Quotidian Mapping - The world in a bucket.

Pauline moves me, literally moves me as she sweeps through "her floors" of the building.

Sometimes we end up in a dance around each other, me asking questions and Pauline paying heed to the time and tide of her shift and the rhythm of her routine keeps moving as she answers.

There is particular order to Pauline's daily movements, a deft efficiency that lends what she does a particular ritual like rhythm. 

There is something reassuring about knowing I will see Pauline, she was one of the first people I met when I started my residency. Pauline enables the Daysh building to tick along the way it does. That ticking along, that ever present work of maintenance and care that Pauline  puts into the fabric of the building interests me. Pauline opens up a social space as well as maintaining the physical aspects of rooms and corridors. The ease and competence of her movement, her embodied knowledge of the territory she moves through gives an informality and a welcome to what is quite a formal "straight" laced kind of  building where social interaction is not always easy;  long corridors, many small offices with closed doors and titles. Here be  " Doctors" and "Professors" and maybe a few dragons!! (only joshing)

Pauline goes about her work, sweeping, gliding, rubbing, wiping, carrying, maintaining and activating the spaces, readying them and always  combining this with a greeting, a smile, a nod. She seems to know everyone. The ease and competence of her movements seem to lend a similar ease and competence to how she inhabits the social sphere, she makes me feel very welcome in this place....the  ticking rhythm of everyday familiarity like a heart beat...it is reassuring....

It is an expression of sanity to be so intimately acquainted to your activity itself that you can allow a broom to sweep you as you sweep the broom
— Darlene Cohen 

Pauline's movements have an innate sense of timing. She knows where to be and when, she sees things that I don't because she knows the territory from inhabiting it. She reads a room and negotiates a path. Her movements are purposeful yet easeful she embodies embodiment in this building where mobility and embodiment are  studied and researched. The ease and efficiency of her work manifest also in her curation of the social space, she makes it open and friendly, she smooths the social sphere. Pauline manifests Sattva or balance....she as at ease with what she does, how she does it and why...

"It's all fine to me. The chemicals have changed and the hoovers. You come for the company and to work for the money, there are some good day and bad days.
The people in the offices I clean do something in geography. Geography is land, building, water, fieldwork, trips out. I am part of the staff of geography.....part of the University cleaning staff"

I tell Pauline that she is part of not only the Geography staff but that what she does is part of a particular  consideration of geography ... the movement of people through spaces. I also tell her that I think she is a dancer, moving with purpose with efficiency, and with ease and intention. She is part of the "place ballet" of the Daysh.

Pauline's deftness and ease within the physical and social realm have caused me to consider  the remarkable, tangible effects of work that quietly maintains people and places. A yogi's benchmark for daily practice is this:

Practice becomes firmly grounded when well attended to for a long time without break and in all earnestness
— (Patanjali, Pada 1:14)

Pauline manifests a purposefulness and a sense of meditative "alrightness" which ripples through the building and is a fundamental part of geography in so many ways.

In one of the offices  I encounter a globe. Within the body the "globe" of our skull pivots delicately on the aptly named atlas. The atlas with it's mobility and particularities of form is able to support and move the weight of our heavy heads. Small movements and on going support/maintenance are necessary for integration and balance within structures. Institutions buildings and bodies are a mix of interdependent movements and relationships...we all balance each other.

I was delighted to be able to take these thoughts and musings into a body mapping workshop which I will blog about later and in which we explored at some length the concept of how we find balance through support.

Thanks to Pauline for letting me tag along and for taking time in her busy schedule to chat.

LeverhulmePaula Turner