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Rediscovering Movement That Brings You Joy: Rafe Kelley on PYP 451

Rafe Kelley teaches people how to “move like a human.”

Wait, what? Don't humans naturally move like humans?

Well, no. Just as you can use a knife as a flat head screwdriver, you can stick a human body at a desk, have it stare at a screen, push buttons on a keyboard, and interact with algorithms – but the knife will break, and the human will go a bit (or a lot) crazy.

In short, there's a profound mismatch between what we've evolved to do and be, and what we're actually rewarded for doing and being in our civilization.

And it's making us miserable, and sick, and weak. It allows us to destroy our planet. It creates the ground for convincing “alternative facts” and fake news and dangerous conspiracy theories.

The mismatch makes us unable to deal with real-world problems like climate destabilization, pandemics, and pollution.

Kelley isn't talking about exercise, or gym workouts. Instead, he wants to get back to natural human movement in relation to nature, embedded in the natural world, seeking joy and meaning rather than comfort and ease.

The first half of our conversation took an unexpected turn for me. We explored learning theory at a very deep level, looking at the work of academics like John Vervaeke, philosophers like Nietzsche, and motor learning practitioners like Nikolai Bernstein, as well as the 4E Cognition movement.

Kelley echoes the work of Barbara Tversky (listen to her episode here) by explaining that all cognition is based on metaphors of movement and location. In other words, if we aren't moving, and challenging ourselves through movement, we're really not learning in some quite profound ways.

Then we looked at health – individual, communal, and planetary – and the role that returning to forms of movement based on play and joy can have on our ability to thrive in the world.

What's wrong with our current culture of physical exercise: gyms, treadmills, weight machines, and so on? Kelley points out that they're based on highly toxic, highly ineffective motivators: shame at our out-of-shape bodies, and abstract ideas of health.

Even if those forms of movement were good for us – which they aren't – the emphasis on looking sexy and fit and/or avoiding disease is doing a terrible job of getting us to move at all. The key, according to Kelley, is to reconnect with joyful movement, the kind that all babies engage in automatically, and that our society punishes us for (“Sit still and pay attention, Howie!”).

All of us can take steps to reclaim our natural heritage of play – testing our edges and our limits, seeking frustration and discomfort in the service of growth and joy and deep belonging to our ecosystem and our planet.

Start simply and modestly, Kelley recommends, with a walk in nature. Listen to bird song. Feel your body feeling connected, and good. And take it from there.

Links

EvolveMovePlay.com

Rafe Kelley on Instagram

Start learning with Rafe

John Vervaeke's YouTube series, “Awakening from the Meaning Crisis

Free to Learn, by Peter Gray

The Secret of Our Success, by Joseph Heinrich

Become a Health Coach

New cohort beginning Fall 2021. Live classes will be 10-11:30am US Eastern Time on Wednesday, so this is a Europe- and Africa-friendly class. Also for folks in the US, Canada, and Central/South America who have flexible mornings.

Find out more and apply here: WellStartCoach.com.

New Audiobook: Use the Weight to Lose the Weight

Listen to Josh LaJaunie and me narrate our latest audiobook, about how to start moving when you're obese.

It's $10, and Josh and I split it evenly 🙂

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Music

The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.

It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.

You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website, WillRidenour.com.

Gratitudes

Thanks to Plant Yourself podcast patrons – Kim Harrison – Lynn McLellan – Brittany Porter – Dominic Marro – Barbara Whitney – Tammy Black – Amy Good – Amanda Hatherly – Mary Jane Wheeler – Ellen Kennelly – Melissa Cobb – Rachel Behrens – Tina Scharf – Tina Ahern – Jen Vilkinofsky – David Byczek – Michele X – Elspeth Feldman – Leah Stolar – Allan Kristensen – Colleen Peck – Michele Landry – Jozina – Sara Durkacs – Kelly Cameron – Janet Selby – Claire Adams – Tom Fronczak – Jeannette Benham – Gila Lacerte – David Donohue – Blair Seibert – Doron Avizov – Gio and Carolyn Argentati – Jodi Friesner – Mischa Rosen – Michael Worobiec – AvIvA Lael – Alicia Lemus – Val Linnemann – Nick Harper – Bandana Chawla – Molly Levine – The Inscrutable Harry R – Susan Laverty the Panda Vegan – Craig Covic – Adam Scharf – Karen Bury – Heather Morgan – Nigel Davies – Marian Blum – Teresa Kopel – Julian Watkins – Brid O'Connell – Shannon Herschman – Linda Ayotte – Holm Hedegaard – Isa Tousignant – Connie Haneline – Erin Greer – Alicia Davis – Heather O'Connor – Carollynne Jensen – Sheri Orlekoski of Plant Powered for Health – Karen Smith – Scott Mirani – Karen and Joe Crabtree – Kirby Burton – Theresa Carrell – Kevin Macaulay – Elizabeth Rothschild – Ann Jesse – Sheryl Dwyer – Jenny Hazelton – Peter W Evans – Dennis Bird – Darby Kelly – Lori Fanney – Linnea Lundquist – Emily Iaconelli – Levi Wallach – Rosamonde McAtee – Dan Pokorney – Stephen Leinin – Patty DeMartino – Mike and Donna Kartz – Deanne Bishop – Bilberry Elf – Marjorie Lewis – Tricia Adams – Nancy Sheldon – Lindsey Bashore – Gunn Marit Hagen – Tracey Gulledge – Lara Hedin – Meg from Mamasezz – Stacey Stokes – Ben Savage – Michael K – David Hughes -Coni Rodgers – Claire England – Sally Robertson – Parham Ganchi – Amy Dailey – Brian Tourville – Mark Jeffrey Johnson – Josie Dempsey – Caryn Schmitt – Pamela Hayden – Emily Perryman – Allison Corbett – Richard Stone – Lauren Vaught of Edible Musings – Erin Hastey – Sean Owens – Sagar Naik – Erika Piedra – Danielle Roberts – Michael Leuchten – Sarah Johnson – Katharine Floyd – Meryl Fury – for your generous support of the podcast.

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