other people's things

You Are How You Move

I teach movement at Praksis. I spend lots of time training and exercising.

Because of this, you might think I espouse the idea that everyone should be training a few hours a day.

I enjoy what I do and my training has improved my experience in the world. But I notice this most outside of the realm of training activities.

Movement is about so much more than working out. It's about how you live.

It's about limiting the immobilising factors of the world.

Some immobilising factors to consider:

  • Constantly sitting.
  • Practicing looking down with your neck forwards (at your phone or laptop).
  • Wearing restricting shoes.
  • Wearing restrictive clothing.
  • Never putting your hands above your head, say, to hang from something.
  • Focussing on ‘posture’ meaning your spine is immobile.

Removing some of these immobilising factors is, in many ways, more important than any time spent at a gym working out. Sometimes working out might exacerbate injuries caused originally by being immobile.

Look for ways to bring nutritious movement into your day. I recommend the video below and everything from Katy Bowman's channel. But before you watch, stand up!

Move your body!

Embracing the Work

Something I read on Seth Godin's blog this week got me thinking.

If you don't have time to clean up, you don't have time to cook.

The good part of your thing isn't the whole thing.

Even the stuff you love takes work. It takes preparation. Cleaning up afterwards.

And probably, most of the time, you don't love the crap parts of your thing.

The good parts don't magically make the work not work. You can be passionate about cooking and not like cleaning up sometimes.

Both can be true at the same time.

Stop worrying about figuring out what you're passionate about. Figure out what work you're prepared to do and do it.

Embrace the work and you'll enjoy the good part of you thing more.

Important Books I Read in 2018

You read some books at the right time. Something in them shifts the way you think.

It could be that you've been leading up to that shift for some time. Perhaps the book has a completely new idea to you.

I read a lot of books that changed things for me this year. Here's a list:

Braving the Wilderness - Brene Brown Rising Strong - Brene Brown The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck - Mark Manson Sapiens - Yuval Noah Harari The Story of the Human Body - Daniel Lieberman How to Change your Mind - Michael Pollan Why We Sleep - Matthew Walker How Emotions are Made - Lisa Feldman Barret Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers - Robert Sopolsky Non-violent communication - Marshall Rosenberg Atomic Habits - James Clear This is Marketing - Seth Godin

The Means are the Ends

Seth Godin:

Do the ends justify the means? Is it worth lowering your standards and giving up your principles in order to find a better outcome? Many times, the means are the ends. How we choose to act changes who we choose to become. The way we choose to get to where we're going defines what it's going to be like when we get there.

Take shortcuts and you're just practicing taking shortcuts.

You can still start where you are and be the beginner. There's no shame in that.

Do it properly.

Unlimited Chances

On Seth Godin's blog today

A Toyota Prius passed me at 100 miles an hour. I didn’t know a Prius could even go that fast. The driver was passing on the right, using the breakdown lane, zigging and zagging across traffic. If a car could careen, he was.

The problem with this sort of fast passage is that there’s no room for error. One mistake, one failure, and you’re out.

The other sort of rambunctious, risky forward motion is very different.

This is the work we do when we’re out on a limb with a new idea. When we’re sharing ideas that feel personal or important. This is the work of practical empathy, and most of all, of acting ‘as if’ before we’re sure.

The thing is–even though this might feel as risky as driving down the Saw Mill River Parkway at 100 miles an hour, it’s actually the safest work you can do. If you fail while trying to help, you’ll get another chance. And then another.

Unlimited chances.

This doesn't just apply to sharing ideas or work. It applies more broadly to being a human too. You can careen down the path of weight loss or some other goal. You can go very fast towards that goal.

But it's risky, you might crash.

The other kind of rambunctious risky forward motion comes when you go out on a limb with your practice. You act as if you're already who you need to be before you're sure. You practice empathy for yourself and move forward towards your goals.

You're trying to help yourself get there. If you fail while you're trying to help, you get another chance.

Unlimited chances.

Sleep Plants the Seeds of Your Memory

Simon and Garfunkel’s song, The Sound of Silence, describes quite accurately the process by which sleep plants the seeds produced during wakefulness so they can be remembered the next day. Here’s the first verse:

Hello darkness, my old friend I've come to talk with you again Because a vision softly creeping Left its seeds while I was sleeping And the vision that was planted in my brain Still remains Within the sound of silence

The rest of the song is about relaying the days waking events in the form of a vision to the sleeping brain at night:

In restless dreams I walked alone Narrow streets of cobblestone 'Neath the halo of a street lamp I turned my collar to the cold and damp When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light That split the night And touched the sound of silence

And in the naked light I saw Ten thousand people, maybe more People talking without speaking People hearing without listening People writing songs that voices never share No one dared Disturb the sound of silence

"Fools" said I, "You do not know Silence like a cancer grows Hear my words that I might teach you Take my arms that I might reach you" But my words like silent raindrops fell And echoed in the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed To the neon god they made And the sign flashed out its warning In the words that it was forming

And the sign said, "The words of the prophets Are written on the subway walls And tenement halls" And whispered in the sounds of silence

I’m reading Matthew Walker’s book, ‘Why We Sleep - The New Science of Sleep and Dreams’. It’s opening my eyes in a big way to the importance of sleep. You can expect me to write a lot more about sleep in the coming months.

One more fascinating tidbit of information from that book while you’re here:

If you are sleep deprived (especially REM sleep - where most dreaming occurs), you become bad at reading emotions on peoples faces. You can’t distinguish one emotion from another with accuracy, and it takes your brain much more work to try.

What’s more, because you can’t distinguish the emotions accurately, you tend towards ‘danger’ as a ‘just in case’. You are much more likely to perceive the people around you to be in a bad mood or even threatening even when it’s not true.

If, on the other hand, you have a good nights sleep, your ability to detect emotions in facial expressions becomes much more accurate and much easier to perform.

Dreaming is an important part of the way you process your emotions AND tunes your emotion sensing skills.

I am finding this book to be delightful and surprising.