This picture not only shows my new affinity for ballet (which may be a subconscious attraction because all the vampire books I’ve been reading pay special attention to graceful movement or maybe I just want to be a girly limber ballerina. This is Rudolf Nureyev by the way, I’m a little obsessed with Russia at the moment too), but it also fits in perfectly with today’s subject from a chapter of The Fourfold Path to Healing (Thomas S. Cowan): movement. I was kind of surprised to see this in a health book (but this is not your ordinary book), but once I read it, it made complete sense (plus it was in harmony with my spiritual thoughts as well, so be warned I may throw some inspired tangents in there). After I read:
The way we move is dictated by how we feel.
That is so true and so then, we can change the way we feel or possibly think just by changing the way we move. When we throw our shoulders back and tilt our chins up, instantly a wave of confidence can shower over us. Or the opposite, I know with myself when my confidence is lacking, I’m not feeling good about myself, or my eating is bad I roll in on myself trying to hide myself. My shoulders stoop and become rounded. I look defeated, thus I feel defeated, but by throwing them back and holding my head high, my thoughts really do change. When you look at illness or disease, each one has their own associated gestures, so movement is a pretty powerful driving force, that I don’t think we often utilize or consider. We always think of health as a state of being, but Cowan has thoroughly convinced me that it is a dynamic. It is a constant process of change and balance. It is a delicate system, symptom being mere signs that we are unaligned. When we suppress and don’t let symptom run their course, is when we get into a whole. We stray from wholeness, because health comes from the word ‘whole’. All we’re looking for is to feel complete, and to do that we need to strive for this balance. Another piece to this whole puzzle, is movement. Friendly movements can put us towards the path of wholeness and health. That is freaking cool (at least to me, but then I research for fun so my entertainment factor is questionable). Furthering my interest, was this idea that we ourselves have created. This self-sufficiency that we’ll do as my nephew Trenton says, “I do it myself.” I know I fall into this category, headstrong to teach myself, trial-and-error, taking all the pressure to complete tasks rather than delegate. When dad ask me how my eating is going. Fine I got it under control, our pride and egos getting in the way, striving forward alone to man our one-man-show. We’re really missing the boat because part of a healthy living is a vibrant interaction with the environment, synergy if you will. What does Cowan says this ‘free will’ is doing? Compartmentalizing our physical selves and disconnecting us from our fellow beings. He then goes in to talk about the soul (part of the emotional body). Do you know what the soul’s major movement is? Ah, interest (hmm… fascinating). Isn’t bored an adjective readily thrown around today? And not just by kids, I hear it all the time: I’m bored with my eating (more specifically I’m bored with eggs), I’m bored with the exercise. Boredom frequently turns into an excuse (fear) for us to quite something, perpetually blaming our shortcomings on boredom. Moving on to the next trend until we get bored again. We’ve done this to ourselves (I’ll tone the harshness because much of this is unconsciously and through conditioning). Gone our the days of storytelling, drawing, painting, dancing, music, hand clapping games, true play, and singing songs that create interest. We have created and live in a two-dimensional world of TV and computer screens. Talking through texts and computers, this has all taken away from our synergy as well and made us easily bored. We’ve lost some of our imagination. Part of creating movement and grace is visualization, but this goes beyond the traditional imagination realm of just seeing. We’ve got to use all of our senses. You know touch, sound, etc. Movements are a balance of gravity and levity (something rarely thought of, but it is gravity’s counterpart that is infinite and cannot be measured-pretty awesome), just like with healthy eating we have to balance hormones. The problem we often face with moving is that we anticipate. We skip the process, thinking about the end product (like how with weight loss we so often focus on the end weight and look rather than the steps that get us there). We are going through the motion (which on consequentially awkward and counterproductive). I see it all the time in the gym, and then people will use that bored word again. They just want to do it. That is why when I’m with my dad we say that we are practicing the art of strength. Yes movement is an art, think back to the poised dancer. So strength too is an art. When I am doing an exercise-let’s say squat press-I’m thinking of the entire thing, but my brain clicks through different steps. I take the time to be mindful and feel present in each motion. I have to say I have a beautiful squat press, so does my father and besides that is the only exercise besides juggling that he practices so the word bored really doesn’t fly with us. Each practice session is an opportunity to improve, to focus on breathing here, squeezing tighter, just to focus in general. It truly is an art, not just something that we do, therefore we can develop skill and finesse. Breathing, really, that too? Especially that, even the smallest movement create counter-movement. You need the still moments of pause between inhaling and exhaling, as well as the active moments of an in-breath and the out-breath. Rhythmical breathing can release tension and created renewed energy (wow, pretty cool). Just changing a movement isn’t necessarily going to make you happy all of a sudden, but by changing the gesture you can create a different emotion. You can therefore, have them exist side by side, and move your attention toward the gestures that elicit the a fresh perspective. Cowan says,
“Every time you create a space, you have created a world.”
Of course just standing straighter isn’t going to cure cancer, but taking into consideration movement as part of your dynamic health is a plus. Hope you enjoyed, more coming this week!