That Feeling When

Daily Movement Prompts, Saturday, July 22, 2017: That Feeling When

Why do you pursue the movement you do? Each of us has a different reason. Sometimes, it can be summed up as That Feeling When…

  • …you are done working hard and you can relax
  • …you manage to go just a little bit further, or a little bit longer
  • …something that used to hurt doesn’t hurt as much anymore
  • …someone recognizes your dedication
  • …you celebrate your own dedication, regardless what others think
  • …you surprise yourself with a new accomplishment
  • …you can collapse now because you finished what you set out to do
  • …you don’t have to compete if you don’t want to
  • …you have the opportunity to compete when you want to
  • …you get to move because you chose this
  • …you managed to move when it wasn’t your choice
  • …you successfully rested when you knew you needed to step back
  • …you survived a recovery time even when you didn’t want to
  • …you set your own goals at your own pace
  • …you got this

Tell us something about that feeling when… that resonates for you.

How did you move today?

In the Spotlight

Daily Movement Prompts, Friday, July 21, 2017 edition: In the Spotlight


Stages and spotlights have VERY different connotations to different people. If you are wildly uncomfortable on a stage or under a spotlight, I would like to suggest that we flip the imagery for a moment. Rather than other people looking at you, imagine that this empty stage is a private stage. This private moment is about when you look at your own mind and your own thoughts. What happens when you place your own thoughts in the spotlight for yourself?

Are you someone who thinks about your thoughts? Do you examine and re-examine what your goals look like and how you can get there? Or is this a new habit for you?

What do you want to accomplish with your movement choices? Are you building strength? Are you finding peace? Are you working on a competition? Are you looking for medical improvements? Are you looking for fun? Are you building community?

There are so many different elements that can feed our motivation. And if you have committed to motivations that have nothing to do with scales or body size, these are new spotlights. It can be a struggle to get out from under old judgemental thoughts and pressures.

As you choose your movement, may I suggest that you also give yourself a little cheer? I would love to see the whole world start to encourage and reward thoughtful planning for movement choices. How will you move?

Decide for Yourself

Daily Movement Prompts, Thursday, July 20, 2017: Decide for Yourself

I think one of the most empowering ideas I came to about exercise as an adult is that I get to choose and decide for myself what movement I will pursue. While I might find it helpful to engage the advice or services of a trainer or an instructor, even the act of selecting a professional is an act of my own choosing.

Through my day, I decide when and how I can add movement. When my day involves working at a computer and a desk, it is up to me to get up for breaks, stretching, or movement. I have to decide to add extra time in the morning or evening for drills, going on a walk or a run, heading to the pool, running a workout DVD or YouTube video, going to a gym, or completing a work-out at home.

If your daily or weekly schedule seems overrun, it might be that you have some decisions to make. Can you start with something small for a while? Could you decide to take five minutes for your movement of choice? Can you set a consistency goal for that new habit? Maybe you start with five minutes daily, six times per week. After one week, you extend that to six minutes per day.

You get to decide. What decisions have you made today for pursuing movement? How will you set your own goals? How can we cheer you as you accomplish your goals?

Small Accomplishments

Daily Movement Prompts, Wednesday, July 19, 2017: Small Accomplishments

After some nagging pains and stressful days, my dance partner and I had an awesome working rehearsal this evening. I felt like I was floating on our accomplishments afterwards.

What is it about small accomplishments that can lift our spirits? Sometimes, it can be simply getting chores done at home which frees up some time for the exercise or rehearsal or movement I wanted to go do. Sometimes it’s a sense of just showing up for the workout I needed. Other times it can be an exhausted conclusion, “At least I didn’t die doing this,” or simply, “at least I lasted as long as I did.”

Have you found a small achievement today or this week? Have you paused to acknowledge, “Hey, I *did* accomplishment something,” and that’s worth your thankfulness?

How have you moved today? How will you move tomorrow?

Happy Sweat

Daily Movement Prompts, Tuesday, July 18, 2017: Happy Sweat

One possible element of someone’s work-out experience can be “that rush” or an overwhelming joy in an activity. I’ve been in several different conversations with various friends lately about how each person experiences different movement choices with different measures of love for the activity.

For example, I was showing my physical therapist the format of my dance style and the core posture and family of movements, so that he could evaluate which exercises I needed to do for my knees. The moment I stopped my demo for him, I could feel my knee pain again. And I noticed I had *not* felt the pain as strongly while I was doing my demo.

I’ve experimented with two forms of bladed weapon styles: one is a full-contact, non-choreographed heavy weapons sword style with solid blades made of rattan, and the other is a blunted metal, non-choreographed historical rapier sword style. I tried each of them in two different times in my life, thinking that maybe I just hadn’t given it enough of a chance to really fall in love with the fighting. And after four experiments with going to practices, being in armor, working out with swords, I had to conclude that I just didn’t ever click with the styles. Specifically, I didn’t enjoy those movements enough to get sweaty doing them.

When I had that moment in the physical therapist’s office, noticing that while in my dance form I didn’t feel my knee pain as strongly, I felt excited. My love for my favorite dance form must be similar to my friends’ love for their sword fighting. My conclusion is that I found my “Happy Sweat.” I enjoy the dance itself so much that I don’t mind getting sweaty while practicing. I feel accomplished at the end of a hard sweat on the dance floor.

I listen to how some of my runner friends talk about their experiences, and for most of them, running is their “happy sweat.” I know that I enjoyed working hard at swimming years ago because I didn’t feel sweaty while swimming.

This won’t hold true for every person. You may never find a “sweaty” activity that you truly love doing. You might be doing exercises and movement choices based entirely on other goals and reasons.

But for some of us, it is a relief to find the activity that puts us in a state of “happy sweat,” where we endure the hard work and the sweat because we *love* that activity. It is my hope for you that you find movement choices you love.

How will you move today? How have you felt lately about your movement choices?


Daily Movement Prompts, Sunday, July 9, 2017 edition: Listen

I joke when I start my dance classes that, “I am not a medically trained professional. Please do not make me stop this class to take you to a medically trained professional.” And then we start every warm-up with a free-form, you choose, stretch however your body requires. We need a moment to listen to our bodies, intentionally. Sometimes we run around so busy that only pain will make us stop and listen. And often by the time we pay attention, the pain has possibly blossomed into something quite significant and even life-altering.

Do you take the time to listen to your body, really LISTEN to your body, each day? Is this something you could benefit from by choosing to do it more often? When’s the last time you stretched in all directions, paying attention to what your body said as you did so?

Do you listen to your body if you’re remaining immobile for too long? Or do you ignore moving regularly until standing up hurts and is filled with crackles and pops? Do you listen to your need for more sleep? Do you listen to how your body would like to rest and recover from injury or illness?

How did you move today? How did you *listen* to your body today? How can you listen more tomorrow?

Sum of the Parts

Daily Movement Prompts, Thursday, July 6, 2017 edition: Sum of the Parts

I was thinking today about which repetitions I don’t notice much in life. I put on clothing every day, and rarely do I find myself thinking, “Ugh, clothes again?!” Sure, the chores of cleaning or even shopping for clothing can be a burden at different times in my life, but most of the time I enjoy the simple act of putting on fresh clothing each day with very little emotional impact. I need creativity some times, I have to plan around a full schedule some days, and on occasion clothes can be fancy and fun.

My movement choices could be more like this. I could start to welcome the movement choices I make with the same energy I put towards just wearing daily clothing. Sometimes I need creativity, some days my movements might be chosen for me already, and some days I have to plan carefully to get a chance to move.

My overall fitness and goals and efforts are a collection of the sum of the parts. A little movement here, a little movement there, and it all starts to add up. Each tiny flower in the overall plant matters, and put together it makes something wonderful and attractive.

My tiny daily choices really do add up.

How have you moved today? How will you move tomorrow?

One Thread at a Time

Daily Movement Prompts, Wednesday, July 5, 2017 edition: One Thread at a Time

If you have a well-thought out training plan, all your schedules are set and on the calendar, you have both big goals and the steps to get you there, maybe this topic is less important to you. But if you’ve pondered, “Where do I start?” then I’m talking to you.

What kind of idea do you need? Let’s start there.

Do you need to think big about your dreams and goals? Okay, what activities make your heart soar? Does your heart soar thinking about climbing a mountain? Or when you watch athletes in the Olympics? Or if you imagine bicycling across the country? Or swimming across a channel? Or dancing for a long set? Or running a marathon?

Or do you need ideas about how to go from no-movement to some-movement? Okay, what small movements can you do now? Can you walk up a set of stairs, even if it takes longer than you like? Can you reach a tall shelf? Can you bend your knees to sit on the floor? Can you get back up again?

Let’s think about what your BIG dreams might be. And let’s think about what you current SMALL movements are.

What can you do today that’s just a *little bit more* than your current small movements? If you can run for one minute without stopping, can you add 15 seconds more? If you can climb 15 stairs, can you climb 20? If you can dance for 3 minutes without stopping, can you add 30 seconds more?

When you need an idea about what to start today, start with something you CAN do. Because so far, no one on this list has written me privately to say, “I’m in traction, I’m confined to bed rest for the next 15 months, I am on a breather, I’m in the ICU.” You *do* have some movement available to you. It might not be where you want to be. It might be the lowest you’ve been in years. But you’re not out of this race yet. You woke up on this side of the dirt today.

How will you embrace your abilities today? Did you need to make today a rest and recovery day? That’s okay! When’s your next non-rest day? Is it today? Is today a “let’s get moving, even just a little bit” kind of day?

Small embarrassing story: The first time I started “running” a few years ago, I was frightened of going outside. I know, sounds hard to believe, but it is true. So I decided to put my phone on the stopwatch setting and then I “ran” through our tiny apartment, as much and as fast as I could. Dash into the kitchen, dash through the living room, dash into the bedroom. (Our cat at the time looked at me weird the entire time.) And when I couldn’t take it any more, when I was gasping for breath, I stopped and I checked the stopwatch. And I wrote down the time. And I called it “done” for the day. The following day, my goal was to add one minute, just 60 seconds more to my time. I did that for 5 or 6 days per week, for the next couple of weeks. I got up the nerve to “go running outside,” even if it meant just dashing back and forth on the driveways of my complex for 4 minutes, maybe 5. Eventually, I left the complex. And one day, my goal was something like 20 or 30 minutes… I would let myself “run” until I was too tired, then I could walk for 60 seconds, then run again. I lost count. I ran for about 42 minutes before I realized I had overshot my goal.

You can do the same thing. Start where you are now. Start small. And then just keep adding only what you can handle. After a while, it’s very possible you might add more than you were expecting to.

How did you move today? How will you move tomorrow?

Moving through Emotions

Daily Movement Prompts, Tuesday, July 4, 2017 edition: Moving through Emotions

Each of us experiences different emotions to varying degrees and different times. Some people work through their various emotions through their movement choices. Other times, the movement or activity planned may need to be shifted because of the emotions experienced at the time.

When I was going through some horrible times, about 17 years ago, I had a membership at the local Y. I would get up extremely early and swim in the 5 o’clock hour. No one can tell if you’re crying while swimming. It probably wasn’t the best solution but it worked for me at the time.

I am friends with tons of folks who do various sword fighting techniques. And frequently they will warn each other, “Do not fight mad.” And while it might seem like hitting things when angry would be awesome, I have also watched friends really hurt themselves by not being in control when throwing sword shots on a padded target.

I know some people find running immensely helpful when processing heavy emotions. Others find yoga can bring out strong emotions. Others will dance themselves into heavy exhaustion as a processing technique.

What have you experienced? Do your movement choices help you process emotions? Do you need to adjust your movement choices when you’re overwhelmed with things in life?

How have you moved today? How will you move tomorrow?

Taking Stock

Daily Movement Prompts, Saturday, July 1, 2017 edition: Taking Stock

Are any of you in the habit of setting goals for a year and doing a thoughtful review every three months or so? I went to a workshop in January where we made some big goals and dreams in brainstorming lists, and then we wrote letters to ourselves to open on April 1, July 1, and October 1. The assignment was to encourage our future selves.

I opened my July 1 letter today, and it reminded me how my brain was working January. I’ve made some adjustments over the past almost six months, and I’d forgotten a few things since January.

Last month at the beginning of June, I suggested you make a goal for the month. If you did, how are things going? Did you spend your June the way you’d hoped? Have you made some progress along your goals? Does goal setting and dreaming big work for you? Have you given it a try lately?

One suggestion I would like to make today: Balance love and forgiveness for yourself with any challenges and motivations you are embracing. Sometimes we can swing far in one direction or another. You might “buckle down” and try to “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” and then rarely remember to forgive yourself or show yourself appreciation and love for the work you *have* done, even if you didn’t hit a goal you were aiming for. Or you might be comfortable in your habits and forget to challenge yourself. (Although sometimes that’s *exactly* the goal you were aiming for: Letting go of the heavy pressures and learning to embrace a slower pace, especially in a time of recovery.)

If this works for you today, give it a try. Take stock in how January through June went, or even just the past four weeks, and congratulate yourself for the movement, activities, and habits you’ve accomplished. And if making goals and plans works for you, write something down about the next four weeks, next six months, or whatever time frame interests you. Write yourself a physical letter, seal it up, and write the date when you should open it. Write yourself something encouraging, to warm your heart later when you open the letter. Make a note on the calendar to remind you when the letter should be opened (and where you hid it “in a safe place”).

And let’s encourage each other. How did you move today? How will you move tomorrow? What kind of encouragement can you share with us?