Embracing Nature

I’m having the pleasure of playing with how I wish to brand what I do. Happily, I am finally Do-ing what I am. Apparently it is critical that I define myself. Defining myself is something that I’ve  been resisting as I have found that exercise to be limiting. Now, it seems, business people tell me I must find some verbiage to describe this thing I do. In less than a paragraph!

I love to Move! No? Not specific enough? I love to Move ALOT!!!

Alchemy speaks to change, transformation and for change or transformation there must be a catalyst…

Learning a new language as an adult can be challenging. It can often feel awkward, be embarrassing and feel thoroughly frustrating when the word desired cannot be enticed from memory or is simply not yet in the vocabulary.

The above is pretty much how I feel when I speak all the time – in English.  I am far more comfortable communicating through my body. That doesn’t mean I avoid speaking. I am aware that I am able to communicate with something closer to impeccability if I can move.

As a child I would take a failing grade on an assignment rather than speak in front of the class. In college and beyond, I took public speaking classes and actor’s workshops – to no avail. In each situation we were given clear and repeated instruction not to move while speaking. Being that I would rather move than speak, it’s not a wonder that verbal communication did not become more comfortable.

Like I said in an earlier post, my earliest memory is a sensation. My connection to my body has been strong my entire life. I moved all the time as a child. I liked speed and grace. When puberty kicked in, my familiar body became very unfamiliar. I easily weighed 40 pounds more than I do now. My brain didn’t get it right away, so I approached movement as though I was in my former body. I didn’t receive speed and grace. I couldn’t get off the ground so I was slow and I didn’t understand how to move this new self and grace wasn’t happening either.

At 18 I was introduced to body building and my body got to play with new toys. This was the first glimpse I got of “mind-body” work; I thought about the muscles I wanted to change and it happen. Like an eager child, my nervous system drank in the sensory information. I didn’t know what was expected of my body, but my trainers (Olympic power lifter trainer and a physical therapy student) were delighted.

In the beginning the sensations were fresh and fun. The stronger I got, the more my body changed and the lighter I felt. I felt quick, sleek and elegant in a foreign way.

Then, my trainers shifted gears and wanted me to compete. In one word, the fun, the pleasure, the lightness was gone. I was sleek and elegant, why – how could this body compete in body building? The sense I had of my body from the inside was not quite the same as the external reality. Uh hu, I’d seen the cuts, but only when I was lifting, then I slinked away all swishy and liquid, to play on another piece of equipment.

When my boyfriend commented in displeasure on my “wings”, my illusion was shattered. I saw then. What I saw did not square with what I sensed as my body when I moved.

Since that time I have kept my body’s responsiveness quiet. It wasn’t feminine. I didn’t have to be body building either, so to look “acceptable” I had to be very conscious about my choices – lighter weights, no challenge, not much fun.

Then the pain started.

I was surprised by the voice of my body and even more surprised when orthopedists couldn’t seem to diagnose it properly. After a few years, the white-hot shrieking dulled. A dull ache it remained until 5 or so years ago. At that point I began to question the true origins. A flash of realization and I knew that this pain was about more than teaching too many classes or kick boxing. It was the how.I was suppressing my Nature so that those around me would be comfortable. In that suppression I couldn’t ever gauge the depth of what I could be capable of.

Many, many people go through long periods of their lives playing someone else; being something other than what they really are because it was what was expected. Some make the break and choose authenticity. Many more forget that instinctive part of  them that knows how to move. They forget, so they pretend that there is no instinctive part – that they are civilized and that since movement is what children and “savages” do, they will be still.

And the pain starts.

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2 thoughts on “Embracing Nature”

  1. I’ve been following your blog since you initiated it. I’m really deeply moved by each of them. This one in particular hooked into me since I’ve had a fear of speaking in public (or even one on one or small groups) since I was a teenager. I took Thespian classes and tried out for parts in theatre productions which only proved even more so that I was like a deer in headlights — talk about setting myself up for failure! When I began working for a large corporation, my manager asked me to sign up for ToastMasters. Epic Fail. It was only after I had traveled a distance into my spiritual journey that I began to unwind from the fear. I found that the more I truly encompassed and accepted myself, the more confident I became and the more comfortable I was in sharing at least one on one and sometimes in small groups. It wasn’t until I started teaching Nia that my body released the fear through movement. Movement Alchemy. Yes indeed. So the next time I’m asked to speak in front of a large group (and trust me, I’m not looking to do that), I’m doing to put some music on and make it a dance. Thank you dear friend.

  2. Thank you for sharing, Jill. Nia does seem to give us permission to discover our true selves and become comfortable with wearing them on the outside! Last summer I took an Anatomy and Physiology class and our final project was a research paper we were expected to formally share with the class (had to dress up, not “read” the paper – pretty strict guidelines). My paper was on degenerative disk disease. I did put on music, had the class get up from the sitting that was likely to cause ddd in the first place, take off their shoes, sense their spines and dance their spines. It was very well received. :>

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