Last Sunday, I reached follower number 10. I thought: “Let’s celebrate and be thankful for my readers as well as have a bit of fun”. What it was meant to be a short post with a fun video got me thinking about moving and movement.
Looking back at my life, I have been quite inactive. Action is not one of my strong points. It is an area in which I have more damage. In my journey towards health and healing, I realised at some point the importance of movement. You miss what you don’t have. It is only when we lose something that we appreciate it.
I went to the gym for a full year. I used to go swimming. I went to Pilates and yoga; I did tai chi and long walks. Given the choice, I would rather go up the stairs than get a lift. So I wouldn’t say I didn’t move at all but I spent long periods sitting down. I also have a tendency to inaction; I take a long time to make decisions.
We do exercise a few times a week in the best of cases. But most of the social and day-to-day activities happen while we are sitting.
Last year, I was watching a video about this whole movement sweeping New York called Circuit of Change. It looked intensive and fun at the same time. The woman in the video had a t-shirt that read:
Movement will heal you
That caught my attention and I repeated that sentence in my mind for weeks. I pondered about it. I already knew the importance of physically moving in dealing with the energies you have inside, the blockages and the resistance.
A few years ago, I consulted April Danann, a nutritionist/energy healer who introduced me to how energy works in the body.
In order to get movement in your life you need to physically move. If you want to get rid of blockages or any energy in the body you are working through at the time, you need to move.
April designed the five-minute challenge. It consists of exercising 5 minutes of every hour, in an attempt to move throughout the day rather than three times a week.
Thanks to her, I bought a mini trampoline and started jumping. I still haven’t mastered the 5 minutes in every hour but the trampoline permanently reminds me with its presence just to jump, to move. Once I start, I may do something else.
Another reminder I have is Jump for Joy, a lithograph by Katherine Van Uytrecht, that I bought in an art gallery in Temple bar, Dublin.
“Jump for joy” is one of those English expressions I love. It’s my constant reminder to not only move but to jump, and to jump with joy, the same way we used to jump when we were children, splashing in the poodles, completely carefree, abandon to the energy of your body, before we cared if people were looking at us. It is a joy to be able to move, to jump after being in pain for years. I really appreciate the ability of being able to move now: the joy of movement.
Three years ago, I attended some belly dancing classes. The teacher commented how she knew somebody who had healed her little complaints through shaking. So now, I incorporate shaking as a fun way to move and to let my body move whatever way it feels like, a tribute to childlike silliness, if you wish. Every time I do it, a children’s song comes to my mind: “Shake it all about.”
As I was thinking about writing this post, I realised how inactive we are as a society. The individual is reflected in the group: A collection of inactive individuals.
How is it that we are so hindered to take action in our lives?
I think it starts right after birth. We have babies strapped in pushchairs to go out, seats in the car, feeding chairs and the list goes on. How long does a baby spend sitting or in some kind of restricted mobility devices such as playpens, bouncers and walkers?
I was very aware with my baby not to restrict her in her movements as much as I could bear it and to allow her to move as much as she wanted.
Babies move naturally; they want to explore, touch everything, feel and taste everything, they crawl, walk and climb. That doesn’t make our job as parents easy; trying to keep them out of harm’s way.
I know I say a lot “stop quiet, be quiet”. My granny used to say to us: “It looks like you have ants in your pants”.
Her natural tendency is to move, not to be sitting at the table and, when she does sit, I observe how she sits: sometimes, she sits the normal way but often she squats or hunkers down. These are not poses she has learnt from us but rather natural ways of moving her body.
We go to school where we are made to sit for most of the day. I spent my childhood sitting down from 9-5, with a half an hour break where we used to run around and do all sorts of physical exercise. Between 1:30-3:00 we would get the bus to go home and eat; then, back to school.
At university, the tendency for sitting down for long periods got worse. I spent the morning attending classes and studying in the afternoon. I remember spending summers studying away, instead of being out and about as I used to, going to the beach, swimming and long walks.
As part of my discoveries looking to return my body to health I remember being amazed when I learned that
our bodies are designed to move
we are designed to move
Our Paleolithic ancestors walked long distances in search for food, hunting, running and climbing.
By contrast, what do we do?
What are the major activities we engage in?
We get up in the morning and we sit for breakfast, we sit in the car or the bus for a couple of hours, we sit down at the office, sit down for a meal at lunch and in the car or bus again, then, for dinner. We go to the cinema, the theatre, and sit, we attend all kinds of sporting events, sit and watch how somebody else is exercising, pushing themselves to the limit and beating world records. We go for a coffee and sit. We stay at home and sit to watch TV or in front of computers, laptops, tablets and phones.
No wonder we have back problems. Back pain is one of the most common health problems in the western world.
Our bodies are designed to move
I think it starts with physically restraining the body; we get accustomed not to move as much as we can, we are told not to. We live in a society in which we spend our days sitting down as the primary activity.
It is also a confidence issue. If your self-esteem has been chipped away you are not going to be as confident trying new things, moving along in your life. We continually second guessed ourselves, doubting ourselves.
How many times have we been told we are wrong?
We don’t follow our guts, our intuition. Soon, we stop listening to the whisper inside ourselves that keeps us safe, and we listened to the voices around us, that think they know better, because we have to; we need to survive in that environment, so we look for approval, trying to please. The approval never comes and we spend our lives living for other people’s opinions.
I remember listening to Jada Pinkett Smith in Oprah talking about confidence. She told the story of how she was really confident in secondary school; she knew she was talented. She said we develop confidence by doing.
We develop confidence by doing
Scott Dinsmore in his movement website Live your Legend mentions in some post that in order to find your passions you need to learn and experiment. I realised I have been learning but not so much experimenting.
So if we never do things, make things, create things, try new things, travel, experience and experiment, then we cannot be confident. We don’t have good self-esteem because it is only by doing we realise how much we can do and how far we can go. Next time, you aim farther, reach a bit higher, you accomplish more, and you feel better about yourself, your abilities and your accomplishments.
I know I was always hindered from doing from a young age by fear; my parents’ fear that I would fall or something bad happened, fear about the world; the world being a dangerous place.
Fear stops us from doing, it paralyses us. It operates not only in our lives, but in our bodies. It creates blockages, stiffness, inflexibility and tightness; it creates all kinds of illnesses.
What fears do you carry? Whose fears are those?
Fear is all around us in the societies we live in. Fear stops us in our tracks. It is in direct opposition to the whispers of our hearts. If we want to get rid of fear, we need to start moving: moving physically, individually and collectively.
This is to say thank you to all the people who have read my words.
If anything I learn from my asthanga yoga teachers is this:
anything is possible
I say to myself every time (well, maybe not every time) I hear myself talking, thinking, feeling self-imposed limitations of what I perceive as my reality: anything is possible.
You never know where
your first mark will take you.
Dare to make your mark.
There is nothing in a caterpillar
that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.
R. Buckminster Fuller
Check out this inspiring story of how and why Circuit of Change started, particularly for entrepreneurs and people trying to make a difference.