narrative.


      • Kate, very cool to hear that the new place has more land for you to hang in. I hope there will be some photos in due time.

        Best of luck with the backstory for your NaNoWriMo novel. That actually sounds pretty fun to me – less pressure than the main story because it’s all just about the exploration. Not sure if the reality is like that for you, but I hope so.

  2. Great post, Kate. I need to hang today. I’ve been working my way through a Harry & David gift basket I received today, and have confirmed two things about myself I think I already knew: 1) I have no willpower. 2) My sugar crashes are far worse than they used to be. If I hang from a tree in my yard I’ll make sure it’s an extra think one. Not the time of year I’m looking to do tree trimming.

    • Kate Arms-Roberts

      Patrick, I feel for you. I have never had any willpower when faced with anything from Harry & David.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: