Movement As Medicine to Thrive

We have such potential.

It’s commonly stated that we only utilize about 10% of our brain.  I’m aware that the actual figure is up for debate. I have no intention in entering the debate – I have neither the qualifications nor the interest (although who wouldn’t want to be able to use more of the gray matter?!).

I suspect there is a similar figure relative to how we use our bodies.

Moving well is less about receiving genetic gifts and more about what we do with what we have.

That statement definitely bears repeating.

Moving well is less about receiving genetic gifts                                                               and more about what we do with what we have.

I find this statement so profound, in fact, that I think I’m going to create a class focus with it. Mmmm, I’m feeling a foundational focus with shifting main foci as the month goes on. It’s a plan:

October’s Foundational Focus.

This opens up alot of possibility for those of us who will never be Olympic sprinters or gymnasts.

Hey, that really takes the pressure off and opens doors that we may never have even considered.

When puberty kicked in and my “ballerina” body disappeared, I only lasted in formal dance classes for another couple of years. The ballet dancer was replaced with the proverbial bull in the china shop! In my head, that ended my dance career. My body, emotions and spirit, though, just could not let go. I would be regularly reduced to tears watching Swan Lake or even Flashdance and I danced every dance in my room. I could not resist the remarkable grace and simmering strength and the expression!!!! I didn’t have a mirror in a place where I could watch my movements, but it really felt good. I felt graceful and as an emotional force of nature, the expression poured out.

I never looked. I still don’t watch myself dance with a couple of exceptions. One is when I’m practicing to teach. If I can’t model it, I won’t teach it until I can. The other is if my sensory experience hits continuous glitches. In other words, I’m working through a dance and I get to a move, step or pattern that stops me, hurts me or causes what feels like movement “hiccup”. If I can’t feel through it, I will observe myself go through it. Once I see it, I can usually go back to body sensation and finish clearing out whatever caused the hiccup. For me, sight is not at the top of my list of sensory tools dance/movement. Sensation is the first, then touch and hearing.

I got to keep dancing. I say that; I speak and write those words with deep reverence.

Dance is a funny thing, though, as a genre. The previous statement can also be expressed in this way: people are funny when it comes to dance.

Kids begin sports (including dance) young. Lots of kids continue to play some sport to some degree through school. Even into adulthood and “extended maturity”, some sports and some people continue the relationship. With dance, however, the weeding out process begins early. For a movement form that is awarded little respect in terms of the discipline, sheer power and overall fitness required to practice it much less perform it, dance discards its corpses quickly and in short order.

When talking with others about what I “do”, I rarely use the word “dance”. My experience has been that I am suddenly in the presence of the personification and embodiment of the “deer in the headlights”. The the lights dim and the dreaded phrase is uttered, “I can’t dance” or worse, “I can’t move like that”.  I’m nearly knocked down from the wind of the door being slammed shut.

I never hear, “I can’t play tennis”, “I can’t play volleyball” or “I can’t run” – although I have met the occasional soul who sustained a running injury that convinced them to seek out fitness or therapy in another form.

Dance? Why am I suddenly standing in a totally empty room?!?!

We can survive if we keep moving. To thrive, it has to be more than that. We are more than that.

To survive may only require the minimum. Simply move. To thrive, we must step beyond the minimum. We must to learn to connect to ourselves in a new way. Make up and great clothes cannot make up for a neglected and badly treated body. We begin to move with awareness; we start noticing how we move. Healing begins from the inside. To thrive there is more, but self-healing is the first step and the path is not clear until that first step is significantly underway.

How do we begin? With what we have.

(Photo by Daniela Paunova)

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2 thoughts on “Movement As Medicine to Thrive”

  1. I’m glad. This blog is proving to be a method for me to sort out exactly what direction to go with Movement Alchemy and what I want to offer. I appreciate your comments and all input will be helpful, Jill. Thank you.

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