Monday, July 29, 2013

Movement is Joy

I wasn't a very physical child. I was clumsy, slow, uncoordinated, and I disliked all team activities. My memory of gym classes are filled with frustrations, physical and emotional. I equate sports with rage and fear. I associate fitness with tedium and misery. In addition, my Taiwanese childhood was academically competitive and physical education was simply considered secondary. As a result, I grew up cerebral, detached from my own physical existence.
I was a stranger in my own body. I looked down on it as a collection of base instincts with nothing to offer. I resented my dependence on having a body. I struggled to rule over my body like a master driving her stubborn mule, and found it incompetent.
Obviously, this was not a good way to be, nor was it healthy or natural. It took me awhile to become ONE person. I am my body. My body is me. There is no struggle. There is nothing to struggle with.
It all started with the joy of movement.  
Impressed by Broadway musical, I took tap dancing lessons. Moved by the winter Olympic, I enrolled in ski camp. As I tapped across the dance floor and glided down the snowy slopes, I thought:!
There is an innate pleasure in movements. Try this in the morning: wiggle your toes when you wake up in bed. Strangely, even the simplest movement tugged on something deep inside. It’s good to have toes. It’s good to move. It’s good to be alive.
Then I tried other things: tango, rock climbing, contact improv, taijiquan, systema. With each activity I learned, my competency grew, so did my confidence. But it wasn't just the better use of the body that kept me going. It wasn’t just the fun either. It was something deeper and simpler. It was to experience the world through my body. Some of you might say: umm, isn’t that called “living”?  
Let me explain what I mean. Different activities make me interact differently with my environment, with other people, with myself. My perception changes. My senses open. The line between body and mind ceases to be. Through movements I come to experience the world anew. Such is the joy of movement. And as such I would like to continue to move, to climb, to dance, to swim, to run, to live.
Maybe for me it is not about “Faster, Higher, Stronger”, or even “Be the best you can be.” Maybe it’s simply that “Movement is Joy”.

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