I think really innovative therapies for mental illness and the mind are coming from the body research. Mindfulness is the act of observing your body. Exercise is engaging in body hormones and muscle. And now newer therapies like neuroplasticity exercises and creative dance do so too. These last two are more creative and musical, which is what draws me to them.
People say that if you are an artist or creative thinker, you should stick to literature and formal art. I had the biggest fear for the longest time that if I were to get healthier, I would lose that. In a way, I will probably lose certain specific genius discoveries from a mentally ill perspective. But I will not lose creativity and genius discovery as a whole and in fact I will have more of it if I can function better. And probably more of them in a healthy way beneficial to more people.
I think you can transfer your creative genius to other subjects. If you limit yourself to one subject of expertise, you limit the growth of your mind, body, soul, whatever you call it. Maybe you will avoid being “expert” in something, but for me, the goal is to just find fulfillment and discovery no matter where I exist.
Neuroplasticity exercises isolate the body so you are always challenged.
It is like the rub-your-belly-pat-your-head thing everybody tricks you into doing except on steroids. It forces you to get out of rigid thinking patterns so you can overcome learning these new patterns.
The way I see it, your body is like a symphony in these exercises. Your arms may be the cello section while your legs may be the percussion while your head may be the wind while your hands may be the conductor. Each carries a different beat to a different tempo simultaneously but they must be synchronized. It is a lot harder than you’d think.
This all goes under the umbrella of using your body. Not only do you have to use it and find ways to integrate it, but you have to “listen” to it.
At first when my creative dance instructor said that, I needed more specification. Somehow I lost my ability to relate to figurative language in the everyday when I broke from writing literature (but I have since regained this tool). Initially, I thought, “listen to your body? Wtf does that mean. I don’t understand.”
“Ah,” she said. “That’s because you are in your head.”
To a scientist or logician, that is always to frustrating to hear. I feel like everything should be explained logically, honestly. Why are you so satisfied with not explaining things so detailed and specifically???? Urrrgggh!!!
But I think I am slowly unlearning that. Sometimes it is okay to just not know. And it has even helped to learn that in order to outgrow my paranoias and uncertainties and anxieties.
I have been thinking about that for a few weeks since she first introduced it to me. And I might be starting to get it.
To practice this, I just turn on music and start thrashing around. And yes, I literally mean thrashing. In our class I do with the group, we do it way more subtly. But at home I cannot help but thrash. Lol. The goal is “suppleness”, my instructor says. To tune into your body and where it wants to go and how it wants to move. The body has ears, she says. Whatever that means…
When I go home I just say, Ok. I don’t understand this language. But maybe I can find a way to relate it to myself.
So yes, I tell myself. Let your body thrash around, I tell myself. I say, separate yourself from the conscious intentional mind and become a simple piece of physical matter unattached to the complexity of brain. Isolated and only existing in the world of Newton’s laws of motion. Swinging like a pendulum controlled by nonlinear forces. (There is your scienced-based terminology integrated in there, for ya).
simply reacting to the cause and effect of the material world.
It helps me to get out of my mind. So this really helps find the balance between anxious analytical paranoid philosopher-scientist-thinker and just letting go as a material thing of the universe that doesn’t have to urgently worry about finding everything there is to know of human nature or star clusters or what.
I’ve been doing them for a month now and I’ve had a surge in confidence and stability. Hard to pinpoint direct cause and effect, but whatever I am doing it is all helping. It also helps you really understand where you are stiff and holding tension in your body (which you subsequently follow with more yoga or massage or something).
And really, it is just plain FUN!
But I’m sure if someone walked in on my while doing it they would think I was having a exorcism or something.
If you’d like to learn more, Palm Health can teach you all of it 🙂
I just did it to Banks. This video seems fitting. I like her.