“I’ve seen old people. Old people don’t move very much. I’m not angry at them for this, I’m angry that it happens to people, I’m angry that it will happen to me. I move like this now because I can and because I won’t be able to when I’m old.”
This used to be my signature for my email and it captures the essence of how I feel about locomotion at this point in my life. Moving brings me joy today that I may not be able to experience tomorrow. It feels really good physically and I become more and more comfortable in my environment as I increase the ways in which I interact with it. I am, for example, more confident walking on snowy or icy sidewalks as a result of my plyometrics training because I have increased body awareness – I know exactly where I am in space and time and this awareness helps me avoid falling. This knowledge can make everyday life less stressful and a little easier.
A love of movement also leads one to try other activities either out of desire for further enjoyment or because I feel less shame about trying something new. I have spoken to too many people who claim that they did not do something because they we intimidated, scared or because they feared that they wouldn’t be any good at it. The consequence to this is that they never get the joy out of something new because they’ll never try it for the first time because of the thought of feeling shame about it.
As I tried more stuff I began to notice that I am not naturally good at most things. In fact, I’m pretty useless at most things the first time I try them. I learned how to play guitar a few years ago and I was horrible at the beginning. The fine motor control that is required to finger the chords while strumming or picking certain stings is almost overwhelming. It took me about 3 months before it stopped sounding like noise and another couple of months until it sounded like music. But I stuck with it and eventually doing it started to bring me joy. With me, for most new tasks, three months is about average for how long it takes before I feel comfortable enough doing it to find the experience rewarding vs. finding the fact that I’m trying it to be rewarding.
I find yoga to be very difficult to do and I feel like a heal doing it. It really is hard to imagine being so bad at something that is so graceful. The main reason it is so difficult for me is because I have no frame of reference or any past experiences with skills that transfer over to yoga – I’m a lifter and an adrenaline junky which require very different skills than the downward dog or any of the warrior poses. But as I do it more, I am acquiring the skills that will allow me to not have to think about it while I’m doing it. For me, the ability to make the skill automatic is essential for maximum enjoyment because it is the only thing that will lead to a state of mindlessness.
So I move out of fear of a future that does not contain movement and out of a lust for more pleasure, satisfaction and personal growth. It is only through interacting with the world that we learn how to exist in peace and harmony with our environment.