I used to think that Blues music all sounded the same and was sad. I have since grown very fond of Blues music. To me it fuels my spirit and speaks to my soul. Recently I attended a live Blues music event that hosted several bands through out the day. Like many genres of music there are several styles and variations of the Blues but at the base they have a similar theme.
As I attended this event I was struck by the blues dancers. Just like with the various styles of music, the dances and dancers had many variations as well. Most dances were fairly uninhibited as people displayed their interpretation of the music into dance. Some dancers only shuffled their feet with arms swaying; others were more feet and hip than arm. One dancer crouched down and took small little steps while another near by swirled her arms in reciprocal circles like a swimmer. One thing we all had in common was our smiles. We were a happy group “digging” the Blues.
This witnessing of such inhibition and enjoyment was the inspiration of my writing today; the celebration of movement and how freeing it is. Dance and movement helps us connect with our inner selves and helps us shed the mind or ego. Daily movement can be a great precursor to creative activities and problem solving alike. It helps clear out the unwanted baggage we sometimes carry in our heads that keep us weighed down and small in thought and action. And movement connects us to the hear and now and is a celebration of our physical, emotional and spiritual selves.
The author Julia Cameron of “The Artists way” so strongly believed in this concept that she wrote a book about this topic and using walking as a way of clearing her thoughts to drive inspiration for her writings. It is called Walking in this World: The Practical Art of Creativity. Like Julia I have found that I get stuck in my process at time. So when I need to brainstorm on a creative idea or to problem solve something for work implementing movement into a daily practice can clear that clutter and help me focus and to hear my guidance more sharply.
I have found some people feel inhibited and perhaps embarrassed to dance but there are many ways to move. Julia named one way with walking, and of course there is other exercise such as canoeing, jogging and skiing. But here are a few more to get you feeling this is a doable practice for you.
Five ways that you can begin the practice of using movement in your creative or mind clearing practice are:
- Start small with simple things like stomping or marching to a heavy drum beat, gradually add an arm swing or clapping. When your mind is a bit muddled try cross marching (taping the opposite hand to opposite knee) is a good way of organizing the Right and Left sides of our brains.
- Remember skipping? This is a great way of introducing movement and fun; your inner child will smile!
- Swimming or water play is not only seasonal this time of year but good exercise and fun. Great spiritual cleansing and connections can be made near and in water as well.
- Shadow movement with a partner, It is a fun way of bringing another into your movement activities and are gender neutral. This is when one mimics or mirrors the other’s movements without touching the other person.
- Progress to dancing either alone of in a group. If you are shy you can leave the lights off, curtains closed and begin to sway to the music, gradually adding more feet and arms. I like to use music that has lyrics that are in a foreign language as I am not focusing in on what is being said as much as how I feel to the music.
Teresa Van Lanen is a life coach who conducts presentations, seminars, workshops, teleclasses and other events that help people reconnect with their creative spirit and move into more joyful and productive lives. For products and services visit Teresa at www.makingartoflife.com. Sign up for a free quiz to gauge how much creative energy you have and other tips. Follow Teresa on Twitter and Facebook as well.