Motion | noun | mo·tion | ˈmō-shən |
- an act, process, or instance of changing place : movement
- an impulse or inclination of the mind or will
–the fundamental motions of humanity to good or evil — T. S. Eliot
- an act or instance of moving the body or its parts
What is motion to you? What does it mean to you to move or be in motion? And how do you move? Or what moves you?!
A few days ago I was reading a wonderful article in Canadian Running Magazine by Adam Campbell an ultra runner, mountain runner, ski mountaineer and incredibly gifted elite athlete who was in a terrible mountain accident last year. In his article he describes how motion was his identity and how the accident reconfigured his perception of motion and what it means to him in life now. It’s beautifully written – definitely worth the read! https://runningmagazine.ca/mountain-accident-nearly-took-life/
The article nearly moved me to tears as it made me really think about motion in my life, especially when it comes to my patients and their movements, or lack of motion.
For those of you who don’t know, I am a palliative care/oncology nurse working on a Palliative Complex Care Unit where we treat the small percentage of cancer patients who develop extremely severe or intractable symptoms from their advanced or end stage disease. Our patient population is not typically elderly like one would suspect – patients are in their 20’s – 60’s and we perform many complex interventions and procedures to reduce or eliminate their symptoms, so that the duration of their life – whether it be years, months, or days may be as comfortable as possible.
I love the job with all my heart. Every day is beautiful in some way and filled with light and joy and an appreciation for the little things in life, for family, and teaches me to focus on what really matters in life! But some days the weight of the pain and suffering we see and the intensely emotional moments weigh heavily on me – which is why I love to run – to process and clear my head and appreciate my capacity for movement and my health!!
My experience in that role has taught me a new meaning of motion and a new significance to motion. Motions and movements influenced by incredible pain from cancer eating away at bones until they splinter and fracture with a slight movement or masses that crumble vertebrae or press against delicate nerves in the spine that protest by sending shards of hot white pain thought limbs, reducing any further motion to agony and impossibility.
Patients who once were athletic and active individuals, running races, playing sports, and living with passion a life filled with activity and adventure, now motionless in bed as any slight motion or movement causes searing pain and unimaginable agony.
There is a fear of motion too. Fear of the terrible pain that motion will bring again. There is sadness and despair that movement is no longer an unconscious, free and easy action.
As I runner, it is an intense challenge when injured to slow it down or take a break from running, so I couldn’t imagine the tragedy of being forced to be motionless due to a horrendous disease.
It is heartbreaking. Motion is life! Every second of our life involves motion. Unconscious motions. Each heartbeat. Each breath. Conscious motions. Each step, Each run. Each jump…
Running to me is the ultimate expression of health and wellness…
The freedom of running up a hill – heart pounding, lungs aching, muscles straining but powerful in motion. The ease of running downhill – the freedom that feels like flying as one runs and dances over rocks and logs, jumping over streams or gaps in rocks and paths… fearless in movement, knowing that my body is strong and capable!!!
Running is more than physical movement though… it inspires creates mental, emotional & spiritual movement!!
Running with a clear mind, a happy heart, and such love and contentment deep in my soul… it ensures clarity and compassion in everything I do in life! Running gives us the opportunity to inspire others to healthier lives. Running gives us the opportunity to run for our communities and for the citizens of the world – whether it is by running to raise money for a charity or to bring awareness to a cause. Running unites people around the world of all cultures, ages, ethnicities, genders, socioeconomic status .
And why do we constantly throw up barriers and make excuses for why we don’t or “cannot” run or exercise?! Unless you’re immobilized in bed, there is absolutely no adequate excuse for not being active in some way. Absolutely no excuse. No matter your state of health or lack of health, there is still some type of activity that you are capable of! It doesn’t have to be long, or hard, or far… It doesn’t have to be running. But I believe very strongly that we MUST embrace our capacity for motion and make our lives as filled with motion as possible! It’s about the effort you put into it, the habit you make of it, the positive changes and health benefits it brings to your body and your life over time if you only just stick with it!!
I will never again take for granted even simple movements. And I will embrace with my whole heart filled with gratitude a life lived in motion!! I hope this inspires you to do the same!!!!