A Day on the Beach by Anna, 2008
What was the first thing you thought about this morning? Did you think about your dream and wondered what it meant? Did you think about the list of things you have to do today? Did you think of breakfast? Of a work situation? Of your parents, partner, your child or your pet? Was it a creative idea you want to work on? Was it an unusual thought, or something you typically think in the morning?
I was thinking of how my body feels rested after a long day of swimming and spending time on the beach yesterday. I am not an especially athletic person, never have been, and sometimes forget that my body needs movement, that it is one of the very main reasons we actually get our bodies – so we can do stuff with them. It’s a common problem for writers and thinkers though. Most writers quite probably would prefer to forget that we have not just our mind to compose the thoughts and remember things, and not just our heart and soul to experience emotions and to love, but we are also given our bodies that need to eat, sleep and do all sorts of physical, concrete things, and they need movement in any form – walking, jumping, climbing, swimming or whatever their particular bodies actually enjoy doing. But as many writers, I too tend to slip into the habit of spend lots of time in front of a computer screen, or with a pen and a notebook (yes, I still write by hand), sitting on the sofa. That position, sitting on the sofa, is the most comfortable for me as a writer. Reading, writing, daydreaming, and what some might call meditating (I wrote about it in the sketch Morning Routine), it all happens while taking this most comfortable position sitting on the sofa. And it’s all fine. Up to the point when I start feeling anxiety. And sometimes I don’t even realize what’s happening, not right away. I start feeling uneasy. All is well, and yet it feels like something is going terribly wrong.
Then it hits me – I practically did not move for a few days, having too much fun doing what I like to do. Yes, I of course get off the sofa to do things like cooking or doing laundry, or driving to places and dooing chores. Yet I did not dignify my body with its need and purpose for existing in the first place – the need and joy of movement. Yes, the joy of movement! How many people around me are lacking these opportunities to fully enjoy their physical body – people with illnesses, disabilities, people who for one reason or another cannot leave their homes to go places. And I have all the freedom to move and enjoy it all, the world around me, and my own physical body, and yet I ignore it. I tell myself it’s easy to ignore when your primary state of mind is writing – not doing sports.
All right, all right, aside from sports, there are tons of things my body loves to experience. It does not have to be playing football or doing weightlifting. What my body loves is taking long walks, and by “long” I actually mean long – an hour and a half, two hour walks feel magnificent, they change the way I breathe, they change the thoughts that sometimes get stuck in my head, I feel blood rushing and circulating all over me, I feel so alive and happy and in peace.
It’s the same way with swimming to me. I can swim in pretty much anything – a lake, pool, bay, warm or cold (I even prefer it on the cool side and like to take a dip into the icy cold sound every summer). Not that I am such a good swimmer – I just move my arms and legs the way frogs do it. Why not? If it’s good enough for nature, it’s good enough for me. Butterflies don’t actually swim – frogs do.
Yesterday I was also missing my yoga classes, I will probably return to them after summer is over (I never can bring myself to spend time in a sweaty gym in the summertime). Once a week would be enough. Yoga once saved me from such a deep sadness that I was concerned that I was getting seriously ill.
One day at the park, only one, can make such a huge difference. I was swimming and swimming yesterday, longer than I usually do as the water in that part of the sound tends to stay pretty warm, thinking that I would probably have troubles just walking the next day as I pretty much exhausted my body with swimming. The thought that I would get a very good long night rest also occurred to me, and so as soon as I awoke in the morning, I immediately felt rested and thankful for the opportunity I gave my body to do the work it enjoys doing and was intended to do in the first place – moving.