I recently heard on NPR a fascinating story about lexicologists selecting the Word of the Year each December. Kind of like a retrospective for the biggest events or most influential people that year. The selected word is chosen for its broad integration in American culture and the English language. In 2010 the word was “App.” (Not surprising considering the smart phone-ization of our country!) In 2011 the word was “occupy.” The show mentioned that even though “occupy” is a word that’s been part of our vocabulary for ages, this year it took on a whole new meaning stemming from the Wall Street movement.
I started thinking about examples people use of “occupy”: “the restroom is occupied”… “is this seat occupied?”…
So I propose that for the coming year, we start a movement of “Occupy Your Body”.
I’ve spent my career trying to awaken people to changes and potential in their bodies. In essence – to OCCUPY them. To understand the options they have with motion. To experience bodily sensation and interpreted feeling. To discover the connection between their bodies and their outlook, perspective and belief systems.
To embody their lives.
It’s not easy work, encouraging people to “go deep”. Many would prefer to remain on the surface and just lift their arm, rather than uncover the different ways they can lift that arm. That is, until they’re in pain from relying on ineffective ways of lifting it, which eventually result in impingement, tears or tendonitis—then they care! But what if we all cared BEFORE the resulting pain? What if we found joy in the options of movement and embodiment? What if we “occupied our bodies” and celebrated them?
My new years wish is for people to awaken to parts and mechanisms of their bodies that they took for granted, ignored or abused for one reason or another. Maybe it’s their upper back, ignoring its rigidity which could be contributing to lower back tightness. Maybe it’s their breathing, which they never considered had various methods. Maybe it’s their feet, which they didn’t realize have the ability to make or break our entire upright experience through weakness and compensation from the ground up.
So I ask you to join us and the many others out there in this mission for 2012 – Occupy your Body. Imagine that – a movement about movement!