I like to feel things out. Often when I cannot make a decision about something, I will decide on one option and then check in with my body to see how that decision feels. My body is faster than my brain and I trust the instant reaction of it. Many years of somatic work has taught me that first-person observation of the soma is immediately factual.
But feeling things out right now is hard. I can feel my body tense up and my stomach twist when I am asked what does the future look like. I don't know. If anything, this unmapped world of the future is insisting that we remain in the present. At least, that is how I am trying to cope with the upheaval of everything. However you are coping with the current situation, one thing that is true for everyone is that there has been a lot of change.
Knowing that I feel my way through most things, I have decided to be even more deliberate in tapping into that intelligence. Along with breathing, I am taking note of what my posture, gestures, and sensations might be saying. I suppose that is one way of saying that I am being more mindful but it makes more sense to me to say that I am consciously feeling my way through this all, one feeling at a time.
Next stage of my bodywork practice is attending to my need for more movement. I am not talking about exercising more (especially when exercise is for the unobtainable future body), but to just move for movement sake. I went for a walk yesterday with my headphones on and ended up dancing (I dare you to put on Horchata by Vampire Weekend and not dance) about in the forest, albeit somewhat briefly as I was a bit over worried someone would see me. This fear was super annoying but I couldn't shake it long enough to just abandon my fear of being seen. It did make me feel really happy though and I ended up dancing about the garden when I got back. Guess what, there is some real science behind this happiness from this movement. Kelly McGonigal, author of The Joy of Movement says,
"Myokines are also sometimes referred to as “hope molecules” because of the effect they have on the brain in helping people recover from stress, and even trauma. ... You contract your muscles and secrete hope into your bloodstream.
Being healthy means to sense yourself of having some use in the world that makes you feel good about being alive and we know that people who are able to do that, they actually are physically healthier and they have better mental health and they live longer."
Kelly suggests questions to reflect on:
Would I still do this if it wasn’t going to lead to the external outcome?
What is the form of movement that inspires you?
What’s the movement you loved as a child?
The goal is to figure out a way to move so that you have a sense of being with yourself in a loving way, getting to explore aspects of yourself, to find ways to enjoy the body that you have, even when pain is present.
This time of lockdown is a great time to get in touch with your senses and find movement that feels good to you. The benefits of movement go far beyond burning calories, it is an essential part of wellness. And if this is all too woo-woo for you, put on this playlist and dance about with abandonment just for fun.