For this next step, you will want to find somewhere that gives you space and some privacy. If you’ve been doing the Just A Minute! exercise for some time now, it is likely that you will have become more focused on how your body feels, e.g. the way you breathe and any discomfort, pain or ‘energy spots’ you hold in your body, and be paying less attention to your thoughts. You may even have started pre-empting the next part of the exercise, which is simply to let the body move, led by its own impulses. If you have been doing this already, congratulations. If not, here’s how to do it…
Begin with the usual minute of stillness to get in touch with the ‘felt sense‘ of your body. And then let your attention move to a part of the body that may be calling for attention – perhaps it is particularly tense, heavy or agitated. Now give it permission to move in any way it likes. Try not to proscribe how to move it, as in “I’m now going to swing my arm.” Take the thinking out of it and just allow that part of your body and then your body more generally to explore and experiment.
The movements may be small to start with, particularly if free movement like this is unfamiliar to you and you are feeling quite self-conscious. Just stay with your felt sense of the body and what it wants and needs to do. This is where hesitation, repetition and deviation come in. Allow your body to be playful; if you need to pause, do; if your body wants to repeat an action, let it; if you find your body is moving in ways it’s never moved before, great! Take the time to ‘listen’ and respond to your body’s needs. Your movements may include stretching, wiggling and scrunching, and the energy of those movements may be slow and sweeping or jagged and impulsive or anything in between. You may remain on your feet or find your body sinking to the floor and enjoying being on the ground. Notice how the felt senses in your body respond to the movements and how, given the opportunity, your body will do what it needs to in order to reach a place of greater comfort and balance. After the exercise, your body may feel ‘freed up’ and nurtured. And having switched off your mind for a while you may notice a greater sense of inner calm.
As suggested in the previous blog, you may wish to write down your observations after the exercise as a way to actively reflect on what you experience. When you repeat this exercise over the course of a day or days, notice how your body’s needs are different each time you do it – or are they sometimes the same? What does that suggest about your body’s patterns of being? Is there anything you can do to support its well-being further? And that’s it: your own personalised and unique self-care regime in just a few minutes a day.
I am planning just one more blog post in this self-care series in which you will be encouraged to deepen this practice. I’d love to hear whether the blogs so far have been helpful to you and what you have discovered about yourself. Please do leave a comment.