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Feed your project with movement

05 July 2021 | systems

I believe that you need movement to go with your Project.

Me, I run or ride my bike, and I write. My movement and my Project.

They play off of each other.

The not-doing of the Project

When I move my body, I let my tight neocortex relax and I breathe and feel my muscles and lungs and I participate in the basic struggle of a physical challenge. It clears me but it also rejuvenates me.

What is your Project? Let me tell you that it doesn’t matter what your Project is, but you’re most definitely making something new. You’re creating. Maybe it’s a business or a artwork or a book, and that takes energy from all quarters: mental, emotional, spiritual, physical, environmental, social. It really draws from you, and you have to dig deep, you have to pull from your own unique set of resources to get this work done. This is your Project.

Focusing on it solely can zap your balances. It can put you off-kilter. It can leave you blind to unique but surprising approaches that may benefit your situation.

Grounding through the body

That’s what your movement will help with. Yoga, walking, running, clapping your hands 10,000 times in careful rhythm, whatever. The physical body is ground zero: your earthly vessel, your conscious home. It needs variety to stay balanced, to allow for the operations of the other quarters. It needs sleep, food, sunshine, and so on. It needs movement, and this can be manifested in a lot of different ways.

Meditation is good, too, but that’s not the physical I’m talking about. Meditation is fantastic, in fact, but I believe an active physical component to your daily activities is critical to keep your emotions and thoughts on a reasonably even keel. It’s your choice, obviously, what comprises that activity, but I believe it should involve muscles and movement, however gentle or intense.

Sidenote: do this without distractions, please. I know we all are like to each to his own but on this one: no. Be with your mind. Don’t watch TV while you’re on your exercise bike, don’t have stuff in your ears while you’re outside moving around. It’s a distraction, and that’s going against the whole point of all of this: to recalibrate, to recenter, to see what comes up from the depths, to clear the mental or emotional palate. Watching the news while you do this is a waste of your physical moment.

Not-doing is also doing

The whole of your body is involved in creation. All your cells, all your systems: they all add up to create you which is creating the Project.

There are practices around this concept, too—consider somatics, the process of working with mind-body connections. Somatics can be used to treat trauma or anxiety or depression, or to enhance wellbeing and creativity.

A study from UMass Amherst concluded that “somatic awareness seemed to be a means of enhancing and fostering creativity” among the participants, and that due to increased focus on a somatic practice, the participants often felt “themes of self-knowledge, movement from inside to outside, power, energy, receptivity, heightened states of awareness”. Basically, focused awareness of one’s body helps one function better in emotional and mental quarters.

These other quarters—besides mental and emotional there is social and environmental—those need care and attention, too. But for now, for this post, I want to stress how key a little bit of activity is for you. You separate from your outputs and give your body time to link back up with its physical reality which is the ground from which all your work will spring.

A series of frames showing a woman jumping over a stool

Eadweard J. Muybridge, George Eastman Museum