Everything on this earth is connected to something. Tree roots are connected to the soil. Bricks connect together with cement. A car tyre connects with the road. Skin connects to skin when we hold hands.

As humans we are always trying to connect to something, but it’s often external. To a person, or a place, or an activity. To connect to something makes us feel part of something. And while external connections are important, something will always be missing if you can’t connect internally with yourself. I talked briefly about this in my last post. How it’s easier to look outside at what we think we want, when we actually already have everything we need within ourselves.

I decided to create a summer project for myself for the month of August. It didn’t have a name, but I wanted it to be about connection. There’s been a disconnect between my mind and my body since breaking my foot, and to be honest even before that. I thought that once I could walk again, that was it. But although the bone was no longer broken, all the tissue, tendons and ligaments surrounding it had been ripped up and damaged too. The foot itself wasn’t strong and neither was my emaciated leg. It was holding me back from all the things I really wanted to be doing. I didn’t realise it at the time, but you can’t put a time limit on rehab, and it doesn’t really start until you have the basic functions back.

I’ve taken every opportunity to take myself somewhere in Osaka, and go out and explore. I’ve needed to continue healing my body and I wanted to do this with the aid of nature. Being part of my surroundings and not just in them.

August began with with hiking, where I felt unbelievable appreciation for the simplicity of using my feet to walk and climb. I took all the locomotive patterns I knew and stripped them down to their simplest forms, but used them to move creatively through my surroundings. I began basic jumping, trying to regain power and control in my lower body. Climbing on rocks, climbing up walls, balancing, rolling, tumbling, vaulting. As the month progressed so did my awareness and understanding of how to communicate with my body, the application of accuracy and control that was developing, and most importantly my confidence. The day I realised I could run again was one of the best days I’ve experienced. Sometimes the simpler the movement, the more gratifying it is.

During this process I’ve felt more present in myself and in my movement practice. I’ve paid attention to every single detail. Details I would normally ignore, like how bright the sunlight is, the humidity, the sounds of summer insects, the way the grass feels under my feet, the texture of tree bark, the way my body lifts off from and lands on the ground. I haven’t just been looking with my eyes, but engaging other senses to feel what’s happening inside as well as outside. I took care with each step, whether that was forwards or backwards. For every time I trained there was no plan because I didn’t know where I would be or what I would have to work with. It was 100% improvisation and 100% eye opening. I never realised the beauty in running up walls and dancing with rocks.

Part of this project was to create a compilation of my training so that I could document my progress. This video is a summary of how I’ve spent my summer. It’s simple movement, it’s all been for my foot, and it’s still a work in progress. But I definitely feel like I’ve taken a step forward.

What I’ve realised from this experience is that you really do only get one body. Having the ability to adapt physically to any environment is freeing. External connections are important, but remember that a tree is still a tree wherever it is in this world, and a hand will always be a hand when you hold it. YOU can decide who you are, how you communicate with yourself and how you grow as a human. Take every experience you have and then let it fly away like a butterfly as you move onto whatever’s next.

Just like the lyrics from the song in my video say, “in this place I have freedom, it’s here I wish to stay”, this place of freedom is my body. And if I let it be, my mind. There’s the connection.

Thank you to Marzie and Aki for being very very very patient with my iPhone camera.