The post below was originally written May 5, 2017. I knew I wanted to revisit it for this writing; I am shocked at how true the raw need to move and embody this moment was then and is now, though the circumstances are vastly different. After three years of using the method I describe below, I have landed on a slightly shifted order of things. You'll find my current method at the end.
The past month of life as The Movement Movement was punctuated with juicy and wild moments of abandon. I found myself moving to the rhythm of my own heart’s wishes. And, out of a deep need for some self-care, I found some meaningful, intentional movement.
I haven’t been depressed, or even melancholy (familiar territory). Instead, a more insidious, nagging state emerged: life was feeling… well, mundane.
My life was feeling so. very. repetitive. The rhythm of my days was prescribed: wake up, get the kids ready for school, take the kids to school, work, pick the kids up from school, make dinner, go to bed. Rinse. Repeat.
Even without the demands of family, I tend to fall into patterns that seem to bind me to the same schedule, location, or rhythm. This month, It was feeling downright oppressive.
I needed to shake up my own routine.
I needed to remember that I chose this life. All of it. I made choices that brought me stability, family, responsibility, and even the routine. I wanted these things. I still want these things.
I realized that I needed to also choose my day. Each day. Every morning. I needed to decide to choose it and to actively participate in it. I needed to feel free from the aspects of my life that were feeling like a cage.
I decided to try something new. Now, I wake up (before the family) and decide to: meditate, write, stretch, dance; or, a mix of these. The time varies, sometimes it’s just five minutes! I record my results to allow myself one more layer of reflection and deeper thought about whatever bubbles up.
The first day, I did:
Seated meditation (5 mins)
Free-write (5 mins)
A short improvised dance based on the most prominent thoughts/emotions from the meditation and writing (45 seconds)
In the meditation, I became so unbelievably angry! My lingering thoughts:
I am angry that my dad is losing his memory, and eventually his identity.
I am angry at myself for not being in better shape.
I am angry that I have let myself go, in part.
I am angry that I am bored with what I have made.
I am frustrated by my own lack of engagement.
I tend to free-write in poetry or list form, below is what came out on the page. Again, I was not unpleasantly shocked by the veracity of my own feelings.
You welled up from the depths,
A roiling, boiling rage.
Dense and fluid,
I observe your utility,
Nod at your purpose.
Bursting with life. Blooming. Teeming.
And the rains. Incessant, unrelenting rains - soaking the path.
The sun, bright and gentle, peeking out with a reminder: it's all part of the process.
The dance of life.
And, finally, the release that only dance can offer!
I needed to experience the anger that was bottled up inside.
In this video, I see myself shaking. My energy is bound, stilted, and churning. I am seeking, searching for something. I see my own self-sabotage. I am in the kitchen. I wipe the counter. Is it a clean slate? I shake…
Here, I allowed myself to physically express my emotions - honestly, and openly. It felt so good to embody those feelings.
Now, after a few weeks of exploring this new way to wake up, I am better able to observe my feelings as a guidepost and a marker of a temporary moment.
Give it a go!
This is my current practice, three years later.
Five minute meditation. Just sit and breathe.
Notice what comes up for you: identify one or more main words/phrases that emerge.
Five minute movement improvisation based on the words/phrases. Don't judge your movement, just move. Need music? Great - dance with it.
Five minute free-write to collect: themes, feelings, transitions, what's there, what has shifted, what needs to shift. Write them down in any way that makes sense for you: list, free-write, poem, etc. Set a timer for five minutes and just keep writing.
Try it for a while and see what works and what you might shift in the method to better suit you. The times are just guides to get you going.