I last wrote to you about my sweet sweet Grandmother’s wisdom, and I want to write a little more about one saying of hers that I am continuing to chew on.
As a yoga teacher, runner and general health nut I love to study people who are healthy and see how they do it. It is so interesting to see how many paths up the mountain there indeed are! Hula, yoga, body pump, zumba, heavy lifting, sprinting, marathons, walkathons… it brings me back to my grandma’s sweet Brooklyn-accented voice saying, “Move it or lose it!”
I see her saying it and doing leg presses from the reclining are chair as she watches TV. I see her singing it out as she climbs the stairs up from the basement two by two. I see her calling it to me as my mother and I do yoga on the back lawn. It is a mantra she lives by, one that has served her quite well.
It is a mantra that applies to both physical and mental health.
Indeed, at times stillness is the best movement we can choose in our busycrazyfast culture (three cheers for restorative yoga and meditation), but I do agree with the notion that there is a healthy pace of physical and mental movement we all need in order to experience health. We don’t need frivolous movement; we need deep, congruent, soulful movement. And often, we think we need big complex changes when in fact what would serves us best is subtle, simple, intelligent shifts. Simple movement.
Which leads me into the emotional/psychological side of this. As a therapist working with people in private practice, clients often show up wanting sudden sweeping changes – in themselves and in their lives. For many people these subtle, simple shifts seem useless in the face of a huge life-overhaul. Forgive me for introducing another cliche but doesn’t a journey of 1,000 miles begin with one step? Most of us dealing with overwhelm and buckets of psychological “resistance” could benefit well from looking at and taking the first small step – doing bicep curls while we watch TV, so to speak.
This could be, literally now, doing bicep curls while you watch TV if you’re needing more physical activity. It could be lacing up the running shoes to get yourself out of the house for a run, or typing a simple nonsensical sentence to get through the heaviness of writers block. It could also be creating the time and space necessary to reflect and say what they REALLY need to say to get over resistance to a particular colleague, family member, friend, or enemy (do you even have those?).
Take moment now to assess – which areas of your life feel sticky right now? Where is there a little stagnation, air to be cleared or energy to be moved?
Write it down! (I wish I could have you fill in the blank here. You’re welcome to email it to me or write it in the comments below, whatever helps you actually stop for a moment and get clear, rather than skipping to the next paragraph without thinking about it;).
So, once we are clear on what we are up against, how do we meet this sticky-icky résistance (first up, if you say it en francais it sounds sweeter;)? Here are a few tips to encourage you to move it and lose it – the resistance that is.
Recognize it: The first step in these journeys is always awareness! I would not be writing to you now if I did not stop to recognize an icky feeling that was covering a deeper urge to write. Take an honest inventory and look at where you feel sticky-icky – or where you think someone is creating a sticky situation for you.
Call its bluff: There is fear in resistance, in some form. Fear of doing well, of not doing well, of being too old or too young, too big too little to smart to dumb too shy too aggressive too something or other. Take a moment to stand toe to toe with that icky, creepy, uncomfortable fear. Look at it and unpack it. See, best you can, what is really happening. What is at risk? As we well know, some fears keep us safe, while others can suffocate us.
Work it: You don’t have to trick the fear, to sidestep it, to beat it or run from it. Instead, work with it! You’ve got that awareness “I feel too –” or “I’m scared — will happen.” Engage with it and work it out in your life – bring it to light. See what small exploration step you can do – put out a dream job application, tell your partner you’d like to talk about something that’s been on your mind, write a note to someone you can’t get out of your mind, take five minutes for physical activity or ten minutes for a big project you feel you’ll never complete. Be with the fear and…move it!
By moving through this resistance, we keep our mental, emotional, subtle bodies happier. We keep the energy moving so we don’t lose our minds, much like my grandma keeps her muscles and joints moving to keep her body lively. It’s important that we move both our bodies and our minds with intelligence, grace, and as much consistency as we can muster. I deeply believe that moving one impacts the other, so make a choice today to move something, whether you do it from your recliner, with a simple action step or with a good conversation.
That’s it for today! If you liked this, don’t be shy – share it with your friends! And do share your thoughts in the comments below.
In a few weeks, I’ll have a sweet surprise treat for you which may or may not involve opera singers:) Keep your eyes peeled for the next few updates!
Big huge buckets of love,