Emotion and Self-Expression

Christian Paev

From a young age, most of us (hopefully) engage in some type of physical practice. Then it changes.
When we are kids, it comes naturally, easy and meaningful despite the obvious lack of ability to explain what we’re doing. We’re basically just playing, exploring, being – who cares about developing qualities, exercising, winning, performing and so on? But then something happens.

The all-consuming power of society steps in. As we grow, while we’re still very soft and pliable, we’re thrown into society with some established norms and values. Sadly, on top, especially in Western culture sits Winning, proudly. Poor education and social structures/events based on winning (professional sport anyone?) takes this very basic innocent, human, and gives him the destructive desire to look good. We are raising a generation of children that want to PERFORM, not PRACTICE.

The tall guys and gals go for basketball/volleyball. The skinny guys go for long-distance running and rock climbing, and the bigger kids direct themselves either into the empty world of fitness or spend their lives thinking of themselves as people ‘’not good’’ at sports.

I don’t think there’s a bad place to enter the world of Movement, as you have still entered. What I hope is, we can make some intelligent doors for the people that would come in.

I’ve practiced mostly football (soccer) for 13 years (6-19) with the hope of becoming a professional. During that time, mainly to improve my performance and prevent myself from injuries I’ve began resistance training (‘’functional’; meh). It also improved my looks which was pretty good for the shy teenage boy I was. After I’ve finished the soccer tale, I did some Olympic lifting, went to capoeira, climbing, handbalancing and BJJ. I’ve switched between dogmas and no-matter of them every time I’ve arrived at the same place – feeling empty and confused.

With time and experience, when I look back I’m able to identify better what has happened.

Any physical practice is linked with some emotions. The individual experience varies, but still the nature of the practice determines the spectrum of emotions. It’s very hard to be bored in rock climbing or soft in judo.

From my today’s point of view, the highest purpose of any practice would be self-expression. For example there are some things inside of me that cannot go really outside without the help of movement. And without that, they stay in me – locked, unsaid, unfelt. Guess what’s the opposite of expression? De-pression. Movement is life. It’s not a good thing for life to be locked inside.

This became obvious to me when I was involved in one of Ido Portal’s events. The playfulness, the social interaction, the mindset behind all this practices filled the emptiness I’ve experienced for so many years. And it actually hasn’t struck me since.

Kids arrive here at this state – of self-expression. Slowly but surely society does its thing (fabricating the bricks in the wall) and when we end up empty, we begin searching. You may ask a lot of people why do they train and you’ll get different answers. To be in shape, to improve their performance, to look good naked, to feel good, you name it. And I’m not saying there’s better or worse. My point is, we do it all, because of some emotion inside of us.

We want to experience, to feel joy, or to get rid of heaviness, or to relieve our suppression, or to dominate over something. Doesn’t matter! But if we understand this we might be able to communicate better with other people. We might be able to change our education (as Chris does). We might be able to improve the next generation of human beings through Movement. Because as a culture, what we value, we breed.

If we value ONLY winning, we cultivate aggression, duality, opposition, etc. When we value exclusively the looks, we cultivate superficiality. It’s not a good place to be and it leads to nowhere. But if we do understand the emotions behind our reasoning, we can flip the coin.

What if we create movement practices AROUND emotion? What if we as culture value learning, playing, courage, compassion, intelligence, working, social interaction? What if every movement session we lead is AIMED to develop those qualities through also improving physical qualities?

We’ve all arrived here as kids perfectly fine.  Maybe the answers can be found if we return there.

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