Movin’ and Shakin’

August 5th, 2009

tiptoe, mixed-media on watercolor paper

Yesterday, I made three phone calls that I was dreading. Actually, I dread making most phone calls. It's not my favorite means of communication. It feels awkward and uncomfortable to me and when you're calling places like your health insurance company, you tend to speak with people who are a little edgy (not that I can blame them!)

I thought I'd feel relieved once I'd made the calls, but I didn't. My shoulders were still up around my ears, my chest was still tight, my head hurt a little bit. I tried taking a deep breath and congratulating myself for making the calls, but still felt about the same. And then I realized what I needed to do. I needed to embrace the "move" theme for the Creative Every Day Challenge this month and shake!

Do you know that expression, "shake it off!"? Well, I think there's something to it. In a variety of classes, books, and products, I've been taught to shake my body to release tension. But it's also a great energy shifter. I'm imagining the tension in my body like this shell of meringue. It's light and airy, but slightly crusted over. And if I just shake, it will all dissolve into dust.

So I shook. I started with my hands and arms, then my legs, my torso and my head. I also used the tool I learned from Gretchen's MuseCubes and combined sound with my shaking. I chose a sound that was appealing to me and sighed deeply as I shook and danced around my studio for a few minutes. The movement certainly changed my energy, got my blood moving, shifted my perspective, and made me smile. My cats gave me funny looks, but that's fairly normal. Hehe.

Oh, that reminds me of a game and song I used to enjoy as a kid. You'd usually sing it with a group and silliness would ensue. You'd sing, "Father Abraham, seven sons, seven sons, seven sons had Father Abraham. And he couldn't dance. And he couldn't sing. All he did was go like this..." And then you'd stick your left arm in and out and sing the song again, this time adding your right arm. The song continues and with each verse you're adding one more move (each leg, a wiggle, and a turn) until you're all laughing and exhausted. Good stuff.

You could also try the shaking technique next time you're stuck with a piece of artwork. When you're feeling unsure of what to do next, try stepping back from your art and shaking your body for a few minutes. See if it helps shift things for you.

I think I'll be doing a lot of body-shaking this month as prepare to move. As you can see from the art above, I've got moving on the brain!

Have you tried shaking to shift your perspective before? How has it worked for you?


15 Responses

I so enjoy this piece of art. I love skinny legs and curly-q knee caps. You, dear Leah, a mover and shaker whether or not you are shifting your energy. What a good reminder for me to get moving every now and then.


Leah, yet another great topic and fantastic insight to share! :) One good way to shift your perspective- especially if you’ve got some stress/tension regarding it- is to find out what you are holding back. Sometimes nervousness or discomfort in doing things is because you’ve held something back. In my case- I’ve experienced stress because of some repressed anger. On my collection of writing on my website I’ve recently done some meditations on anger- to be able to learn to express it better- and make it a friend instead of an enemy. I suggest people do that with any emotion that they struggle with! Be open to healing, and open to yourself! :) -Phoenix

You are so brilliant !!!!! I feel like I need to move today ! I am off to shake what my momma gave me !

Just brilliant !

Oh my gosh!!! I remember that song from many years of summer camp! Standing around the tables in the mess hall (and what an appropriate name *that* was!) after lunch and dinner, singing song after song, and with the ones like “Father Abraham,” getting our young bodies moving in fun and funny ways.

It also reminds me of my good friend Kim, and her website . . . “The Home of the Worldwide Skipping Movement.” She gets people skipping and grinning like little kids. :o )

Leah, you’re right, and I so often forget or just don’t make space for movement in my life. I’ve got this body, and it needs to do more than sit in chairs all day! Thanks for the timely reminder.

It is funny that I came here just now. I’m stuck writing a piece for work. I only need to write a headline and summary for an article. I think I’ll step back and take a shake break! LOL It may be just what I need.

Many thanks!
xoxo k

I’ve had quite a bit to shake off recently, and you’re right, it does make a huge difference! I love the painting – tippy toeing over the tops of things is sometimes just the right way to travel. hugs, nancy

The art makes me think of a refined version of the chimney sweeps dancing on the rooftops in the Mary Poppins movie. Thank you for reminding me how much fun and how personalized impromptu dancing can be. And the brush-off, well, YEAH! to that when needed.

oh my goodness yes! shaking is all kinds of awesome. i do these really wonderful and amazingly transformational emotional process integration workshops, and we take regular dance breaks to work out the stress, ground new perspectives and open up to more healing. shake shake shake!

Just a quick note to let you know it did the trick! I did a little shaking but also some stretching and deep cleansing breaths. When I sat down the words began to flow. Yoo-hoo! I ran the text by the contributor and she said, “You Got it!”

I now need to design a little reminder to take these little shake it up breaks.

{soul hugs} k

“Tiptoe” is beautiful, Leah!

I’m off to do some shaking … of course I’m going to include sound, it’s what I do best. (Poor hubby.) Just wait til I introduce this movement to my grand-daughter! I can hear her laughter already. (Poor son!)

I cannot like making phone calls either. Can completely relate to that.


Shakin’ it is also really good for your lymph nodes…it keeps things movin’ so nothing settles in to make you sick. (a tip from my favorite yoga teacher…we jiggle and shake all through our practice).

Love the painting. It made me laugh. I should try the moving and shaking to get rid of my tension.

And as for shifting perspective, you could stand on a table to see your room from a different place, or crawl around on the floor, or sit in an unaccustomed place.

When I don’t know what to do on a piece of art, sometimes I hold it up to a mirror. It helps me see it for what it is, rather than what my head thinks it is.

Oh, and to get some perspective on my life, sometimes I do the Tarot or the I Ching, to get a wider perspective, rather than the close up anxious one I have a tendency to keep.

Everything is energy. Movement of every kind makes me feel alive. Have you seen this video? It’s enthralling!


The kids and I are always “shaking our ya-yas out”…. beautiful post Leah!

I love this painting, the colors are so rich and understated. YUM.

My dog “shakes it off” all the time, almost every time he moves positions. Seems to work well, since he doesn’t appear to be very stressed out about anything. Maybe I’ll try doing it whenever he reminds me :)

Post a Comment