Walking the Talk
On Saturday I spent the day walking around like a zombie, bumping into things and drinking way too much coffee. I was disoriented and confused from getting up at 2.30am for a bit of a walk and then trying to catch up on sleep later in the morning. I wonder how people on shift work or with babies do it all the time!!!!!
I, like thousands others across Ireland, joined the Pieta House ‘Darkness Into Light’ walk, raising awareness for mental health.
It’s just a wonderful idea that has literally grown legs and quickly spread in popularity over the last 9 years. 150 locations around the island of Ireland hosted thousands of walkers and runners come together to move from the dark into the light as the dawn made its way through the clouds.
Metaphorically it is so beautifully simple. Physically it is an act of showing up, in kindness, something to do to share support and acknowledgement that you know there is a thing called mental health.
There is no requirement to raise sponsorship or set targets. Supporting the event with your presence and your contribution is the simple all-inclusive way you show that you wish to help your own and others mental health, and one way to do that is to move.
Walking is the most simple form of exercise. Just by leaving the house and going for a walk can help change perspective. A change of environment, changes how you feel, how you think and how you move. You leave the safe familiar walls and expose yourself to weather, traffic, sounds, people animals. To hard roads or soft grass. To cold wind or soft rain or bright sunshine. By simply leaving the house and moving even within a ten minute comfort zone, something new and variable has started.
Moving your body, moves your mind, processes your thoughts. Being active in your body effects your mind and emotions and vice versa. You are a whole and indivisible human being. As am I. As is everybody. But we have learned to separate, suppress, shorten and stagnate.
I am not saying walking will solve mental health problems, but it is a tool in self care. And it’s universal. Walking or running for Darkness Into Light is walking together. Sharing the time. Enjoying company. Talking about stuff. Welcoming the light. It’s not a race. It is not about personal bests or records. It’s about showing up. Being together. And moving. Taking one foot and placing it in front of another, walking in a direction you have chosen.
Well done Pieta House for raising awareness of mental health in an inclusive and kind way. Walking the talk.
Picture thanks to The Journal.ie
Alexander Technique is a passion of mine that keeps me working at it. I have turned my back on it many times seeking shinier and more fantastic ways to study, heal, use my body. I have forgotten about it and hurt myself from moving stupidly or being overactive without engaging my mind. And when I hurt myself I come crying back, like a toddler to his mammy. It’s always there as my rescue remedy. It the tool box I go to, to solve my movement problems.
I woke up one morning with all the effects of a decent wedding. Drink aside there were many other symptoms. Sore feet from a day in high heels. Neck tension due to dancing to eighties classics enthusiastically which involved serious air guitar, head banging and general jumping around. There may have been some other unexplained bruises from hijinks, otherwise known as fun.
So while I was having fun I may or may not have been mindfully taking care of myself with Alexanders guide for movement.
Once I was awakened to the fact that my body needed some care and attention, there I was, back to my tool box, experimenting with what ways I could move with ease. Barefoot on the floor I learned the new protective holding patterns: lactic acid burning around my calves; my neck was so tight it felt like a whiplash gathering my head towards my shoulders. I could barely turn my head. A sore foot ankle area. Maybe I had gone over on it.
Not to worry. It was a great night. Let’s do the clean-up.
I worked with freeing my neck. Just the thought brought about relief. My head leading helped the neck muscles release. I hobbled to a mirror and observed the awkward gait. So I took myself to the floor and used my semi supine laboratory for support as I listened to my body.
Soon I got up, moving more freely. I learned that the more rigorous I was with keeping my Alexander directions the easier movement was. And so I left the room and met the wedding crowd. Every time I distracted myself and moved unconsciously my revelry taught me something about movement and so led me back to the tool box and rediscovering myself. Not on the floor now, my laboratory was in the moment when the pain arrived.
I was soon out of pain and back to free movement, much quicker than other revellers.
Every time I lose my way, and I do often, I find my way back to Alexander. Simply because it works. He discovered what is simply there for us to use. I don’t need contraptions or perfect environments or other people, although other people can help in support and direction. It starts when I connect my wayward mind back to my beautiful body and the answers show up.
To me it is simple. If I use my body well it will function well for me. And it just takes my focus to apply it. This is not just to help after nights out. We normally address pain, posture and performance problems. AT can help you move your body well to move you away from pain, or towards great performance. But first you need to build the tool box, understanding how it works.
If you want to build your tool box for your own internal rescue remedy Get to Know Your Body Better. Starting Thursday next May 4th.
Don’t Hold Back
Love Fiona x
I am Fiona and I am exploring themes of meeting resistances and allowing ways through. The constant weeding, recognising the stuff that's in the way to live easier.