whether it is your feet, arching
at a primal touch
of sound or breeze,
or your ears,
tiny spiral shells
from the splendour of America’s oceans.
Your breasts also,
of equal fullness, overflowing
with the living light
your eyelids of silken corn
the deep twin landscapes of your eyes.
The line of your back
falls away into paler regions
to the smooth hemispheres
of an apple,
and goes splitting
into two pillars
of burnt gold, pure alabaster,
to be lost in the twin clusters of your feet,
from which, once more, lifts and takes fire
the double tree of your symmetry:
flower of fire, open circle of candles,
swollen fruit raised
over the meeting of earth and ocean.
Your body – from what substances
agate, quartz, ears of wheat,
did it flow, was it gathered,
rising like bread
in the warmth,
and signalling hills
valleys of a single petal, sweetnesses
of velvet depth,
until the pure, fine, form of woman
and rested there?
It is not so much light that falls
over the world
extended by your body
its suffocating snow,
as brightness, pouring itself out of you,
as if you were
Under your skin the moon is alive.”
‘I teach self-care. I create environments for people to investigate themselves. I give them permission to touch their wounds, their blindness and numbness. I believe that deep self-knowledge is the path to healing and repairing the places where we’ve turned our backs on ourselves, where we were ignorant of our own body biases within our tissues and therefore our heart and soul. I help people find where they have unknowingly been at battle in their bodies. I teach this across fractured party lines. I teach people to empower themselves through body sensing and body-relating practices. And I believe that embodied self knowledge fosters compassion, understanding and better inter-relating to other humans. I want to know my neighbor, even if we disagree. I am prepared to do my part in repairing this country. I chose to not be at war with my own body a long time ago.
To my movement educator friends, let’s continue to hold space for people of all ages and stages, let’s honor them by hosting environments where they can find ease and peace. May we unify inside ourselves in order transform the anxiety and fear within society.’ Jill Miller
There is no shame in gaining weight during pregnancy (or ever).
There is no shame if it takes longer than you think it will to lose the weight (if you want to lose it at all).
There is no shame in finally breaking down and making your own jean shorts because last summer’s are just too dang short for this summer’s thighs.
It’s all love
(don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.)
‘…pain is not an input to the brain, but rather an output from the brain which helps lead the mind and body toward their next steps and decisions…
…This almost mind-bending realization is the complete opposite of what most of us have learned about the nature of chronic pain. We’ve generally been taught that if something hurts, it’s necessarily because there is an injury or damage in that place. But the new pain paradigm reveals the brain can choose to create pain for any number of reasons, and actual tissue damage is just one of them. Other factors like emotions, stress, memories of past experiences, and quite importantly, our own personal beliefs about our body and pain can all influence the sensations of pain that we experience. .’
“They thought I was a Surrealist, but I wasn’t. I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality.” Frida Kahlo
“I’ve done my paintings well… and they have a message of pain in them, but I think they’ll interest a few people. They’re not revolutionary, so why do I keep on believing they’re combative?” Frida Kahlo
La Venadita (‘The Little Deer’) Frida Kahlo
Arbol de la Esperanza (Tree of Hope), 1946, Frida Kahlo
My bones are mountains.
My tears, rushing rivers.
The earth’s crust is my skin.
Trees adorn my head.
The sun, moon, and stars
Are in my eyes.
The ether of the Universe is my breath.
Separateness is an illusion.
I am all things and all things are me.
‘Most of us can relate. If you’ve ever walked over a slippery surface or spent any time on ice or snow, chances are you’ve caught yourself altering your movement patterns to prevent a fall; the alteration is a natural response to fear. But if this response is natural, how can it eventually lead to a fall?
It turns out that fear-induced alterations in gait patterns can have a profound impact on the muscles used while walking. Timid walking tends to mean less clearance of the foot from the ground (shuffling), bent knees to lower the center of mass and a reduction in the natural arm swing that balances the movement of the legs.
Being afraid of falling every now and then is no big deal. But being afraid whenever you are walking can reduce the loads to the muscles of the hip, eventually atrophying them to the point where they no longer stabilize the weight of the body as it is moving. Combine instability and poor mobility with a crack in the sidewalk or the unexpected object in the kitchen and you’ve got yourself a fall.’
Take a look at this guy taking the fear out of falling:
‘No one wants to be That Guy who has fallen and can’t get up. The reality, though, is that with beds, couches and chairs abundant, many people have lost the strength to get off the floor because they just don’t get down there anymore. As simple as it sounds, getting down and back up again requires joint mobility and muscular strength.’ Katy Bowman from ‘Addressing the fear of falling in seniors.’
You may have seen the new BBC series How to Stay Young and the sit to stand test they featured. This week’s classes have been based around building strength in the legs and mobility in the hips to enable a more easeful transition from sitting on the ground to standing. Here is the test:
A lot of people struggle to do this movement (see quote above) and so it can be helpful to modify the exercise by using the hands to start with or by lifting the hips up higher than the feet. For example you could start by standing without hands from a chair and then gradually lower the height you are starting from. Also try starting in a different position- try standing from a kneeling position or even a squat and then try coming up with hands, with one hand, and then with no hands.
More importantly, as a longer term measure to build strength, flexibility, coordination, and balance, think about sitting on the floor more often and varying how you are sitting. If sitting on the floor is uncomfortable, add cushions, blocks , or whatever is needed under the pelvis to help take away any tension in the low back or hips.
Click here for details on my ‘Happy Hips’ workshop.
For more inspiration on dynamic living spaces, or just increasing your daily movement, I recommend taking a look at the video here.