“I am hungry, I need to eat. But people are not realising that I need to move now. Because if I don’t move now, in a few more hours it’s going to become a problem. And in a few more years, it’s going to become an irreversible problem.” – Ido Portal
Movement is integral to our existence. We are born as moving beings, crawling exploring the world with delight using our whole entire body, yet as we go through the process of maturing into society, one gradually becomes increasingly disconnected with this aspect of exploration. This is especially so for those living in a modernised lifestyle where the majority of our basic everyday movements have now conveniently become outsourced.
My urgent need for daily movement suddenly faced me in 2004, when I realised that I could no longer continue to ride the trains to commute to the office. The idea of the never ending repetition of waking in a box (home), getting on a moving box (train), working in a box (office building in cubicles), getting on a moving box (train) to go sleep in a box (home), drove me absolutely crazy. Hence I initially began my personal resistance by walking to and back from my office and home, exploring different routes every day, reconnecting with movement and discovering the seasonal changes through the senses.
Since then, I have managed to incorporate bicycling as my main form of transportation on top of walking, daily swimming and Baseworks Practice sessions, combined with occasional and/or seasonal activities such as contact improvisation, dance, hiking, snowboarding, and snowshoeing as a recent addition. To be completely honest, I have never been into sports and scored horribly in physical education at school, due to the lack of strength, flexibility, coordination, combined with my fear against being judged through competition and shame of being labeled a loser. Though I always fond of swimming in solitude, as well as walking dancing and being out in nature, an aspect that was deeply enhanced in my teens when I lived in Denmark and Kenya. So when I discovered that there are other means of enjoying movement outside the realm of sports and competing, free from the anxiety of being compared, I was able rediscover the infinite world of movement.
Meditative Space for Creativity
What movement offers me is quite profound. Whatever the activity I am engaging in, the combination of all the daily movement routines have definitely transformed me physically, with increased flexibility, strength, balance, endurance, leading to improved health and vitality. Nonetheless what I find most significant, is the effect it has onto my frame of mind, which in turn affects my creativity, productivity, and though this, I can also utilise it as a measurement of my state of being.
The moment I dive into the realm of movement, regardless of what it is, there is an astonishing stillness and silence that engulfs me. The intense concentration and focus on the physical, begins to remove the never-ending layers of noise in my head, and I gradually enter a clean space of emptiness. It is quite similar to the feeling I get the moment I am sitting in front of a white sketch book, that very moment I begin to draw. Concept of time and the outside world feels distant, insignificantly distorted, and gradually through movement, thoughts ideas memories from the subconscious begin to sporadically well-up from deep within. In a way, the process is extremely meditative, at the same time something that leaves me with hints of creativity and ideas I can directly implement in what I do.
Of course, it is not always perfect as it sounds. There are days, more often then I wish, when that empty stillness does not exist at all, with my mind racing with thoughts in frenzy, emotionally crazed. It most certainly affects the quality of my movements, yet as frustrating as it may be, it offers me an amazing opportunity to measure and notice my psychologically erratic state, and release it through movement if I am lucky enough. And though I still have a long way to go in utilising these effectively as signals to be more mindful of my interactions with others around me, I am grateful to have a tool that allows me to monitor this on a daily basis.
Enjoy the Process
We are always beginners at some point in time, so it is never too late to begin this exact moment. I am and will forever be thankful for that moment when I realised and decided to walk instead of ride the train. It can be as simple as starting with walking to the next closest train station instead of the station in front of you. Extending from exploring different routes/passages every day, to gradually increasing the distance, and maybe perhaps trying other movement modalities that you may have never imagined doing before. Shake it up, do something different every day, surprise yourself, have fun, enjoy the process. Movement is transformation, and an initiator for our inner transformation.