Next body of work coming: "Relational Movement"
What truly drives us to engage in movement of all sortS?
Knowing this is what will keep PEOPLE moving.
WHAT CAN BUILD CONNECTION, A DEEPLY FELT SENSE OF SAFETY AND COMMUNITY IN WAYS THAT WORDS CAN'T?
If we scratch JUST below the surface of what motivates us to find meaning through movement, I believe we are driven by relationship. Improving our relationship with ourselves through our bodies and with other humans or sentient beings and to our environment. Without connected and relatively healthy relationship to our SELVES and with other beings, I don't know that any of us have true meaning or that we truly heal or recover from much in life.
I took a step back a while ago to look at what really works in my movement coaching, particularly in trauma and chronic pain recovery. Yes, understanding nervous system regulation is huge. Yes, coaching people to move out of pain and towards strength and resilience is huge. Yes, being trauma informed is essential. We want to understand how our experiences have affected our brains and bodies. But, what's enlivening and is a key part of recovery of any kind for me has always had one key ingredient. What brings people BACK to thriving...
This is key for how movement as medicine for what ails us will evolve.
Creating deeper and healthier relationship with self and other beings, building community, enriching relationship with the arts and culture, and the environment and finding belonging and safety in the world we live in. Perhaps that's a big reason why I get sincerely bored with a myopic approach to coaching movement. The micro details can be mind numbing when not coupled with a META-MOVEMENT lens, with larger questions of looking at what motivates us, connects us and moves us.
I've learned so much through my personal therapy and being a coach for so many years to such a wide range of humans. My individual clients have been the best place for me to learn and relearn the power of relationship. What people's bodies can do while feeling connected and safe with me is far different that what would happen if they were in isolation. This is the greatest beauty any coach can offer, providing embodied connection and safety. I know how my body feels with people who I feel connected with and safe with is distinct and clear. That's my neurobiology in a happy place. I'm not unique.
This is because the VENTRAL VAGAL COMPLEX AKA the social engagement SYSTEM is 'online'. People can access greater emotional and physical strength when the social engagement system is available, PARTICULARLY WHEN stressed or challenging their physical bodies. Spending more time in the VVC is important for everyone and is one of the strongest predictors of physical and emotional health in every way.
with my clients as teachers and collaborators and resourcing myself through many teachers, I have created a bucket load of tools and a process, both personally and professionally to help make this possible in a myriad of circumstances for a diverse range of humans. Once the VVS is online, so much more diverse movement and strength potential becomes available. Something changes in the air around us as well. Even safe and nourishing physical contact might become possible for people, especially when agency in relationship is restored.
Some of the most interesting work I have explored in terms of activating the VVC is watching couples who are feeling stuck for various reasons communicate with each other through movement. No longer is it dualing amydalas, as my friend Yvette Lalonde says. Lids are flipped back on, the neocortex is available in ways talking doesn't always make possible. Defenses melt. Healthier interpersonal neurobiology (PART: presence, attunement, resonance, trust) kicks in when people choose to listen in a new way through their bodies and through collaborative movement. We can start to notice how we are separate yet connected. There were no more words that could be said to deepen their connection, enliven the parts of them available to connect or bring them back to themselves so that they could be available to each other for authentic communication beyond the story that might be on repeat in their brains or their relationship story. It was through experimenting as coach and collaborators to see if that moment of connection would kick in. Play even becomes available.
I have witnessed profound moments when a movement intervention has been effective for reconnecting people in safe and nourishing ways. I have also witnessed larger groups come together through movement and strengthen social bonds in diverse settings and environments. It's profound. It's transcendent. It's shared experience. And, the label we put on what movement we are doing really doesn't matter as much as the intent behind what we are doing and how it serves to activate the vasovagal system.
Recovery from trauma or any hard stuff in life doesn't happen in a silo. Staying mentally and emotionally well through a lifetime is so strongly determined by relationships and staying out of isolation. Healing happens through community and social bonds. Healing happens through connection to our deeper selves and to people who truly care about us.
RELATIONAL MOVEMENT CAN BE A HUGE INGREDIENT TO MAKING THIS HAPPEN FOR INDIVIDUALS AND COMMUNITIES.
We must not forget why we are doing what we are doing when it comes to health and wellness. Mindful movement can help us reconnect to a more integrated sense of who we are when we come out of physical dissociation or disembodiment. We can feel how our muscles and fascial system are connected. How complex and healthy movement deepens an integrated a sense of how our parts move in relationship with one another. But, learning to 'move better' or increasing connection with our body as a living breathing integrated organism is often only possible when human connection is also online. It's not linear, this connecting with ourselves first and others second. It ebbs and flows. Each so dependent on the other.
So, I'm dropping these thoughts here as I am deep into developing my next body of work.
RELATIONAL MOVEMENT (trademark pending because I'm so excited about it)
RELATIONAL MOVEMENT is defined as:
movement that strengthens social bonds, improves the quality of interpersonal neurobiological communication, activates the ventral vagal complex, brings us into relationship with our environments and brings us out of emotional or physical isolation.
Stay tuned for upcoming trainings and resources.
This is the juice. This is the glue. This is why I do what I do.