Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Are you stone facing?

Stone facing is what I call it when you don't let emotions come out on your face. Some people walk around with their face on lockdown all the time. There are reasons why people do it and a few negative consequences.

Babies are wonderful to watch because you can see their emotions and reactions play out on their faces. At some point, many people find reasons to stop this from happening. Maybe the family or environment is not "safe" enough for honest emotions to be expressed. Or sometimes just living in a modern society makes it difficult or even dangerous to express natural emotion. I don't want to get bogged down here so let's just say that there are many reasons why it occurs.

Your face is the most directly connected part of your body to your emotions and the way you are feeling. Now, here is where it connects to movement and martial arts. When you are locking down the face, you are also physically clamping down on the rest of the body so that you can't move naturally. Natural movement can't occur without naturally flowing emotion.

Other effects of stone facing are social problems. It is hard to connect to people who aren't allowing their emotions to show as they are occurring. It's hard to make friends and get people to trust them. This leads to the person feeling alienated from people. When they do show emotion it can seem fake since it is tightly controlled.

Some people are photogenic and some people aren't and most people seem to have no idea why. In my experience, if you are not locking up your face, you are photogenic. If you are locking up, you probably have the same expression in every photograph you are in.

If you are stone facing, don't feel bad...most of us do it to some degree. Some ways to reconnect up are to make sure you relax your face when you are doing activities or talking to someone. Let yourself look stupid. Start making exaggerated expressions just to see how they feel. Open up and be vulnerable. Hiding your emotion doesn't keep you safe, it imprisons you away from life. Be patient though, because it will be a long process to recover from all the damage that has been done from all that locking up. (Or you might say, recovery from all the stress and pressure that makes someone lock away their emotions is not easy.)

If those aren't good enough reasons, you can't move well with a stone face so your wing chun or whatever activity you do will suffer.

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