Our bodies are designed to move. We come to understand the world by exploring it with every bit of our bodies.
Think about your favorite infant or toddler. I am going to think of Alice, the cutest baby I currently know. Alice is learning the world one thrilling somatic experience at a time. At first, there was nothing more exciting than the movement of her own hands. Now, she is crawling, standing, licking, clapping and laughing her world into focus. And when she does any of these simple things, we applaud her wildly. We show her with our dopey grins and mushy love that movement is where it's at. Alice is learning that freedom and joy and love come in movement. Not to mention achievement and acclaim.
So we spend the first part of our lives learning how to use our bodies. And it is thrilling. Remember? Whether riding a bike or diving into a pool or doing underwater flips or jumping rope or rolling down a hill in the grass, it was pure joy to put our bodies in motion.
And then, shit happens. We forget that true emotional joy is OF the body and not the mind. Sometimes we start depending on endorphine and dopamine substitutes for a facsimile of joy. In the long run, it won't be enough and we will crave more and more of the faux substances. If we are lucky, we might find our way back into our moving bodies and re-start the dance we began in our childhood.
Today I learned this quote:
"Nothing records the effects of a sad life so graphically as the human body.”
Naguib Mahfouz via Dr. Gabor Mate.
And it's true. The body is always mapping our emotional experience. But the awesome thing is that it is a two-way street and our gung-ho synapses and the neural plasticity of our brains make it possible to re-engineer our movement to create new maps and emotional experiences.
So move. That's where freedom lives. That's where joy lives. And that's where beauty lives too.