Compassionate Movement for Healing
Several years ago, after the birth of my fourth son, my body was broken. In my search to find answers, I found movement (not exercise, movement). I discovered what it was and how it plays into my life. I read about how we are a sedentary culture. I spent hours on my couch researching. It made so much sense! But it was so hard. On top of my physical issues, I was struggling with hormonal and adrenal issues. I was in the beginning stages of recovering from total adrenal failure, one of my side effects was severe insomnia. So, on top of a newborn, who was number four, all of which were 5 years old and under, I was physically incapable of falling asleep until after 3 am- 5 am.
I was not functional. I would live on the couch, nursing and monitoring, slump over to the kitchen when the kids needed food, and then cry my way back to the couch. It was a very very hard season for me. The thought of having to make dinner at 4 pm every day would trigger me to feel overwhelmed and emotionally unstable and send me into tears more often than not. And right in this space I found movement.
I almost quit researching. It's very hard to read about how movement heals and is what keeps us from falling apart, after I had already fallen apart. I was already broken. Does reading on the couch about how movement heals the picture of hypocrisy? But something in me couldn't stop. I found a blog from a woman who was a movement teacher but had suffered a miscarriage. She talked about how her relationship with movement went from challenging herself physically, to nurturing herself with very gentle movement through the next year. It resonated with me. I grew up an athlete. If you're not sweating it doesn't count. It doesn't feel at least uncomfortable, if not some pain, it doesn't count. Walking was for grandma's who couldn't do anything else. That was my perspective.
That mindset had to shift for me to heal, and I knew it. So, it started so small. And it was encouraging. My calf stretches while I brushed my teeth counted! My five ten-minute walks after dinner counted. Making adjustments to how I sat, rather than just not sitting, counted!
I believe this perspective of movement, with these gentle movements saved me. Having something I was working on and towards that was gentle and healing and specific was encouraging. The idea that ALL movements count was a revelation, and I will never go back.
In our culture, we view the world very often in black and white, shoulds and shouldn'ts, good and bad's, right and wrongs. It's sometimes the simplest way to explain something, but then we're left with a lot of guilt and shame or just feeling deflated, like why try, I won't get it 'right'. The movement world has this too. It's focus on form and how things are measured then leave you after researching like you haven't done enough or done it right.
As one of my dear friends says, "don't should all over yourself!". We develop this internal system that normally puts us in a place of not doing enough. I think we have this fear, that if we are compassionate with ourselves that we're letting ourselves off the hook and we'll no longer be motivated to change or grow or become a better healthier version of ourselves that we know is possible.
Can I tell you something that I've learned? Compassion is key. Having a compassionate and understanding and loving perspective on ourselves, our situations and our bodies changes everything. We are starting to see in our culture that shaming our kids is not the way to get them to behave. Children are unique individuals with unique voices and valuable perspectives. Guess what, so are you. And if you have trust in yourself, that as you learn to receive love and compassion and understanding from yourself, you will blossom. You will thrive. Fear is never a good motivator or advisor. So, if there is fear, keep listening, until you hear a different voice. Because we all know how to love and have compassion and connection, it's in our DNA, but we sometime forget to listen. You can and will find your hope. There is always, always hope. So, as I present different movement opportunities or ideas, it is coming from a place of compassion, from me to you. and if it doesn't bring you joy, don't do it! It if connects and nourishes you, then incorporate it. This is my place so share my joy, not a list of things we should be doing.