“I am made and remade continuously. Different people draw different words from me.” -Virginia Woolf
How did you start your morning today? Did you roll over, grab your phone, and check your messages like I did? Shouldn’t we be checking our bodies’ messages first?
Whether or not we choose to listen, our mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual bodies are in constant communication. Over-scheduled as we are, our workouts can often feel like our only chance to hear the conversation!
But what if we could incorporate more moments of mind/body consciousness throughout the day? These micro-meditations might just have the power to change us, inside and out, through the life-giving power of attention. When we don’t pay attention to the different aspects of our awareness, it is easy to get caught up in the familiar web of rhythms, movement patterns, and coping mechanisms that do not serve us. Every time you notice your internal experience spiraling toward negativity, stop the tape and record a new message that aligns more closely with who you are becoming.
So how exactly do we flip the script? The average human being thinks 20,000 thoughts a day. That’s 20,000 opportunities to re-train the brain for change. The first step is to establish a baseline for where you are now. That could take the form of a to-do list for the mental realm, a feelings inventory for the emotional realm, or a detailed body scan for the physical. As your options become clearer, notice how your will to choose becomes stronger. If you like the results of your choice, whether it is a positive thought or pleasant sensation, express what has changed out loud, and with gratitude! Your nervous system will use your verbal feedback to reinforce the new neural pathways you are forming. This is the cutting-edge theory of neuroplasticity, the process of changing the architecture of the brain to support you in consciously creating the life you desire!
Contributed by Jamie Skinner
Jamie Michelle Skinner is an extroverted introvert, occasional hermit, writer, dancer, and somatic educator. After losing over 100 pounds through her passion for dance, her mission is to inspire dancers from all walks of life to find freedom, joy, and health through “writing” their own story on the dance floor, using a vocabulary of mellifluous movement creativity that is both universal and unique, and grounded in the body’s own natural intelligence.
Jamie is a graduate of the University of Maryland’s prestigious Philip Merrill College of Journalism, where she studied news reporting and literary journalism under greats like Judith Hillman Paterson, author of Sweet Mystery: A Book of Remembering. Jamie also studied art history and literature at the University of Ireland’s Dublin campus.
Recently, Jamie has become an avid practitioner of Nia, a movement form encompassing dance arts, martial arts, and healing arts, that is adaptable to many levels and abilities. Since completing her white belt in October 2014, she has undergone three specialized Nia trainings, and is now certified to teach Moving to Heal Nia, Nia FreeDance, and Nia 5 Stages, a developmental movement practice for self-healing. In addition, she is a Pilates Sports Center teacher-in-training. Jamie lives in Santa Barbara, California.