Daily Movement Prompts, Friday, September 1, 2017: Intersections

We rarely think too much about this, but the key difference between cloth and threads are the intersections between all the threads. You could take a pile of thread and leave it in a pile, but you only have lots of threads with no relationship to one another… except for the snarls and accidental knots that might happen. But cloth happens when every thread has an intentional path that intersects with a whole bunch of other threads with some repetition and patterning.

Any of my individual movements–walking around the office building on a break, lifting grocery bags from the car and putting them away, running after the toddler who is headed into traffic–these are the individual threads of my movements. And when I have specific goals in mind–improved stamina, increased flexibility, new skills in dance or yoga or rock-climbing or swimming–then I need to plan out repetitions and patterns to my movement.

What goals are you interested in patterning and repeating? What movement today will help you build that cloth, that goal? What individual threads can you gather together in your own movement activities?


Daily Movement Prompts, Monday, August 21, 2017 edition: Eclipses

Today, I watched a ton of footage of the eclipse on the internet and shared knowledge and information with my co-workers. There are times when my movement and activities feel similar: I might not be able to travel out to far away places, but I can share information with others.

Do you have days when you feel like your movement goals are eclipsed by life or circumstances or injury? Fortunately, this too will pass. In the meantime, I like to imagine that these crescent-shaped bits of light are like disco-ball light sparkles, inviting me to dance.

Whether you personally witnessed the sun blocked by the moon, saw photos of it, or watched crescent-shaped sparkles on the ground, I hope that you found some simple joy today in the experience. And whether today is a day to get up and move your boday, or maybe just a day to enjoy tales about movement and cheer for others, I hope you find some joy today in movement and in rest.


Daily Movement Prompts, Thursday, August 17, 2017 edition: Interruptions

Things pop up in our lives that interrupt our plans for consistency. Births, deaths, marriages, divorces, sickness, injury, trips to the hospital or doctor or therapist. News cycles that can spike anxiety or depression or action and organization. Work emergencies. Family emergencies. Weather disasters. Financial strain.

And you know what? That’s okay. We are interrupted all the time. And that’s okay. You’re not being judged whether you can stay even-keeled through all the ups and downs in life.

You might use movement to add consistency where there has been none. You might embrace the down-time between activities for rest and recovery. You might find new community to share emotional support when things are rough. You might find a calling that takes you in a new direction.

If you’re feeling a little out of sorts, frustrated, frightened, angry, bewildered, or lost — please reach out to someone you trust. If you want to share in this community, please do. If you need an extra hug (even virtually), please know you are invited. This hug is for you.

And if you need to jump up and down, jump away my friends. Shake your hands over your head. Scream into the long night. Lie flat on the floor and feel the weight. Stretch long and curl up tight. Move and shake and dance and rest again. It’s okay. I know I’m in need of a good sweat and a good nap, all at the same time.

Simple vs. Easy

Daily Movement Prompts, Tuesday, August 8, 2017 edition: Simple vs. Easy

Some things in life are Simple but they are not necessarily Easy. “Do this habit” might seem a straightforward and simple instruction. But it’s not always easy to build a new habit. From learning to put the mail away when you walk in the door (if paperwork is your struggle) or building a habit to wash or rinse the dishes (if cleaning dishes is your struggle) or remembering where your keys are (if misplacing them is your struggle)… Simple is not always Easy.

If you’re feeling discouraged about a habit that’s not sticking yet, could it be because you thought that if it’s simple it would also be easy? Remember to be kind to yourself. Forgive yourself if you haven’t accomplished everything you wanted to.

Instead, let’s pick one Easy thing and then maybe get back to that Simple (but kind of Difficult) habit afterwards. Later, you can look at one Simple habit are you trying to build, but it’s possibly proving to be harder than you thought.

What is one Easy thing you could do today for movement? Let’s bag a success. Let’s see if we can do one EASY thing and check it off as done. (Who knows? You might find one easy thing so simple, that you might build your habits on these easy tasks.)

One More Stitch

Daily Movement Prompts, Monday, August 7, 2017: One More Stitch

I love the phrase “the fabric of our lives.” Because I work with textiles, this resonates with me. Even if you have never worked on anything crafty or textiles-centric, we all come into contact with fabric every day.

Imagine for a moment how fabric is constructed: Threads or fiber are interlocked in a variety of ways to make a solid layer than can then be manipulated to fit loose or tight, unyielding or stretchy, warm or cool, to fill a purpose or even just to be decorative.

Our lives are like that: There are threads that weave through our days. Some parts of our lives are more functional, some are more decorative. Some parts of life are loose fitting, some are tailored, some are tight and constrictive.

How you move in your daily life helps build the fabric of your life. It might be only one stitch today, it might be only one thread. You might cut threads loose that have started to bind and scratch. You might bring new threads in that are bright and encouraging.

What threads are running through the fabric of your life lately? What threads should be cut? What threads would you like to add?

How will you move today?

At Least I Can

Daily Movement Prompts, Sunday, August 6, 2017 edition: At Least I Can

Recently, I have heard people saying they are stuck and they don’t know what to do next. Sometimes it’s because they have fallen out of habits. When we break the streak of having done good things, sometimes it’s hard to jump back in and start over. Other times, maybe we’re coming back from an injury or a long time without moving. It seems so overwhelming, where do I start?

But “Today” does not judge us because we’re not where we were “Yesterday.” In fact, Today is only right now. Today never knows about Yesterday. I know that we can see past, present, and future in our imaginations. But Present-Me can only be Present-Me.

This is why one of my rules in dance class is, “This Body, This Day.” So rather than get frustrated with what I cannot do, I like to play a game I call, “At least I can.” At least I can stand up and sit down… so, can I do that five times? At least I can walk these stairs… so, can I do that two times? At least I can sit in a chair and hold my arms up… Can I do that for 30 seconds? Can I do that for 60 seconds? At least I can bend and raise my legs in the air, one at a time, from a chair… can I do 10 repeats of this?

When you get stuck and you don’t know where to go next for your movement, maybe you could play a game of, “At least I can.” Let us know how you were able to move and encourage yourself. We can all, at least, do a happy dance for you.

Size of Rocks

Daily Movement Prompts, Friday, August 4, 2017 edition: Size of Rocks

Have you heard the story about the professor demonstrating how much volume was in a large jar? First he filled it with big rocks and asked the class, “Is it full?” They said, “yes.” Then he took out small pebbles and poured those in the spaces. He asked again, “Is it full?” Some of them said, “yes.” Then he poured sand in the spaces. He asked again, “Is it full?” And some of them hesitated to answer, “yes?” Then he poured in a liquid. Now the jar was full.

Sometimes this can be a motivational method for how to attack a project. Move the big rocks first. Then pour some pebbles into the spaces. Then pour in the sand. Then pour in the liquid. But I like to also use this as a way to ask myself, “What size rocks of movement can I handle today?”

There are days I can really move the big rocks. I can run and sweat and swim and jump and challenge myself to the toughest dance moves. There are other days when I just work on some of the small pebbles of movement. I can teach the Fundamentals, focus on posture and formations and angles and presentation. There are days when I can just manage to move some sand. I can do my physical therapy, I can stretch on a large exercise ball, I can test the ability of my knee to move. Other days, I’m flat on my back, lucky I can pour some liquid in the jar. Sitting up and walking around the house is an effort, then it’s back to stretching carefully into a comfortable position.

Which size rock of movement can you face today? Can you move the big rocks today? Or are you a melted puddle of liquid, just trying not to slosh too much? It’s all okay. You can choose movement or you can choose rest. Which will you choose today?

(There’s more to the original story. I believe he made comparisons to which things in life matched the metaphor for the big rocks, small pebbles, and sand. And the liquid, in one version of the story, was a beer. He punchline is that after you make room for the big rocks, pebbles, and sand in life, there’s still always room for a beer.)


Daily Movement Prompts, Tuesday, August 1, 2017 edition: Hopefulness

One struggle that some experience when facing injury, depression, or stress is a sense of hopelessness. Maybe it seems like you’ll always be in pain. Or you’ll never feel healthy again. Or why bother moving when it never seems to pay off?

There is a folk story in which a king wanted to find the answer to a riddle: What will make a happy man sad or a sad man happy? It takes him a very long time to find the answer, but in the end it was simply: “This too shall pass.”

Even in the midst of pain and struggle, there can be moments of hopefulness. There were thunderstorms and 100°F temperatures where I live today, and it was oppressive. But just as I got into the car at the end of the day and started to pull away, this double rainbow in today’s image appeared. “This too shall pass.”

How have you experienced hopefulness through movement or activity? Does even a simple walk help you feel like you can tackle things? Does stretching or dancing restore your soul? What hopefulness have you worked toward recently? What hopefulness could you use through a supportive community?

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

Delayed Effects

Daily Movement Prompts, Friday, July 28, 2017 edition: Delayed Effects

Building long-term goals with incremental skill development can mean that we don’t always see the effects of our work. One class, one workout, one yoga session, one set in the pool or ocean, one more walk or run, one set of stairs, one set of weights, one rehearsal, one drill… in the moment it is hard to see what the single session does.

And sometimes the effect of our movement is delayed until the muscles have had a day or two to absorb the impact. Physical Therapy may not reduce the pain today, but you may feel better a few days later. A challenge to do more squats won’t necessarily show results but you may feel the workout tomorrow morning. Incremental changes in the frequency of your movement may not be obvious for weeks or months. But it adds up.

Does the delay affect you? Are you frustrated when you don’t see results right away? Or do you have a habit of checking your progress after longer intervals? If you’ve been doing movement incrementally for a while now, can you see the delayed effects now that time has passed?

What incremental movement are you working on lately? How will you move today?

Pick a Focus

Daily Movement Prompts, Thursday July 27, 2017 edition: Pick a Focus

Normally, I would insist that I am the poster child for multi-tasking and variety in pursuits. But even though I love to “learn all the things!” I know that I still have to pick what I will focus when it’s time to work on a movement.

In a recent class, I wanted my students to learn a specific leading skill. I reduced the number of moves they could dance, and had them drill the new transitions. At the end of the class, instead of dripping with sweat from a heavy workout, we all felt like we’d spent an hour getting smarter. Rather than focus on a move, they came away with a focus on a team skill.

Any workout, drill, rehearsal, exercise session, or outing could be an opportunity for you to focus. What have you been focusing on? Have you been doing your activities with any special mindfulness? What could you focus on today?

How will you move today?