The moon dances across the sky in a continuous movement of magic. Every night it presents a new face to us, slowly coursing with the stars in an arc that begins as the sun sinks away and ends with the sun rising once more.
All of life dances in movement around us. Though we may sit in stillness for a time, the truth is there is movement even in our stillness as our breath courses through our body, it’s rhythms in sync with the moon and the tides and all of creation around us.
Because all of life is movement, and movement is in all of life.
It is only in death that true stillness comes. And even then, the body degrades, it doesn’t remain static but, if left to nature, simply returns to the nature from whence it came. To molecules and atoms that combine with everything around us, flowing into the movement of the universe, of life, once again.
It’s funny that we so often are surprised by the changes that the movement of life brings. As we grow older we look around us with raised eyebrows at children we once raised now raising children of their own and wonder how the time passed so quickly. We see neighborhoods we thought we knew well tearing down old buildings for new, music and fashion trends shifting like pools of oil on water, and we begin to feel irrelevant when once we felt we were the world.
We fear the movement of life as we feel it brings us closer to our own death. Yet without this movement, we are dead already.
It’s sort of a conundrum.
The reality is, as we move, as we allow our bodies and minds and spirits to shift and spin and dance with the rhythm of life, we actually will find ourselves healthier, happier, and shifting away from that death we may fear. Why is this? It’s not that we won’t die, or that the movement takes us away from it. Death is a reality of life and the only real certainty within it.
But movement of any kind can and usually does keep us so ensconced in life that we dance away from death, at least for as long as we’re moving.
The first thing a doctor will tell us when we need to get healthier is to move. Begin walking every day, they’ll say, even for a little bit. Take up yoga or swimming. Do something physical with your body to get it moving, this is the first thing any health practitioner – whether traditional, holistic, or harmonic – will tell you to do. Movement is key to the body functioning properly, and key to helping it live longer.
So we see that physical movement is indeed a way of dancing us away from death’s door and into the cycle of life. Movement quite literally is life.
Mentally we also need movement. As our minds are challenged, they grow, they stay sharp, they are able to keep our attention on life and in life. We stimulate our minds by reading, learning new things, having discussions with others, interacting, writing, crafting, playing games, singing songs, doing puzzles – basically doing things that make us use our brains for more than just breathing exercises. When we become depressed we often find our brains stagnate, become dull. We run out of ideas and with them we run out of energy as well.
All movement stops when we fall into the pit of depression.
That’s because our emotions also need movement. If we’re unable to move through our emotions then we become stuck in a pattern of unreality. Whether the “positive” ones such as joy or the “negative” ones such as sorrow, if we stay in those emotional spaces we are no longer living in the reality of this moment of life.
True joy is not something that you hold onto forever, but neither is sorrow.
Those who say they’re happy or joyful “all the time” tend to be hiding deep pain within, pasting false smiles on their faces while spiritually bypassing all negative emotions in order to fool themselves into believing all is fine. But those around them can generally see through the charade, and ultimately the negative emotions being buried will come out.
Either that, or this person who claims to be joyful all the time will live a life that is shallow, never experiencing the depth of emotions we each have the opportunity and potential to achieve, if we allow ourselves to do so. They will never have experienced the true heights of joy, but only a false fool’s gold rendition of it.
And those who choose to stay in their grief or sorrow will turn towards bitterness, their spirits becoming twisted as they bury themselves in their own pain. They may believe they have to be this way, but those around them know the truth – that they are using their pain to avoid living without it. Pain can become a source of pride for people, something they wear on their sleeve like a badge, believing it makes them somehow more important because of it.
It is also a way to avoid taking responsibility for being alive, to stay away from those who could help them truly live, to hold at arm’s length the love they could be allowing themselves to experience. Pain is a great way to build up a wall around yourself to protect yourself from more pain, or the fear of it. And it, too, keeps people in a shallow state of emotional being, they are just as limited in their emotional health as those who stagnate in a state of perpetual false “happiness.”
Emotions are meant to be moved through, not squatted in like vagabonds destroying someone else’s property.
Emotions need the freedom to express themselves and then pass through us, to ebb and flow within us just as our breath does, just as our thoughts do, just as our body does… with the motions of the moon.
Movement can be difficult to do, however. Even when we know we need it. Even when we crave it. Movement, like life, can be hard.
Sometimes that’s because what we really need is rest in that moment, not big movement, but the quiet, silent movement of the body simply breathing. We need the nights the moon is waning, the crescent becoming smaller until there is that single night of darkness when there is no light at all. Though there is movement, it is that of a body sleeping.
During these times, it’s OK to simply be. To allow your mind to drift and daydream. To take a nap in the middle of the day rather than take a walk. To feel nothing or, if anything, perhaps a little depression, or just numbness, or maybe even not bad but not good – just “eh.” Sometimes this is all the movement you need, just breathing. Just living. Just being.
Sometimes that is all the movement you can do. Drifting slowly along with the currents of life.
There are those for whom just that much movement is an amazing thing. Just being alive another day is the accomplishment, the goal, and the thing in which they find their gratitude.
Sometimes that person is me.
But other times, there is grand movement that needs to happen. A big dream that needs to be realized, a huge goal accomplished. Taking not just a walk but a hike. And then taking that further and climbing a mountain, or walking for two weeks along the Camino. And then we feel everything, all of it, the highs and lows, the joys and sorrows. We cry with deep grief over the death of someone we love, and we cry as well with tears of great joy over the birth of a child to someone else we love.
We’ve taken the oars and are kayaking down the river of life with our eyes wide open, taking it all in. And loving every minute of it, alive in every second of it. We are the crescent moon coming to life, turning to full, shining with the brightest of light down into the darkness below, presenting the world with a beautiful face.
Sometimes that person is me as well.
And even in this, in recognizing that there are these many types of movement in our lives – the quiet times when we drift along and the exciting times when we are pulling ourselves forward with broad strokes – we see the movement of life itself as it courses through our veins, pumping in every heartbeat. The grand movement of the seasons of our lives, and the small movement of each hour within that season.
Movement can be scary. Life can be scary.
It can be difficult to move, especially if we don’t really want to do so. If we are comfortable where we’ve been, or are happy with what we have. If we aren’t ready to move anywhere, or don’t feel able. It can be hard to move even if it’s something we are planning, or choosing to do for our own good.
Yet most often we’ll find that once we actually begin the process, once we start the initial stretching of the hand or motioning of the foot and bring ourselves from sitting to standing, though difficult at first, we can get up. And once we are up, we find we’re able to go.
If we can let go of the fear or anxiety over it, and if we can allow ourselves to just relax and go with it, then usually we’ll find we also begin to really enjoy the moving process. Or at least we’ll come to see the adventure within it. We’ll come to appreciate what it is offering us. We’ll come to enjoy life a bit more – perhaps even a lot more. Perhaps we will even find ourselves falling in love with it all over again.
Life, that is. We fall in love with life when we allow ourselves to dance with it.
Because this is what we are meant to do. It is what we are made to do. It is part of our very nature.
We follow the moon and stars as they traverse above us, we walk across this earth as it spins beneath us, we circle the sun thinking it rises and sets when in reality we are rising and setting towards it… we move, constantly we move.
And as we move, we live.
So do not fear movement in your life. Do not fear the movement of your life.
For movement is life, and life is in every movement.
By JEANETTE DUBOIS
Jeanette is a film & tv editor, writer, director and producer who’s worked on Emmy & Telly Award winning shows, movies, and music videos for a variety of networks. She’s also a trained operatic who mostly sings to her cats now, though sometimes she expands her audience to her family & friends. She loves gardening, good books, good wine, and good conversations, preferably all at the same time.
Connect With Us on Social Media!
Part 1 of Kathlene McGovern’s 2 part series on the best and safest ways to travel with your furry friends!
Dove Rose give us ideas on how to stay curious! Keep it Fresh in the Kitchen, on the Drive and in your Life. New ideas to keep our mind alive!
Ken Craft of Hope of the Valley lives unhoused on the streets of the San Fernando Valley for 100 hours and shares the challenges, insights and struggles he faced on this journey.