Olympics – the Art of Movement

Dancers are the athletes of God.

-Albert Einstein

The 2012 London Olympic Games have been on my mind lately, no doubt because they have also been playing on TVs everywhere. When a friend contended that sports do not benefit the human species whatsoever, I immediately rose to the defense. I was so incensed that I surprised myself. When I thought about it, though, it made perfect sense.

If dancers are the athletes of God, as Einstein said, then Olympians are dancers among athletes. Nobody needs to contend at the levels that they do. The fact that they do, the fact that they compete with the best in the world is inspirational all by itself. But it also elevates their pursuit to an art. The Olympics are a celebration of the art of movement.

Art deserves another post altogether, but the Art of Movement is the lens through which I see the world. A thought is a movement of a synapse or an idea flashing through your mind. Can you catch it? Life is movement: the pulse of a heartbeat, the first step out of a warm bed, the budding of a spring flower. Music moves the heart, math moves the mind, love moves us to cherish each other and nudge the best parts of life toward one another.

As a tricker, I have always known that the mind holds the body back. My fear was always the limiting factor. But it isn’t until recently that I fully realized that there is no mind/body divide. The body reacts to the mind immediately, consciously and unconsciously. It also changes itself to suit the tasks the mind sets it to, growing stronger and more resilient. It is an extension of the mind. On the other hand, the mind is highly sensitive to the body’s disposition. Whether injured, sick, under the influence, there is no doubt that the mind is an extension of the body.

Mind and body are one.

That’s why I appreciate the Olympic athletes to the extent that I do. They are artists operating at unbelievable levels. To be that alive is incredibly inspirational. As I said to my friend:

Without mental acuity and dedication, you cannot stand among Olympians. They represent the best qualities of humankind – that, despite knowing their success won’t last beyond their lifetime, or perhaps even their 20s, they will still fight to redefine the limits of what’s possible…not just for themselves, but for all of us.

Some people become doctors, some artists, some scientists. The breadth and depth of human achievement is incredible, but in order for any of us to make a dent in the universe, whether it’s saving lives, scientific discovery, or breaking a world record, one must have dedication. Nowhere is that dedication more obvious than in athletics.

I’ll end on this note, because I know I must end – whether gay or straight, scientist or artist, writer or a programmer, we are all human, participating in the universe through our remarkable human bodies. Some decide to employ that gift to its fullest, and it is a joy to behold. Is it not wondrous to imagine what we might be capable of, when we put our minds to it?