Monday, January 12, 2015
Music and Movement (and a Journal)
"Backwoods folks is old and brittle
But they sway like a tree to the sound of a fiddle"
Michelle Shocked Lyrics from "Contest Coming"
Ever seen those crazy YouTube videos of someone dancing enthusiastically at a wedding reception. It all starts out really good, but usually ends in a major crash. I'm always amazed at how well some of the people are able to dance - looks alone tell me they should be much less agile.
What is the role of muscle memory in MS? Those long-beaten neural pathways become scarred and impede the motions that were once so fluid. BUT do the muscles "remember" how to do what they once did? Can we burn new neural pathways to access those memories?
Here's a challenge for today. When you have some down time, go into a room all by yourself. Listen to some music that really moves you or evokes a strong memory. Turn the lights down a bit. Now, just stand or sit and sway to the music. If the ability is there, walk to the music - or just take baby steps in place - or even shift your weight. Attempt to progress in any way that feels accessible, side to side steps, marching, dancing, lifting one leg... Let your mind and body lead you.
Then, add some arms. Sway like that tree. Reach up, out to the side, do curls, swim... Again, whatever moves you. Bend, twist, reach (from a standing, sitting, or even prone position). Explore the movement...
Focus on the music and let the movement come from a deeper, less intentional place. When the song is over, stop. Smile - no matter what the outcome of the experiment.
Now, take a minute and write down your observations. "I found I could..." "I was surprised I could..." "I was limited by..." "I would like to..." "This could progress to..." I am upset that..."
and "Next time, I will..."
Then, after a day or two repeat. In fact, repeat this exercise. Do this 4 or 5 times in total. Always include the journal entry afterward.
What did you notice? Patterns? Increases: Decreases? Joy? Frustration? Freedom? Journal it!
After some time passes (I usually aim for the next season) - repeat the entire exercise. Move and journal a few times each season of the year and see where this small, intentional journey leads you.
I am NO dancer, but this exercise has led me to explore limits in my motion and areas where I would like to improve. It has led to tears of sadness as I deal with what I have lost, and tears of joy as I celebrate what I can still do. It is a physical exercise with a strong emotional component.
I hope you "sway like a tree!"
Log your thoughts here. I'd love to hear your reactions!!