Movement Muse News: April 2018

I remember lying in bed as a girl attempting to feel my blood as it moved through my arteries and veins. About 10 years old, I was certain that there should be no reason that I could not feel this in the same way that I felt the wind tickle my skin or an ice cube melt on my tongue.

It was my blood in my body after all.

So I would lie in bed, attempting to become as sensitive and as aware as possible. I wanted to deepen my self understanding, to shift away from intellectualized concepts and into ~ quite literally ~ a flesh and blood, embodied experience of myself. I wanted to know myself entirely through sensation.

And then I became a teenager. My body became a source of endless shame. I wanted to hide it, change it, escape it.

And then I became an adult, riddled with responsibilities and identities and all their associated signifiers and stresses. My life became condensed to a circuit of mental strategy, endlessly looping, calculating what it takes to achieve goals, pay bills, finish tasks, wrap-up to-do lists.


***

In January, my husband and I moved into my childhood home, the place I was brought to as 10 day old baby after spending the first part of my life in the neonatal intensive care unit at Children’s Hospital in Seattle.

Living in this house again has brought me back to my senses. Nearly every inch of this place ~ not to mention its yard and the surrounding neighborhood ~ is filled with exacting smells, sounds, terrain that pull me like a vacuum through a vortex backward in time to the potent sensory experience that was my childhood.

It is literally a homecoming. I feel what I have forgotten: The potent experience that is living in and from my body with all its physical sensations.

***

Being in your body is a powerful and and tender thing.

Being disconnected from your body is a powerful and disastrous thing.

Reconnecting to your senses, feeling your body, living from your bones, from your heart, from your lungs is an act of innocent bravery.

It is also a radical act of revolution and transformation.

It is spring.

Can you feel it?

Movement Muse News: January 2018

I couldn’t always see the details.

When coaching a squat, for example, I could see the general shape, but not the particulars.

Were her knees falling in because of poor lateral hip strength or because of collapsing ankles?

Was his lack of depth in the squat due to limited ankle mobility, lack of motor control, weakness in his leg and hip muscles?

Were over arched backs caused by anterior pelvic tilts or too much extension at thoracolumbar junctions?

Today, after 8 years of working full time, one-on-one with clients, I can observe these details, can recognize many nuances of many movements.

Seeing these subtleties is delightful.

My clients often ask, “How did you notice that?!”

When this happens I feel sparkly, like a superhero with a secret power who just saved the day.

This is the beauty of commitment, of staying put, of digging deep.

Our world is filled with distractions, our economy fueled by Newest! Lastest! Greatest!

But if we are always moving on to the next thing, we live only on the surface.

Life takes time.

Uncovering mystery takes patience.

Getting to the depths takes steady (sometimes very uncomfortable) work.

Being able to see the complexity of a circumstance, of a given system, of life itself, to be at ease amongst the contradictions, to be able to articulate what you feel and sense comes only after a very, very, VERY long period of devotion and faith.

~

For the past 5 years I have been working on a list of philosophies that underpin my work as a strength coach and movement instructor.

Yep. It has taken me 5 years to write that list.

5 years! To. Write. A. List!

This list:

1) Proper Mindset + Imperfect Action = Progress

2) Move Your Body Every Day In A Way That Feels Good To You

3) Perform The Basics Beautifully

4) Move At A Smiling Pace

5) Lift Heavy Things, Sweat & Make More Shapes

6) Build A Nourishing Plate

7) Love Your People

8) Touch Nature

9) Expand Your Perspective

10) Retreat. Rest. Rejuvenate.

These 10 points guide my own relationship to movement, nutrition, creativity, community and spirituality. They also guide the ways in which I coach my clients.

This list might appear obvious, even quaint, at first read. But I assure you -- as is the case with all seemingly simple things -- there is a vast root system that supports each idea.

Over the next year in this newsletter and in my blog, I will share with you some of the depths behind each point on my list. I hope you will read along and share your thoughts on my thoughts.

Happy New Year, sweet friends!

 

Newsletter: November 2017

Hello, Friends.

In October I discovered my new favorite workout: Chasing golden leaves as they surrender their grip on their branch and parachute toward the earth. I would watch for one to fall and then sprint to try to catch it. How many could I get? Not many! Most were too nimble, too sly.

Even so, I could have done it for hours.

But the mind has a way of grasping for time.

And time has a way of grabbing us back, insisting: Come here. Do this. Get it done! Hurry up!

As though accomplishment is everything.

What about the desire to get lost? To slow everything down? To feel every moment? The weight of the coffee mug in your hands, the burst of orange wedge on your tongue…

In July I said goodbye to my sweet studio. In August I began working someplace new. I am happy enough in my new place, although not entirely complete. Something is missing and I am beginning to feel adrift.

How do I build the bridge between now and next? The chasm appears too deep, too wide.

In my lesser moments, I let my mind spin.

In my higher moments, I look to the trees, their branches mostly bare and whisper to myself, “Trust life.”

Life cycles. Creation and destruction, fervor and rest, diligence and play. It has a rhythm outside the mind, beyond what we can control or even hold.

Living embodied is a radical task. It means allowing those cycles to exist not just in theory, but in practice. It means allowing life to arise as it wants, to be fully expressed and realized on its own terms. It means not squelching or hurrying. It means trusting the process.

It is late November. I let go, follow the leaves to the ground, soften my sinews.
May winter do with me what she will.

Yours,
Always,
Amanda