Blog: Movement and Connection...Good for the Mind, Body and Soul

When I think about wellness, there are so many facets that come to mind.  Physical, mental, spiritual, nutritional, emotional and the list can go on, depending on every one of us.  The question becomes, when we reflect on what brings each of us balance and wellness, have we really checked in with ourselves to see what it is that brings us peace and wellness?

Looking back at my own life, I realized how I was able to cope with adversity and challenges that came my way. 

Being the youngest of eight children growing up in the Midwest, I was born into an instant community of family and social surroundings.  My parents raised us all to have strong faith and to be good towards one another and others outside of our family.   “Do unto others as we would like done to ourselves.”  As the youngest, I could not always get my voice heard, in fact, I was quite shy as a girl.  But what I found out at an early age is that one way I could express myself, emotionally and physically, was through dance.  I didn’t have to speak but was able to express myself through movement. 

I did not realize this until I reflected on my past.  Mostly from looking back and realizing the ebbs and flows of life and how I mentally and physically got through difficulties and life’s changes. I danced through my younger years, then shifted to, teaching fitness and practice as my wellness plan.   Whether competing, teaching, choreographing, personal training or just social dancing, movement has always gotten me through all aspects of my life. 

Along with movement, came connection with others.  When going through challenging times in my life, mostly emotional and personal, I have chosen to train for running races, which connected me to others looking for the same healing; walking for causes, group fitness and long nature walks with others, and just getting out on the dance floor and letting go. 

When going through a loss in my life, I realized I needed to change gears, and as I soul searched, I realized the two things that really healed and brought me joy were movement and connecting with people.  This is when I decided my journey in learning about Dance Movement Therapy.  My interest in DMT started before I had children. It was put on hold while raising them and was resurrected during our time quarantining during the pandemic.  What a beautiful way to express emotions and feelings and to heal…through movement and dance…especially if verbalizing proves to be hard for some.

Usually when I share information about Dance Movement Therapy, many people seem very puzzled, “ I don’t dance, I can’t dance, and I don’t want to dance…it’s not for me.”  The “dance” is your own dance…whether that be martial arts, yoga, kick boxing, walking, chair yoga, arm movements, free dance, or whatever “your dance” is whatever movement is enjoyable and gives you some release.

Naturally, our age determines what we can do as far as physical activity.  Mine has changed so much over the years due to injuries, hip surgery, and shifts to my range of motion.  Keeping creative and having an open mind has helped me change routine and choose different activity that perhaps I haven’t experienced before or dialing it back a bit. 

I recently moved and decided to utilize the two flights of stairs in my place to incorporate into my cardio routine. 

Connecting can also be a beautiful experience if you are willing to share with others.  Recently, I had a meeting with someone I had never met.  It turned out, through communicating with each other, and being open, that we had so many people in common, and could not believe it.  As we parted, we felt the need to hug one another; it felt like we had met before.

I find, if I open my mind to diverse movement, which makes me feel good and being open to sharing experiences and communicating with others, it might just bring me closer to the balance needed for my own personal wellness.  

Movement and connection…good for the mind, body, and soul.

By Lisa Lewis

November 4, 2022