What Are You Doing With Yourself?

My teacher Marj Barstow would ask this question, ” WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOURSELF?” and immediately I would go into a watchful awareness.   What am I doing with my head in relationship to my neck?  my whole body?  What is my breathing like?  Free and easy  or tense?  How are my arms ?  Are they moving freely?  my legs?  I find it helpful to put up sticky tabs with this one question, on the dashboard of my car, on the fridge on the bathroom mirror, at the kitchen sink.

When I am swimming it is often easy to go into this mindfulness.  I am horizontal and the water supports me so I can easily watch and let my neck be free.   I can locate the crown of my head and ease my whole head away from my whole body.  I watch my arms for any excess tension.   My kick originates from my core and my breathing is easy and full.

Cooking is another great opportunity to witness “what I am doing with myself”.   How am I standing at the stove?  What is the quality of my lunge when I bring things out of the oven?  When I reach for utensils or reach for a pot, what am I doing with myself?  It is also an opportune time to inhibit, pause, and consciously direct my head/neck/body relationship.  These daily activities can trigger back pain for so many of us if they are performed unconsciously.

We can also learn so much from watching others.   Recently I was at a demonstration at the Texas Capital and what an opportunity to observe people !  What do we do with ourselves when we feel passionately about something?  What do we do when the adrenaline is flowing and we are in a state of excitement?  What do others do?  There were many young children there and they, too, provided and excellent opportunity to watch.  So many of the kids were free and easy in their movements and setting excellent examples of  good use.

So let’s make today a day to be mindful  and conscious of what we are doing with ourselves!

Leave a comment


  1. Very relevant post for us to remember every day, Joanie! Thank you 🙂

  2. Nice examples. …And it’s very instructive to be watching people in a public place with this sort of thing in mind to one’s own ability to over-react to feeling strange when attitudes about movement are changing.

  3. Very good post – good practical advice. Asking that question is what I call ‘Taking an Interest’. It immediately changes the quality of what we are taking an interest in.


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