momentum, counterbalance, and community

Photo by Denis Lesak on Unsplash

unpolished thoughts 3/14/2019

Moving with momentum is fun.

You’re already going, the work to overcome inertia already happened. Now you just get to cruise.

But it’s no fun if your momentum is out of control. What happens then is one of two things. Either you crash, or you have to actually fight your momentum in order to change directions.

That defeats the purpose, doesn’t it?

Momentum is supposed to make things easier, but for that to happen, you also need control.

When you have both, the continuation of your momentum can create a kind of floating quality where you live in a completely different energy stream. It feels great.

I made a playlist on YouTube called “Continuousness”, made up of a series of songs that don’t change dramatically, but relentlessly continue with driving beats.

The more the music’s momentum permeates into my insides, the more I feel that floating possibility.

Music is a wonderful tool for experiencing momentum, but when we understand the feeling, we can also create that rhythm internally through our own movement.

The best experience of momentum can create a kind of crystallization of your attention where you recognize opportunities to use propulsion not only to move forward, but also for changing directions.

I used to experience this thrill when I worked in the meat industry, on my feet for 8 or more hours a day in a freezer where constant motion was the norm.

One moment pushing a cart with hundred pounds of product, the next moment cutting on a bandsaw, the next moment stacking boxes on a pallet – all within one single flow of momentum.

Trail running is another opportunity for dynamic and exciting momentum, but it absolutely requires that focused attention. You can run over uneven ground and jump on logs for extra points, but be careful how you understand the idea that momentum must be unbroken.

What happens when the log is wet?

When you can clearly appraise your environment as you move, you can maintain internal rhythmic pulsation while adjusting your outward expression. The key is to never throw yourself beyond your base of support.

Sometimes this means pausing inside of your flow – still riding the momentum, but ceasing for a moment to continue fanning the flames.

When you are dancing and the energy is high, you might feel that you keep continuing at a certain level of output no matter what, even as the song and the steps change.

I love those moments in music when a break in the continuousness is used to throw you into a new space.

At one moment, the whole band is jamming and you’re riding the wave. Then suddenly they hit a big downbeat by not hitting it at all. You are hurled into silence, still flying at full speed with the same energy pulsing inside you, but now you’re flying solo.

Cut the goddamn cord baby, cut the goddamn cord. ] 😎

Maybe the band comes back in again to catch you and carry you up again. Or maybe not. Either way, they’ve shown you what it feels like to have that energy inside you.

That’s what you can do when you really know how to control your energy – you can pass it on to someone else.

(And it doesn’t have to be like cars rear-ending each other in traffic.)

When you know how to control your own weight in space, you can help someone else learn to fly as well.

The secret to moving in any direction without hesitation or preparation is knowing how to distribute your efforts in such a way that you always keep the center of your mass over your base of support.

That’s called counterbalance.

Today I was climbing over some rocks and fallen tree trunks by water in Rock Creek Park in Washington DC, enjoying the feeling of extending my head in one direction and my pelvis in the other, all while moving forward over the uneven and often unstable surfaces.

I reflected on the need to continue cultivating my ability to counterbalance in order to more skillfully channel my energies out into the world.

That’s the opposite of the kind of uncontrolled momentum that happens when you work your ass off without paying attention to where you find your support. That’s a great way to crash and also derive very little positive outcome for the effort you put in.

So momentum, control, and attention also relate to your ability to make a positive contribution.

Imagine you could transfer energy to someone else that needed it. How would you do that?

Actually, you probably do it all the time.

You give your friend a pep talk. You rub your daughter’s back vigorously when she’s feeling cold. You lead your partner through the dance.

What if you could become increasingly skillful at that kind of energy transfer?

That’s what I’m working on these days and what I’m looking for today.

I want to start the ball rolling, get you moving, fire you up.

For what?

To continue.

Continue what you’re doing and take it further.

Can you imagine what your next ten steps would be if your energy didn’t slow?

People like to imagine what they would do with boundless riches. What would you do with boundless energy?

What if you had the ability to create something continuous, something that other people could feed from, something that could propel your community forward?

If you could do that, what would you make?

Have you ever considered that?

Maybe it would help if you put on some music to help remind you what momentum feels like.

(For example, here’s what’s helping to drive what I’m doing right now )

As you dance can you learn to control your momentum so that you don’t just hit a wall?

Can you climb the corners of the curves like a race car driver?

Now that you’re moving, who do you want to lift up with this energy?


Would you like to learn how to refine your attention to improve your movement and develop the capacity of counterbalance so you can maximize the energy you can put back into the world?

My 2019 online program, ¡Reimagine Yourself! will teach you these skills and so much more.

It’s all about how to make your movement practice into a vehicle for rewriting the story of how you move through the world.

To learn more about ¡Reimagine Yourself!, click here


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