"Were you a dancer or a gymnast?" "No, I'm just a mover. Self-taught"
"Oh. Ok, so you're just naturally gifted then. Lucky you"
This is one of my favorite “backhanded” compliments. The kind that inspires a full-on self-inflicted palm to the forehead. Instead, I just fall back into diaphragmatic breathing and remember the current misconceptions surrounding movement. Then I get back to my training, peace and happiness (or frustration) resumes.
It’s not that I don’t appreciate people ‘mirin - quite the opposite. Witnessing good movement inspires me and I hope my movement inspires others. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that it feels great to impress people. But to boil thousands of hours of practice down to being “naturally gifted” just kind of feel like you’re getting short changed. One of my favorite sayings is, “Not everything is for everyone”. This message is cemented in my head with an image of a T-Rex trying to do push-ups. Makes me laugh EVERY time, but I digress. The point is, when it comes to movement we all have bodies that are best suited for moving in certain ways over others.
But movement is our gift, and it is what our body was designed to do. So congratulations, if you were lucky enough to be born with full movement capacities then you are "naturally gifted".
That gift will grow and reward you with greater and greater freedom if you just use it.
We seem to be quick to forget this and we take our ability to move for granted. That is until something happens that compromises our ability to move. All of a sudden we become very aware of what a gift freedom of movement actually was. I forget this ALL THE TIME. Mostly when I’m comparing myself and my movements to something cool I saw on the internet. Comparisons are silly, but we make them all the time - just keep yourself in check. I have to step back and remember that how I choose to move is naturally - in that it is expressed from within myself. By expressing myself through movement I become “gifted” - the recipient of a gift.
Using a gift keeps us present in the moment, mindful, and process-focused. These are all places that happy people typically reside.
You are naturally gifted. Deal with it. Take advantage of it. Here’s how:
1. Thank your body. Everyday, show some appreciation for your health and movement. This doesn’t have to me a big deal but simply acknowledge the fact that without your body you couldn’t live your life. You can go one step further and thank your body by taking care of it with replenishing movements and self-care.
2. Explore your movement. This really is as simple as hanging out in a squat position, or moving around the ground. This is an exercise in kinesthetic creativity, not today’s WOD. Need some ideas? Check out this video.
3. Make it a practice. We talking about practice. A little bit everyday, practice to be better. If you aren’t learning anything from your movements, you’re doing it wrong.
4. Don’t place limits on yourself. Lots of external factors will limit us from ever reaching our full physical potential, and that’s completely ok. However, putting limits on yourself only creates a self-fulfilling prophecy.
5. Perfection is a myth. Your movements are your movements. They’ll expand, evolve, ebb & flow, but they are yours. Embrace them and reject any idea of movement perfection - it will only freeze you or frustrate you. There’s nothing wrong with pursuing better, just double-back to step 3 and keep it light-hearted in the process.