Below is an email I sent out to my bodywork e-list, and it’s been one of the more popular I’ve written, lots of people writing back to say thanks and that this was helpful. In that spirit, I’d like to share it here, for anyone to read. (If you’d like to be on that list, you can click here.) Hope this is useful, as always, LB
Let’s cut to it. This email is all about a handful of things that I’ve been finding really helpful, transformative even, in my life.
I’ve experienced more change in this year that possibly ever before in my life … probably a good chunk of that is just growing older, as you do, though this year for whatever reasons has felt huge.
And as we all know, I think, big change can be pretty disorienting. Every activity, person, website or thing I mention below has been an integral part of making this process as graceful as it could be for me in—if you’ll pardon the new age vernacular—body, mind and spirit.
Last pre-flight check-in: there are lots of links and information below, and if the magnitude feels overwhelming at all, that’s a great time to just skim and check out only what seems interesting. Let your genuine interest be your guide (now and always!).
Walking has found its place as my new favorite exercise. Seriously. I enjoy walking some every day. It’s a deeply integrative movement for the nervous system, for our whole being, that we’ve had as long as we’ve been upright to evolutionarily adapt to. My daily exercise now is always a walk, usually a 10-45 minute stroll through the neighborhood or a natural place like the arboretum or, if I’m lucky and have the time, the mountains. These walks may be in addition to, but are never replaced by, more strenuous exercise.
Exercise beyond walking: I run, climb and lift weights only as much as sounds fun. That’s my new barometer to guard against overtraining, and I love it. (Granted, for some of us, a certain amount of willpower is necessary to get the ball rolling. If that’s your case, I’d suggest by all means employ that willpower as needed, though also pay close attention to a feeling of heaviness, stiffness, boredom or disengagement once you’re moving … These are all signs that, to me, mean you should change something.)
Improvisational dance has been an amazing addition to my life the past few years. The unknown of the dance floor is like the expanse of the mountains used to feel to me. There is a unique moment-to-moment kind of focus in dancing, especially when you introduce a partner like in contact improv, where the next move can only come from—be created by—the body itself. I got my start into this world dancing here three times a week, and going to dance-centric, alcohol-and-drug-free events like this one.
I love to eat. I also love the feeling of the nourishment I’m provided by what I choose to eat, when I have a choice. I think it’s unfortunate that so many “healthy” ways of eating are defined by what you’re giving up: no white sugar, no refined grains, no dairy … “Well?” It’s natural to think, “what’s left?“
What’s left is what we’ve been eating for most of our human evolution. What’s left, for me, is a kind of mental and physical clarity that I hugely enjoy.
My food choices now are mostly in the realm of Paleo, that is fruits and vegetables and meat from humanely-raised, open-pastured animals. I don’t tend to choose much beyond that, including alcohol, dairy, grains beyond occasional rice and quinoa. Those things just don’t do me right.
Again, all of this if I have the choice. If I can’t eat my ideal things, I adapt just fine, but also don’t use a little inconvenience as an excuse much anymore (because it’s not about following the rules and getting it right, it’s about how I feel in my body, right now, and how what I eat affects that).
Here are links to my new fave cookbook, and two websites I really enjoy on nutrition, movement and more: Humans Are Not Broken (which had me at the title) and Mark’s Daily Apple.
Also, here’s a link to the new self-care page on my website, which includes a few supplements I take on occasion.
The following teachers/guides/poets have been so helpful for my transition into adulthood; I’d whole-heartedly recommend any of them.
- Adyashanti: a CA-based, Zen-esque spiritual teacher.
- Tobin Giblin: also CA-based, does phone sessions that have changed my life, immensely, for the better.
- The Presence Process: a guide to emotional clarity that, among other things, really changed my relationship to what I thought I needed in order to be happy.
- Zen Habits: one of my favorite blogs, very tangible, humble, real writing.
- The poetry of Rilke, Hafiz and Rumi.
- … And all of my dear friends and family, no hyperlinks but immeasurable thanks for the closeness and care of community, no matter the size.
The Rest and Stay Tuned
Would you like to hear more about anything in particular I’ve written about above? I’d be happy to share more. Send me an email or give me a call; let’s talk shop.
Upcoming: new writing, classes I’m teaching and classes I’m taking, and more.
Thanks for staying tuned. I’m happy to be on this journey with you.
Liam Bowler, LMP, BCSI : Dynamic Alignment Bodywork