The quote above rests on the wall in my studio. I know this intimately.
I moved to Chicago in 2006 for a postdoctoral position in Biochemistry and molecular genetics at UIC. I worked in a prestigious laboratory with the worlds expert in Anitcoagulation. My Doctoral research was examining the interactions of enzymes involved in the coagulation cascade: Blood clotting.
The human body has fascinated me since I can remember. I knew when I was 16 that I would study biochemistry. It took me longer than some people to finally gather the courage to pursue my dreams. I’m still pursuing them and they shift perpetually.
I found it difficult to emerge amongst the overwhelming noise that bombarded my own inner signal. I quit things most people wouldn’t. I went to college on a scholarship to play the violin—I was recruited in 1984. Who the hell even knew I was down in Louisville, Ky making music?
I wanted to play field hockey in college but apparently I was meant to play music. I left college after 2 years—even though I loved my school—I did not understand that I could get a degree in music and not have to be a musician for the rest of my life. I knew what I wanted AND I knew I didn’t want that. I left college.
I had been cooking in a retreat center in the mountains all summer and rafting and watching luna moths as big as my head and making new friends and so I stayed a while until my parents convinced me that I should be productive—so I was shepherded back to Louisville to live with my parents and get a job.
I started cooking in restaurants and then went off to Italy to study cooking in a 5 star hotel in Salsomaggiore Terme near where my father had grown up. I began to gain weight through college and after. While I lived in Italy I rode my bike everywhere and ate clean food. I worked a lot and spent time with family and lost a lot of weight.
This would be a theme in my life: on purpose, lean—off purpose, fat. Until I stopped the cycle.
When I was 24 I lost over 100 pounds and have kept it off for the last 32 years.
Weight loss is a practice—not a diet.
I lost weight by getting clear on exchange. By resuming physical activity that I loved, eating whole foods that I cooked, and quitting toxins.
There have been periods of my life traceable to relationship woes, job changes, and general angst where it was harder—but its always a practice.
Everything we choose is a practice. What does it feel like to eat things you know don’t make you feel good?
For me change came from the constant awareness that I wanted to feel better.
The book Dopamine nation will give you all the science—and the truth is we are getting a fix, like a drug. There is real hormonal chemistry happening…….every pursuit of pleasure (from a physiological perspective) is rewarded with a pain response—Dr Lembke calls them gremlins who hop on the other end of the see saw to re-equilibrate it.
My personal philosophy assumes that everything is emerging as a consequence of both the tension and unity between interacting systems. I believe that mental phenomena are neither separate nor distinct from physical events.
(Thinking and feeling are deeply connected) What is happening IS felt in the body because thought produces form. And the Body keeps the Score, for sure, as Basel Van Der kolk has written so eloquently.
And sages describe a state without suffering and a way to get there. That way is not to by searching for a remedy, a panacea, a magic bullet, or a pill, but to engage in the ongoing process of learning to become more animated and more connected. To become, in essence, more charged with life force.
My intention is to be progressing toward greater integration through the cultivation of my own energy. My practices allow me to NOTICE when I am not in alignment and to come back faster and with greater ease and with some grace for myself for reacting in an old pattern.
I feel better when I choose grace. This is the guiding Principle of my life and work. It feels good to be kind. It feels good to laugh. It feels good to move.
What feels good to you?
Movement as Meditation is not to create states of ecstasy or absorption but to experience being. In meditation, as in movement, there is a quality of both being and of rest. An arousal of your feelings of trust. Trust in what? Finding your home ground. Paying attention to what is happening in your body.
You are not meditating on anything else.
Whatever we do in life we are affected by our mind.
Movement can be a meditation that allows us to
s l o w the speed of thinking. Let go. Tune in.
Practice being conscious of what is going on in your own body.
What goes on with our body is worthy of respect. Self respect as Joan Didion reminds us springs from accepting responsibility for our lives
Feeding irritation by doing something to get rid of it doesn’t help at all. If you relate to it it can be an expression of well-being and of survival.
There is no point in suppressing what comes up.
The very fact that you are capable of experiencing irritation means that your psychological state is refined and sensitive and intelligent.
Movement allows a type of concentrating that is an expression of well-being.
Parker Palmer wrote that he has never seen “Way” open before him but he has seen way close behind him many times and that is how he knows way is open in front of him.
Way closes behind us, just like my back door. Find a way to surrender. Everyone who does anything great follows some version of this path: you get locked out of the life you thought was yours. You find a new way. You walk towards yourself and you keep going on the path…… internally, you already know everything. Your job is remembering 🙏🏻
The oak tree emerges from the acorn and no amount of forcing can produce an oak tree faster.
Our work is to create the conditions for ourselves to bloom and this requires deep listening and experimentation.
There is no substitute for genuine risk. Whatever we have put on hold in our lives is always there waiting.
Sojourner Truth said, “It is the mind that makes the Body”.
As we invite in new possibilities, I invite these questions…
What feels good to you?
What kind of movement makes you feel better and more alive?
If you’re not sure what that is and want to make a commitment to yourself I invite you to watch the video below
From my heart to yours,