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The Sanctuary of Stillness; the Joy of Movement

Stillness now brings me sanctuary; movement still brings me joy.

Breaking Bones

As a young child, I broke my femur on three separate occasions. Foolish, I know! One minute, I'd be playing with friends, the next I'd be on the ground and rushed off to hospital for extended periods of enforced stillness. The cartwheeling, galloping gymnast had her pause button pressed most unwillingly. The same just happened to my mother. One minute, she was sitting at her desk, the next, she was on the floor and taken off by ambulance for pins and plates and the slow process of convalescence.

So, I am now writing from rural England, where the spring flowers are bursting open all around me. I have been exploring the woodlands and fields, imagining the footprints of thousands of travelers before me. I wander along an old pilgrimage route between Salisbury and Winchester cathedrals.

Knowing that in South Africa, leaves are retuning to earth to nourish roots, I have been feeling into the cycles of birth, aging, death and rebirth and contemplating how our roles change as we move along this continuum. Our parents care for us as youngsters, and we are sometimes given the chance to repay that kindness, with a different type of parenting. Perhaps that's what 'adulting' is!

Healing through Dance

After one spell in hospital, I returned home with a limp, and my mother signed me up for ballet lessons. I loved the demi-pliés, big mirrors, the leotards and tutus, the performance and twirling. I wasn't so great at the discipline, though. So this time around, I get to be the disciplinarian! I've been taking mum through some somatic yoga sequences, the exercises from her physiotherapist, and best of all, getting her to dance. In this way, she is becoming aware of which parts of the body hold tension and which parts can relax and respond to the music. It's a conscious dance form, called Expressive Movement, rather than ballet. It is the moving meditation practice that sustained me during the pandemic and it's been a pleasure to see her own dance unfold, as she feels her body's willingness to move again.

I've been sensing that my hospitalization and restriction on my freedom of movement gave me a deep appreciation for the body's ability to heal and it's joy in movement. I love the flow and harmony of a vinyasa yoga class, hearing everyone breath together. I love the quiet strength of chi gung, and the grounded connection to the earth. I delight in the dance, the creativity and range of movement, inspired by rhythm, instrument and tone. My body loves to move, and I love to facilitate that for others.

Expressive Movement

Every week, you can enjoy #ThursdayExpressions, a moving meditation online at 6.30pm CAT (GMT+2). On the second Thursday in each month, I have the joy of facilitating, and this coming Thursday 8th April, I'll guide a session called Listen Deeply.