Find Your Way: Physical Activity / by Shauna Fallihee

There is intelligence, insight, and truth in your body.  How connected we are to our bodies varies from moment to moment, day to day. Feeling all of the sensations of our body is a homecoming.  It's presence.  For many reasons, we may drift away from our body.  Physical activities are an opportunity to connect to our complete selves. 

What do you like to do?  What are you intrigued by?  What have you always wanted to try?  There are enjoyable, embodied activities for everyone!  Sometimes we assume that certain abilities are a prerequisite when in fact, those abilities are gained by doing. If an activity appeals to you, there is very likely an expression of it that can work for you right now.  

How do I want to feel? 

Calm ... Sweaty ... Comfortable ... Sturdy ... Pliant ... Exhausted ... Challenged ... Flexible ... Agile...

.... all of the above?

Maybe you know exactly what you want to do. A childhood memory of running, swimming, biking, monkey bars, or ballet class might draw you to a deep reconnection. You can bring your adult strength and wisdom to grown-up versions of your favorite childhood activities.

If you’re floating in the vast ocean of choices, consider these inquiries:

  • Do I like to be inside or outside?

  • How much intensity do I want?

  • What pace of experience is appealing to me?

  • Do I want a teacher/coach or do I prefer to explore on my own?

  • How many people, if any, do I want around me?

  • Do I want a goal-oriented activity?  How do I feel about quantified data?

  • Would I like an activity that teaches me about another culture?

Enthusiastic practitioners or the latest article on social media may suggest (or outright state!) that there is one "perfect" way to move or feel or be.  If their suggestions sound appealing, maybe you try them. If they don’t, that’s just more helpful information.  There are infinite resources (books, articles, videos, podcasts, etc.) that can help you start any activity that you're interested in.  The "right" activities are the ones that you choose to enrich your embodied life.

We are biologically wired with certain fears, including fear of failure.  While we rationally know that learning is a process, we may still feel fear of not meeting expectations, even as a beginner.  If this fear is deterring you from connecting with yourself, beginning classes and groups or exploring on your own might initially be more comfortable.  Some physical activities have moments of discomfort.  These moments are incredible teachers.  Facing fear and discomfort openly and with self-compassion is one of the greatest benefits of a physical endeavor. How lovely to get that great benefit on day one!

We are deep creatures with both bodied and intellectual intelligence. To truly share ourselves, we have to know ourselves on all levels.