Movement Ecology, Part VI
Movement Ecology: The A to Z study of human locomotion.
Over the last two weeks, we've been looking at ways we can assess our current capacities. Of the three we identified previously, we've looked at two thus far:
Using your own felt sense about your movement competence (as it relates to one particular movement or to an entire movement genre).
Enlisting help from a guide of sorts, be it a book, video, or person (class, one-on-one, etc.), to help you assess your movement competence.
This week, we're going to delve into a third way: Comparing your specific movement competence with that of someone you wish to emulate.
All of us have people we admire: "successful" people; athletes, TV and movie personalities; religious, community, and business leaders; etc. Watching someone you admire, who moves in a way you'd like to be able to move, is a great way to assess where you are compared to where you'd like to be. Such a comparison, though, can be dangerous in that it could lead you (1) To feel discouraged (seeing that you may not move with the same mastery as the person you admire) or (2) To behave destructively (motivating you to attempt a form a movement that's way beyond your current capabilities [which can lead to significant injury, even death]). Given these two possible negative consequences (and to guard against them), I offer the following suggestions:
As you watch the movements of someone you admire, give thanks for the ability that one has. Express your admiration for the time (often decades long) and hard work that person obviously put in to perfect his or her craft.
Tell yourself the following: "With time and dedication, I can learn to do the same things. I will observe the way this one moves, and I will picture myself someday being able to move in a similar fashion." As you say these things, let yourself feel what it might feel like to achieve what you're visualizing. Let yourself, too, revel in what it would feel like to know you stuck with it and never gave up on your dream.
Ask God to train you, to put together a system of training, to help you take things slowly, and to practice diligently, patiently, healthily, and mindfully each element of your system. Thank God, too, for giving you the ability to move and the ability to improve with mindful practice.
Do all these things, my friends, and, in time, you'll begin to move more and more like the person you've been visualizing(1). In fact, one day you may even surpass that person's abilities and, through your own fluidly creative ways, inspire someone just like you to move well, too.
Next week, we'll look at creating a plan—actually, a system—for migrating from where you are right now to where you'd like to be.
Humans have the unique and amazing ability to be like that which we observe. We are an imitating species; it's one of the the primary ways in which we learn. Such a trait has been woven into our DNA. That's why I think it's really important to observe (watch, listen to, study, imitate) those we admire. In many ways, when you do such things, you cannot help but become like the person you admire.
My new book, Experiments in Prayer: Monastic Practice in Ordinary Life, is now available on Amazon in Paperback and Kindle/eBook formats.
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A Note to All My Blog and Social Media Friends and Followers:
I've made it a point, over the last decade, to accept friend and follower requests from any who ask. I think I've "defriended" only three or four people in the last ten years and did so only because they posted inappropriate material to one of my walls or timelines. Thankfully, it's been several years since anyone committed such a breech of etiquette.
I write all this to indicate I have many "friends" and "followers," whom I do not know personally (yet!). Lately, I've been getting countless (sometimes more than 200 a day) messages from people I don't know. Please know this: I speak a brief word of blessing over each person who sends me a message, but I can respond directly to only a few each day. If I did not discipline my activities in this way, I could, conceivably, spend my entire day every day responding to such messages.
By disciplining myself to the above social media activity-limitation plan, I in no way want to belittle or disrespect anyone or hurt anyone's feelings. My hope and prayer is that, even if I don’t respond to your message directly, you will know I cherish you and pray you'll experience God's love and grace personally and deeply. Experiencing God is the highest Good anyone could ever experience. May each of you experience such Good through your pursuits of Divine Union with Jesus Christ, the Eternal Living God.
As always, may the Lord bless you and keep you…
IKIGAI Weekly Blog Schedule (per The Training Trinity):
Mondays: Meditative Prayer
Wednesdays: Holistic Discipline
Fridays: Martial Arts Practice