Week 29/2022: Our bodies are made to move

Week of 18 July 2022

Layers of cloud over the river with a slight orange layer
Sunday morning

Our bodies are made to move

That’s what the shoulder guru physiotherapist said to me at my first appointment on Tuesday.

I mean, I know this, right? We are meant to move, not sit staring at a screen for eight, ten, twelve hours a day, making micro movements there are completely un-natural and cause our backs, necks and shoulders to seize up, get tight and really really hurt.

Or is that just me?

Not only are we meant to move but, thinking back to what I learned from Lisa Grace Byrne many years ago, movement is our bodies’ default setting, a way to experience flow, delight, spaciousness, strength and energy. Our job is to “follow what feels good and to diligently remove the obstacles that prevent our natural flow”. But, says Lisa, we don’t have that experience, that natural desire and crave for movement. Instead, movement feels like an obligation, something we have to force ourselves into doing, check off a list, or feel guilty for not doing.

Lisa’s approach is to listen to the way our bodies tell us they want to move, and to make movement something we do for the joy. Not to punish ourselves, or to whip ourselves into shape to try and make ourselves into something we currently aren’t.

Which is totally not where I started out going with this post but I found it a good reminder that movement doesn’t have to be “exercise” and that if I think it is, I’ll hate it and I won’t do it. I remember how I grew to dislike my morning walks when I was “training” for a big walking event and tracking my walks and my times, trying to reduce my time per kilometre to something that was really uncomfortable. It had turned into “exercise” and I was no longer enjoying it.

Keeping that in mind, the physio gave me one exercise to do on Monday to help un-stick my shoulder. She called it an exercise. I’m calling it a movement.

Part of my issue, as I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, is that when I move a limb, I don’t move the entire limb—in this case I forget there’s more to my shoulder than then end of my arm—and the rest of it gets stuck and sore and irritated. This movement is to help me learn to use my entire shoulder, and I also have to be aware of this when I’m doing similar movements to actually do something like hanging out washing.

The good news is, though, I haven’t actually damaged anything in my shoulder and if I keep practising these movements over the next few months, the problems I’ve been having should start to resolve. I know it’s going to take time, and being able to move more freely will, I hope, make me better able to move in a way that does bring me joy like Lisa says.

I also hope that getting up to do these movements will encourage me to take more movement breaks in general and to break up my lengthy days in front of the screen. It’s hard when my paid employment is mostly screen-based and the work I do for enjoyment is also screen-based. But my body doesn’t like it, and if I want to be the 80-year old who gives up her seat to old people on the bus and walks to the shop every day, I can’t keep doing it!

22 for 2022 update

I did some more work on my INTP instruction manual, which used to be my handbook, which is now a repository for the things I’ve been learning and want to incorporate into my life (thing 12). I set it all up in Scrivener so I can keep track of everything. It’s very organised. (It’s not.)

I worked through the second module of the romance writing course (thing 20) and started the third module. I’m finding it really interesting, especially the amount of work that goes into developing the characters for a romance story. I’m also finding it interesting to be able to identify the elements of a story discussed in the course within the romance novels I’ve read recently. I’m not a die-hard romance fan but I do enjoy reading them every now and then. (That probably rules me out of becoming a real romance writer as one of the things romance writers have to do is read a lot of romance stories.)

I resisted the urge to check on the scoby hotel (thing 5). I’m too scared of what I’ll find . . .

I also had a lovely time on the weekend taking photo exploration walks for a new photo project that I’m really excited about. It’s not on any list but this is fun, it’s relaxing, and it’s important work for me. So I went out and did it.

22 for 2022 summary

  • Things completed to date: 7 (8, 10, 11, 13, 18, 19, 22)
  • Things completed this week:
  • Things I worked on this week: 3 (12, 20, 21)
  • Things in progress: 5 (1, 5, 12, 20, 21)
  • Things not started: 2 (14, 17)
  • Things that are parked until the end of September: 6 (2, 3, 4, 6, 15, 16)
  • Things I’m not going to do: 2 (7, 9)

What do I want to do next week?

The same as this week. Fixing my shoulder, doing the INTP work and going through the romance writing course. Will I dare to check the scoby hotel? Perhaps.

Weekly summary

What was the best thing about this week?

Having a school holiday day with Kramstable was lovely. As was finding out there is no serious damage to my shoulder and the physio thinks we can fix it.

What did I learn this week?

Apparently, if you stand in a department store long enough with a granny shopping trolley they’ll start to suspect you’re up to no good.

This is exactly what happened to me. I was waiting in the menswear section for Kramstable, who was trying some things on, with my granny shopping trolley (which didn’t embarrass him at all . . . .). Every time a staff member walked past, they asked if I was right, to which I would reply, “yes, I’m waiting for someone”. This must have happened five or six times, including the security guard walking past me, looking at me, saying, “yes, she is” into his radio, and then saying to me, “yes . . . you’re waiting for someone . . .”.

I didn’t know whether to laugh at the absurdity of this or feel incredibly awkward that I was getting so much attention when I wasn’t doing anything wrong. I mean, if I was going to shoplift stuff, I’d hardly stand alongside one of the major walkways in the store with a very large shopping trolley, would I? Would I? I don’t know. I’ve never shoplifted. And if I was going to nick stuff, I want a food processor, not men’s clothing.

To add to the embarrassment, something I’d bought at another store earlier in the day set off the alarm at the exit of this store. I didn’t notice them chasing me down the street to find out what it was though, so perhaps after I’d made my large clothing purchase, they realised I really had been waiting for someone.

I wondered if it was the trolley that was arousing suspicion, my lovely N95 mask, or the fact I wasn’t on my phone. Who stands around anywhere without being glued to their phone?

Mildly suspicious activity to say the least. Here, I could say I was taking the lessons from Bored and Brilliant and using the opportunity to practise being bored, but actually I was wearing my contacts because I hate my glasses fogging up with the mask, and to have been able to see anything on the phone I would have needed my reading glasses, and they were somewhere in the trolley bag, and they would have fogged up too . . .  So it was easier to just not.

To cap off the story, on Saturday there was a report in the paper about a “serial shoplifter” who had stolen several hundred dollars worth of merchandise from that store, and several others, and who had been in court the day after my shopping adventure. Maybe they thought I was her.

What I’m reading this week

  • The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
  • Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole by Susan Cain
  • Building a Life Worth Living by Marsha M Linehan

Habit tracker

  • Days I went for a walk in the morning (Goal = 5): 7
  • No phone at breakfast (Goal = 6): 6
  • Days I did my morning planning routine at work (Goal = 4): 4
  • Days I did controlled breathing (Goal = 7): 7
  • No phone at lunch time (Goal = 6): 6
  • Days I did my post-work pack up routine (Goal = 4): 4
  • Finish work by 5.30 (Goal = 4): 4
  • Days I worked on my art (Goal = 2): 5
  • Days I read a book (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I went for a walk or did other physical activity in the afternoon (Goal = 5): 7
  • Days I shut my computer down before 9.30 (Goal = 6): 5
  • Weekly review at work: Yes
  • Weekly review at home: Yes
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