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Mindful Movement as Practice and Process

By Charlene Rayburn

A big – no, actually a huge – shift for me after reading Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat is how I’ve come to love exercise. Previously, although I’d rarely allow myself to admit it, I hated exercising. I’d bought into the ideas that diet books promote:

  1. Set a goal for body perfection
  2. Create and hold that image in your mind constantly (and put an inspiring picture on your refrigerator), then
  3. Work and work, and work for it. Okay, I admit that’s not exactly the way they presented it in their books and programs, but that pretty much sums it up.

women older 3 - bathing caps and vibrantI tried that approach…not once, and not twice, but dozens of times. Plainly, it didn’t work for me. I was slow to catch on that it was pointless to keep trying the same thing again and again, but I just didn’t know a better way. My undying hope for a healthy (and perfect) body prompted me to try, try, and try again. It was completely exhausting and utterly disappointing.

No more!

Now I now have a beautifully expanded view of exercise that includes a loving, listening partnership with my body, a totally different intention while exercising, and reframed definitions of both exercise and what it means to be healthy.

I’ve moved from:

  • “What is body perfection and how do I get mine there?” to “How does my body feel today, and what can I do to nurture and support myself in living my unique and vibrant life?”
  • “What is the outlined routine that I must follow today whether I feel like it or not?” to “How does my body desire to move right now? Slowly and deliberately? Faster and energetically? Powerfully and with strength?”
  • “I just have to get through this so I can get on with my day” to “Mindful movement is one of the most rewarding parts of my day; I love the experience of it.”
  • “I’ve got to keep this up whether I want to or not because it’s going to make me into who I want to be; it is the only way to achieve my end goal” to “I love myself just as I am today.”

Mindful movement is an exquisite way to appreciate my mind, body, and health. It is a moment-by-moment practice and process that has no end, and it is an integral part of my rich and meaningful life. Experiencing mindful movement as a practice and a process has definitely transformed my perspective on exercising and my every day experience of it. It feels like this is the way life was meant to be.


About the author

Charlene Rayburn, CVCC, lives her passion for mindfulness and intentional leadership by serving as a personal and professional leadership coach, by managing a department of dedicated employees for a Fortune 500 sized health insurance organization, and by facilitating Am I Hungry?® workshops and coaching sessions. She has coached extensively with individuals and groups outside the corporate world, as well as with executives, leaders, and teams in non-profit, private, public, governmental, and educational organizations spanning the globe. Charlene received her coaching certificate through the Center for Coaching Mastery at Coachville, LLC, and earned a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree in Management from Davenport University. She is a member of the National Management Association. One of her most emotionally challenging and rewarding experiences was serving as a volunteer at the Center for Battered Women. Charlene currently lives in Michigan and enjoys spending time with her husband of over 20 years, reading, learning, cooking, practicing yoga, and watching her grandson grow, who lives with his dad, her stepson in Fort Worth, Texas.

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