Of all the causes worth one’s time and effort, mitigating the damage done by humans to Earth’s biosphere is one that captures my attention and energy the most. Other efforts toward change, mostly addressing injustices and misunderstandings between some humans and other humans, are very important as well. However, at the end of the day, Earth is home to us all. All of us deserve and require a healthy place to live.
I have always wanted to create an impact with my life and believed environmental protection to be the most valuable place to make a difference. When first learning in school about attempts to conserve Earth’s resources, like “reduce, reuse, and recycle,” I remember thinking how much more effective it would be if we focused on the “reduce” side of that triangle. While sticking something in the recycling bin rather than the trash can help us feel better in the moment, it doesn’t change the fact that because we created that piece of plastic, it will now exist long after you and I are dead. This desire to reduce the waste we produce and the resources we consume has shaped many of my ambitions and pursuits.
I believe we each have a responsibility toward respecting our shared home planet. As I follow my career path as a bodyworker, I feel very palpably my role in protecting the Earth.
I view my work as an important agent of change. You see, when people feel better in their bodies, when they can do the things they love with less pain, they are more capable of being the kind of people they want to be. My work is all about helping people find greater ease, functionality, and preventing injury. When we tend to ourselves, we are tending to our ability to tend to others. We are less of a burden on the other people in our lives and the general healthcare system. I don’t say this to make you feel guilt over the times in your life that you require greater care, but rather to feel the greater impact you are making when you receive care. You are worthy of care—any kind of care—that makes you a better person.
When I set aside space in my schedule and my budget to receive massage, not only do I feel better physically, but I also notice a feeling of affirmation of my self-worth. I am reminded that investing in myself is an investment in all the things I want to be more present for—things like my family, friends, and my job. Caring for myself in ways like receiving massage helps me restore my energy, patience, and enthusiasm for life. As a result, I feel more empowered to be the change I want to see in the world.
My passion is to help people achieve and maintain wellness sustainably. I think we should be able to take care of ourselves in a way that doesn’t require tons of extra time, money, expertise, or resources. Health care should be sustainable for us and sustainable for the Earth. It should be attainable, affordable, and enjoyable. This is what drives me to teach about movement. When we learn to move better and move more, we can act towards fulfilling our wellness needs and reducing our negative impacts on the environment at the same time. Better movement is available to us all the time; we just need to learn how we can incorporate it into our lives in a beneficial, maintainable manner.
For example, when I had babies, I squatted to change their diapers on the floor. I reduced my need for things, like a changing table, and I reduced my risk of developing hip, knee, and ankle issues by maintaining my ability to squat. It’s impossible to exactly say what impact it can have to be able to get up and down from the floor easily, or to avoid getting a hip surgery later in life. I think we can all imagine, however, how we wouldn’t be the only ones affected.
As another example, I keep chickens in order to have eggs to eat. I’m still buying chicken feed and supplies to build my coop from the store, so it’s not a completely zero-waste practice. However, I think a great number of resources are reduced in the process of supplying my family with eggs. Simultaneously, I’m requiring more movement from my own body in caring for the chickens and keeping their coop clean. The movement opportunities involved include getting outside more often, bending down and squatting, carrying feed and water, crawling and twisting to rake up old straw and poop, to name a few. Moving in this way maintains my ability to do so and reduces my need to use exercise equipment in order to practice the same types of movements.
Many of us are used to thinking of things like massage and exercise as part of our health care, but not necessarily as part of our care for the other people and organisms in the world. As a bodyworker and teacher of movement, I want to broaden our perspective of self-care. We can find ways to meet our movement needs as well as other needs—such as our food, work, play, and social needs—at the same time, through the same activity. This can reduce the resources we consume—the extra energy expended by other people and technologies in order to allow us to move less. When we take care of ourselves in a way that is sustainable for our lifestyle and the Planet, we, ourselves, become resources we can depend on.