You are staring at a blank page.
Nothing. No words come to mind. No ideas, no sentences, no story. It is referred to as writers block. Everyone can relate to this and we have all been there in one way or another. It feels a lot like mental constipation. You keep pushing and it becomes more and more stressful until you just put the pen down or the keyboard away (or you let go of the sides of the toilet.)
The solution to writers block is very well known. In fact, no one should really suffer from it because the answer is literally, well, write anything. Put any word or words down on the page and see what words come next. You won’t know this in advance. It is like a conversation with the blank page. You are conversing with your internal thoughts, moving too fast to comprehend. This is improvisation at play. Just as in our movement practice we seek to improvise as a high level of movement practice, we are constantly improvising in our writings and conversations.
So, how can this information be useful to us?
I have been teaching people about their bodies and different ways of using them for over 7 years now. You would think that I know a thing or two about telling myself what to do right?
I fall victim to the same “Movers block” that halts people in their attempt to decide what to do for the day, or what to write in the example above. I hear all too often that people want to workout, or plan to, but then they get to that moment and think “What do I do?”
You might fumble around with an idea or a few exercises, but you keep switching it up and by the end of the session, you’ve simply walked around the gym doing 20 exercises once, or spent more time on your phone being “pretend busy.”
There are two problems to overcome with “Movers block” which I will discuss and address strategies for below.
I am having a hard time getting started.
Newtons 1st law simplified says that objects in motion tend to stay in motion, and objects at rest tend to stay at rest.
Do you know why it is a “Law” and not a “Theory” or “Concept?” Laws mean that they have repeatedly been observed and always applies under the same conditions. In other words, they are truth.Theories can develop and change over time, with new information and discovery. They are as close to the truth as we can understand, but we must also understand we don’t know what we don’t know.
I got this trick from somewhere recently but unfortunately it has slipped my memory. It may have been in a recent book I have read.
When I am on the couch, I want to do nothing but sink further into the couch. This is Newtons law working its magic on me. I do not want to move a muscle as they say, but I know I will feel better if I do, so I ask myself…”What will I move?” The answer is irrelevant, but if you have decided you will move something, then move that thing. Maybe its a single finger, or your spine. Maybe, which is one of my personal favorites, you will make a loud and ridiculous groan as you slide down off the couch into the floor, melting like hot cheese into what is now your new floor work area. Maybe you will slug your way to the front door, where your shoes are waiting for you to walk them.
Figure out what you WILL move, and then move that. See how it spirals into bigger and bigger movements, just as this blog post started with an empty brain and a few random words to get me through the block.
2. I don’t know what to do.
We discussed this a bit earlier and it is a completely common obstacle. I fall victim myself. I have two strategies here for getting over your self-inflicted anxiety and uncertainty about what you should spend your time doing. After all, your time is valuable, and you want to get the most out of your time spent training.
First, work with a teacher. This goes without saying, and I believe in this very strongly. I truly don’t believe there is even an option. You MUST work with a teacher if you want any type of true growth, someone who will challenge you and provide another perspective to your practice and life. Also, the relationship of a mentor/teacher can be a very positive one, leading to growth in other areas of your life besides training. Remember, training is not about learning exercises, it is about learning how you deal with challenges.
Second, KISS. Not a stranger, it is an acronym for “Keep it simple, stupid.” If you have one hour to train, you want to keep it as simple as possible. Work with a few exercises that encourage large ranges of motion and multiple joints or even planes of motion. We refer to these as compound movements. In an hour of typical training I will perform 3-5 total exercises. Sometimes less, sometimes a bit more, but as a general rule of thumb, less is better for most. If you are at home, maybe even doing 1-2 exercises will provide what you are looking for.
If you are feeling blocked in any area of your life, apply these strategies and see what happens. What will you do? Who will be your teacher? How will you simplify the things in front of you?
Do something that you have been wanting to do, but haven’t, before you cant! I look forward to hearing from you.