These 9 principles are the philosophical framework of my work.
YOU ARE STARDUST BOUND
You are bound by the cosmos. Your cells and sinews are made of the same molecules as the ocean, the peony, the fern, the fox, the tumbling boulder, the shooting star. You are also bound for the cosmos. Your body will fail, unfold, dissolve into the heavens and into the hells. See yourself reflected in the natural world around you. Relax into its mystery and its order.
IF WE PUT THE CARE OF OUR BODIES FIRST, WE WOULD EXPERIENCE A REVOLUTION
If we made the care of our bodies our primary focus, the foundation of our daily existence, we would ignite a revolution. By “care” I do not mean adhering faithfully to the formulas of fitness culture, flattening your abs, toning your arms, running marathons, getting your ass kicked amidst loud music and yelling instructors, feeling sore for two days following. To care for your body means to meet your body where it is, as it is, in this very moment, to pay attention, to know the way your body communicates, to see what is needed and then to take loving action to meet that need. Care requires a mindset that is awake, curious, flexible and filled with reverent awe.
MOVE YOUR BODY EVERY DAY IN A WAY THAT FEELS GOOD TO YOU
Stop wondering what movement “counts,” think beyond exercise. Instead of forcing yourself to do what you think you should do, do what calls to you, what you want to do. It is better to move your body every day for 10 minutes doing something you love than to move your body once a week for an hour doing something you disdain.
LOOK FOR WHAT’S GOING RIGHT & DO YOUR BEST WITH WHAT YOU’VE GOT
At any given moment, some things are going wrong and some things are going right. Place the vast majority of your attention with what is going right and move forward with the best of your current abilities. Don’t compare yourself to others. Don’t wish you had more or that you were somehow “better.” Simply look for what’s going right and move forward by doing your best with what you’ve got.
BEFRIEND YOUR BREATH
One of the physical therapists I study with once said, “If everybody learned how to breathe correctly, physical therapists would be out of work.” She was exaggerating (although perhaps only slightly), but her point was valid: Breathing is an essential component of healthy, pain-free movement. It is also an essential component for increasing presence, reducing stress, healing trauma and promoting overall well-being and health. Your breath is the link between your conscious mind and your autonomic nervous system.
MOVE AT A SMILING PACE
Make all your movements easy and fluid. Move at a pace that doesn’t force you to grimace or create unnecessary tension in your body. A smiling pace is what Goethe meant when he wrote, “Do not hurry. Do not rest.” Or in the words of poet and Buddhist teacher, “Effort and peace are not two. Take your time.”
KEEP CURIOUS AND NEVER ARRIVE
There is always something new to learn about your body, your neighborhood, your lover, your children, your friends, your hobbies. Approach your endeavors with a spirit of wide-eyed wonder as opposed to goal-oriented ambition. Don’t put people in tight categories, this includes yourself. We are ever changing, ever learning, ever growing. Keep an open mind. Allow yourself to be surprised.
TRAIN IN STILLNESS
Our culture trains in one speed: Fast. We value accomplishment, hustle and flash. It is not natural or healthy to move only at once pace. Can you be still? Can you relax without first needing to exhaust yourself? Can you go for twenty minutes simply sitting quietly, without distraction or obsessive thinking? Can you spend an entire day with your computer, without a to-do list, without entertainment?
The nature of life is to grow. Death is not life’s opposite, stagnancy is. Karma is action. Commit yourself to the process of life. Don’t ever stop. Keep going.