I am sitting at the kitchen table, just barely at the edge of the chair.
I look up and toward the big glass doors. Darkness has settled in outside, and with my dim light on inside, I can see my reflection in the glass.
For a brief moment, I hardly recognize it. The silhouette is different from what I recognize as my own.
The spine in the glass reflection is straight.
This is the goal, of course. But for a long time this was not the reality.
My Hunched-Over Conditioning
I spent most of the first 30 years of my life hunched over desks. High school. College. Law school. Legal practice. Studying. Writing. Falling asleep. Back then, nobody regularly took pictures of themselves doing things as basic and boring as studying and working.
If I had those photos, they would have shown me hunched over with a rounded back and shoulders.
Even after I left law practice for a real estate career — giving me less time behind a desk and more time moving around — I carried that habitual posture, until I actively started to work on it.
I had been making progress when the pandemic arrived, sending me back behind a desk or tables, with non-ergonomic friendly set-ups.
Once again, my body reverted back to its old habitual posturing. It hasn’t helped that my decampment to the suburbs has continued for longer than planned.
Suburban life forces me to drive more, rather than walking or taking public transportation. Driving thrusts my shoulders forward and exacerbates the stress on my back.
For the past several months, I have been consciously working — again — to retrain my body’s patterns.
I’m intentional about how I sit at the table when I work — perched on the edge of the chair, feet planted on the floor, spine straight, arms resting on the table as my fingers tap on my iPad keyboard.
I try to take frequent breaks to lift up my head and mobilize my neck. I take breaks to stand.
In the car, I prop myself on a folded towel to lift my hips higher than my knees.
And I do extensive physical training to reverse the effects of sitting and typing.
Weight training. Yoga. Mobility.
I also switch up my positions. Sometimes I’ll take my iPad to the floor, so I can lay on my stomach. Other times I’ll sit on a yoga block with the iPad on a low table, in a supported squat position.
The Foundation of Writing
Many people ask me how I sustain a daily blog; how I’ve managed to write over 1,800 blog posts.
Most often, they are asking about how I come up with ideas, how I find the time to write, how I “get it all done.”
Those technical aspects of sustaining a consistent writing practice are certainly important, but without a solid foundation they become irrelevant.
I am always attuning to how I am using my body.
Have you ever tried to work when your body is in pain?
How well can you focus when you can’t breathe?
My straight spine is about more than just the aesthetics of “nice posture.” With my spine upright and my shoulders back, I can breathe with greater ease. More oxygen flows into my body, to my brain. It’s easier to focus.
And there’s more: Rounded shoulders are a protective mechanism. My posture also signifies an opening.
As I open my body, I open to sharing more of myself and more of my truth.
Everything is related.Writing doesn’t come from the mind; it originates in the body.