“Experience is nothing more than the engine that drives adaptation, so it’s always important to ask: Adaptation to what? You need to know if your particular experience has produced the sort of adaptation that will contribute to survival in the particular environment you choose. And when the environment changes, you have to be aware that your own experience might be inappropriate.” ~Laurence Gonzalez, “Deep Survival”
A couple of weeks ago, I was greeted with an open afternoon and 75 degrees. This is almost unheard of on the Monterey Bay in July, and when it does happen, it is almost guaranteed that I be looking at the clear skies longingly from my studio windows.
But on this particular Friday, I was finished with clients at 1PM. Instead of writing, or taking care of social media, or doing anything else work related, I headed down to the rocks by the water.
As I climbed up and over, around and on, I couldn’t help but find myself grateful I could use my body confidently in this environment. I watched a woman tentatively go partway up the rocks with her son, only to cautiously make her way back down to watch from the safety of the beach.
And I didn’t blame her. For years, I was the one moving cautiously, unsure of my footing and scared I might get injured. Instead of participating with my husband (who moves like a billy goat in these situations), I would be the one standing on the beach, watching. When potential risk outweighs the reward, safety wins.
People train for many different reasons. For some, it’s the physical goal of looking good, for others, it’s more mental- they move because it makes them feel better balanced emotionally, or less depressed, or less anxious. Sometimes it’s a combination of factors, including a quest for reduced pain. My reasons are multi-factorial. Physical activity definitely makes me more emotionally balanced and keeps me calmer, less anxious. There is also something inexplicable about feeling strong enough to pick things up without feeling scared of injury and being able to confidently maneuver over varied terrain, without the fear of falling. I believe training and movement can teach us something about ourselves that is deeper than “how does this make my butt look in these jeans?” When we tap into the greater why, the training becomes more enjoyable. And when you put it into practice, using the body the way it is designed to be used, adapting to the environment and engaging with the natural world in a meaningful way based on your experience, the connection with the here and now is a different interpretation of mindfulness.
Yours in health and wellness,
New online course: I just completed my second online course on the shoulder joint. This was a lot of fun to put together. Check it out here: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/shoulderworkshop
Saturday, August 12: Shoulders, part II: Upward rotation
Saturday, December 2: Jules Mitchell workshop series
Non-Violent Communication, by M Communicating in a way that creates self inquiry and promotes conversation.
Deep Survival, by Lawrence Gonzales. This is my second time through this (I read it in 2005). Excellent takeaways and a fascinating view of the science involving what separates the survivors from the rest.