Movement Matters: Get Busy Living



‘Get Busy Living, or Get Busy Dying’ is a favorite quote taken from a prison scene between Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman from a favorite movie, the Shawshank Redemption. It speaks to a pivotal moment in time when a person needs to decide between moving forward or standing still, embracing life or accepting the inevitable. And moreover, it places the decision to embrace life as an act of hope, versus the passive acceptance of inescapable decline. 

I think about this often in the context of considering everyday choices between exercising or resting, moving or sitting, exertion or relaxation. To stay healthy, we just have to continue to move, period.  And it really doesn’t matter much how we move, just that we get up and out and shake it around a bit. But when we can’t move due to injury or illness, or don’t move, the results can land us in a place that creates frustration over lost function, and restoring our physical health and the joys that we experience as a result becomes an elusive journey.

One of the most compelling interactions that I have is when someone tells me that they have ceased being active after having lead an active life of walking, hiking, tennis, golf, jogging, swimming, yoga, dance, etc. It becomes obvious that this is a loss about which they grieve, a former passion that has been swept away in a whirlwind of injury, illness, busyness, and time. Not unlike the car that is not driven because of a flat tire or a bad knutsen valve, the body gathers dust and the fluids coagulate and flow more slowly and the body rusts a bit if exposed to the elements. I can see the sadness on the face of clients who don’t know how to break this cycle, which is compounded by the obnoxiously relentless degradation that comes with age. We are doomed.

But wait, we are not doomed after all!  The happy ending to a vast majority of these stories is the realization that with a nudge from their therapist and some considerable and consistent effort, they can recapture some of the magic still running through their veins. Starting with a glimmer of hope and a commitment to no longer accept the inevitable as the inescapable, we can push back against the dust and the coagulation and the rust to find the underlying abilities, whatever they may be.

Accepting that we might never be ‘the same’ as we once were, we can be better than we had been, and that is good enough for most. The shared joy of restoring a King to his throne or a Queen to her court is one of the greatest joys of my professional life.

Come, let us restore the luster to your physical health. We can celebrate together.

To your continued movement,