This post won’t be about how you should take up jogging, exercise, or how you should build your beach body by the end of the quarantine. Instead I will write about how I can rely on my body to help me with my inner work, and how this way I can turn it into another tool to help myself come out on the other end of this crisis the way that I would like to come out.
I’ve been using my body for years as support for my inner work. I’ve gradually come to think of the two as not even really separable, but in any case, they are two distinct entry points for me to produce effects in my life.
Some of us have an easier time working with our mental and emotional worlds, others find working with the body easier, just as there are those who feel at home in both worlds, and those who don’t feel at home in either one of them.
Yesterday I found an image I could pin to my future inside, so it can guide me through my everyday life as a constant reminder of the way I would like to come out on the other end of this tunnel. Some of you have told me that they couldn’t find either an image, or a sentence, or any other form of a point of reference for their future. This happens often, you might want to try again, or try with other methods – in any case it could be useful to get more in touch with your bodies.
empty space – min. 1 m2
free time – min. 3 minutes
a body – min. 1
some motivation (optional)
a door you can close (not an absolute necessity, but it can make things easier)
earphones (1 pair)
and eyelids (so I can lock the outside world out)
I’m standing in the bathroom. I don’t even have enough space to straighten a leg forwards and backwards. No problem, I won’t let this deter me. I put my earphones in, with the music I feel like listening to, I close my eyes, and recall the image I found yesterday for the continuity of self. I start moving. I would say I start to dance, if the reaction of so many people to this idea weren’t “Well that you’re definitely not!”. It’s people who think they can’t dance that say this. I know the feeling, I used to have it about sports. “I don’t do sports, I won’t even run after the bus!” – I would say for years. Then once I decided to rephrase this, and turn it into “I don’t do sports, but I do movement.” I started then, and I’ve been doing it ever since, almost every morning. By now I believe you can call what I do “doing sports”.
Dancing to me is nothing else than a process where I can experience the kind of movement that feels good to my body.
We can do movement even in bed or in a wheelchair. As long as there is any small part of mine that is able to move, I can dance. I can jump up and down in one place, I can circle my shoulders, it can even be my scalp that braves the first movement. The rhythm, the amplitude, the appearance of my movement are all irrelevant.
The point is that I pay attention to what my body’s telling me. Does it feel good to stretch somewhere, or would I rather flex? Do I feel like speeding up or slowing down? Which one of my body parts is asking for the energy to move?
What’s important about my movement now in the bathroom is to take the image from yesterday, which showed me how I will come out of this crisis feeling good, happy and more wholesome, and to carry it deeper down inside myself. I’m filling myself up with faith, power and certainty, all the way down to the cells.
If I feel like it, I can choose a song that I’ll use every time for this movement of the soul and body. That’s what I did when I was preparing for my TED talk: I chose one to be my anthem, and I used it to prepare myself on the cellular level to have the courage to stand on the stage the way I eventually did stand there: owning myself, and feeling good about it. This sort of presence on the stage was unimaginable to me when I started the preparation.
If I can’t manage, if I can’t move even the tiniest bit, then I should let myself do just that: not move at all. If this is the case, then there’s a good chance that it’s my soul that’s not yet ready to start moving and to open up. Maybe it would be too much for it, perhaps my tears or angers or fears would show themselves immediately. My best way forward is to trust myself, and support myself with attention and acceptance in this process. I don’t have to force it. What I can do is ask again tomorrow, and again the day after: You didn’t feel like moving yesterday – how about today?
for the translation thanks for my brother, Mate Herner