Archive for the ‘movement’ Tag

The old toe touch

In these giddy days of major change, it’s instructive to compare our general outlook with that of folks 50 years ago or so.  Noting the stories of African-Americans who in the 60s never imagined we’d change so much as to vote in a black president, I’m proud of our ability to progress, and I’m also reminded of how our maturation has resulted in a different approach to life.  So much has changed all around us, and our inner changes have quietly tagged along; now we’re products of the new technological world, citizens of the globe. 

Life used to be simpler, no doubt.  And it used to be perhaps more approachable.  The options at hand are so extensive now as to utterly bewilder the individual.  And since we’ve neglected care of the soul in our mad rush to technical, financial, and political prowess, it’s easy to lose your way in life today, finding yourself washed up on the shore of disillusionment.

For this Monday morning, I have just one little suggestion for keeping in touch with your basic humanity, the flow of blood and breath, the source of being.  A primary way in which we differ from people 50 or 100 years ago is that we simply move less.  Our lives and work do not require much physicality, and it’s common for people to do no more in a day than sit, stand, and walk short distances.

My suggestion is to adopt a habit of inverting your spine every day.  This does not require twisted yoga postures.  It’s just a matter of dropping down, as if to touch your toes, and letting your blood reverse course for a few seconds.  If bending is not possible for you, just letting your head drop, chin on chest, is a great beginning.  

There’s a specifically correct way to do this, but I’ll skip the details for now in favor of promoting the concept as a whole.  The more you do it, the easier it will be.  Try it once, mindfully, breathing regularly as you do it, and you’ll be amazed at the refreshment you feel.

Little practices like this can make all the difference to your attitude, courage, generosity, and energy.  I fear for a society in which we’ve lost touch with physical vitality.  Letting your body do its part in unfolding your path will brighten your awareness and bolster your hopes as you spin around the dance floor with this crazy world.

Wednesday inertia

Isn’t it the 2nd law of thermodynamics that proves all things end up in entropy?  My dad was complaining yesterday that when he skips his walk for a day or two, it’s that much harder to do it.  We’ve all had this experience:  move even a short distance away from a good habit or practice and it becomes difficult to return.  The blood wants to coagulate, the body to rest.  Marketers and bloggers and teachers everywhere urge us to do things, to keep that energy pumping, but they rail against a basic law of nature.  Our ultimate biological tendency is towards inertia.

Personally, I believe indulging that inertia now and again is okay.  Life is a temporary condition, after all.  It’s ok to experience the nothingness of entropy now and then.  For the most part, though, as we continue to live and hope for happines, we have to maintain a solid defense against the tendency to ‘let it all go.’  Lots of people live just barely above the threshold, but the most fulfilled are active and full of energy.

It’s like the statement by one of my heros, Chris Zydel, creator extraordinaire, who recently said in a newsletter, “Engaging with your creative process ALWAYS wakes you up and even though our souls really do want that much genuine aliveness, it is also scary, so we will blithely waste our time and energy finding any number of ways of putting ourselves into a stupor.”

The opposite of stillness is movement.  Everything begins with movement.  Though we do well to cultivate the capacity to be still, our main challenge in life is movement.  If you are tending too much towards inertia, consider the benefit of movement for its own sake.  Bring a sport, or dancing, or any kind of vigorous physical activity into your life and it will energize everything for you.

Don’t be discouraged on a Wednesday if entropy appears to be advancing.  It’s natural enough, and since you are likely to go on living anyhow, you’ll resurface sooner or later.  You can indulge the temptation for a little while, but the sooner you get moving,  the healthier you’ll be.