by Nicole Bradford
(Airdrie, Alberta, Canada)
As a child I loved to run, dance, cartwheel and climb. I went to a gymnastics camp one summer and learned to do back handsprings. In the last day of the camp, I performed my routine and went into a natural elated state, and did so many back handsprings in a row I surprised everyone. I have always cherished that experience.
As a teenager I turned away from "exercise" because it seemed to mean I "had to be" fit and I wasn't interested in pounding the pavement or going religiously to classes where I was told what to do and when.
So I focused on other activities.
As a community actor warming up for performance I stumbled upon what I now think of as lyric movement; moving in a dance like-way to feel through something I was dealing with. I found this cathartic and uplifting.
Later, I ended up tree planting for work. I LOVED being in the wilderness (okay, on the cut block); working and sweating and jumping over logs and breathing the wild plant scented air. Treasure hunting for berries! All while reforesting, healing the scars of our abuse of Earth.
Then I became (unexpectedly) a mother.
My body took on new meaning.
I was fascinated by my physical form in a new way.
Giving birth, I found, required me to be deeply in tune with my body.
As a single mother with undeveloped resources, I was impoverished in many ways. I came to the understanding that I needed healing, and connection with the Divine Power.
This led me to a meditation centre and yoga.
I was supercharged by the depth of mindfulness and peace that yoga brought. It felt like remembering.
I had the experience of going for a mountain hike, and being prepared to lag behind because I "wasn't fit". I found I was fit enough to keep up with the others who were "fit" from regular heart-rate-raising exercise. What a celebration that was!
And when I learned a deeper form of bodily movement, Mi Lee, I knew this was the form of movement I craved: intuitive movement.
I veered away from the teachings of the centre, and bodily movement was a part of that.
I felt the need to move with more energy, not so slowly and quietly.
I took up running and found new joy in the state I would sometimes find. Still, the roads and monotony got to me. I craved running through forests and along creeks.
I also returned to dance like movement, lyric movement, as I thought through life situations.
I discovered healing through emotional awareness, in the form of the Journey (developed by Brandon Bays)
As I free my body of emotional memory, more and more I just want to burst out in a celebration of bodily movement.
I am inspired by the spontaneous movement of my four children, who have never been cautioned by me as they explore play equipment.
My son on the trampoline inspires me to gymnastics training, so that I can go out and do "forest-nastics" as I romp through the wild.
He and his brother mesmerize me as they play with skateboards, playgrounds, and diving boards.
My dancing daughter prefers doing her dancing at home, though she is pulled toward our culture's way of "taking classes."
My youngest daughter will run and run if there is a game involved, and climbs, swims and explores her body fearlessly.
I am soul-excited about the future I see us building, in which we are attuned inwardly and outwardly, clearing any hurt and fear from ourselves and Earth, living, moving, being at a new level of conscious co-creation in this beautiful Universe.
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