• Aileen McKernan

When I was a Child, a Movement Manifesto



When I was a child, I spent after-school hours with my brothers and sister combing the neighborhood for other kids to play with. We engaged in epic battles of king of the hill at Delazier Field, I got tackled in street football, hit my first home run over the Oakes’ fence, rode bikes into untold territories and once miraculously found my way with Michael lost in the woods at Glenwild Lake to Morris Lake to Union Road right down Van Dam Ave where my parents still live today. I climbed trees, sat in trees, and tightrope walked on a jump rope between trees (ask Laura Taylor how that turned out, if she remembers…I’ll never forget the thud)! I was enrolled in sports with my siblings and engaged in physical activity as a way of life. Inseparable from breathing, from living, from being, movement was to me. Looking back, it’s no wonder I became a Physical Therapist. But it is a wonder that I am learning how to play again in my body and in my life.


Something happened along the way from my childhood to empowered to play again. Trauma. Age. Stress. Poor body image. Central Air. Education. Injuries. Chronic Pain. Disappointments. Baggage. With it my sense of wonder and joy in movement, in play, in life got locked away. I became an adult with real world responsibilities, and not a very happy or fulfilled one at that! That all changed about 2 1/2 years ago. After a bad break up and a move and career change that never worked out, I was forced to do a gut check. How can I authentically live out who God has made me to be?


By God’s grace during that time period I stumbled across a physical training philosophy called Natural Movement, or MovNat for short. I was immediately drawn to their intuitive approach of moving naturally in nature as humans are designed to do (go figure). I’m not sure they would say as God designed us, but as a PT who appreciates that sequential physical development is a brainchild of Divinity, I got it. As I watched their promo videos of men and women doing amazing feats of climbing, jumping, and swimming something deep within me stirred and I knew I had to find out more. So, I did. I began practicing on my own following their YouTube videos and I checked out a MovNat workshop.


In the span of a few short months my flexibility and strength improved dramatically. More impressive to me was the awakening that MovNat had on my Spirit. I was enthralled with the sense of wonder that came from the grace of moving deeply connected with my body in my environment. It rekindled something primitive and engrained in me, my childhood passion for movement and play. My inability to live without moving. I wasn’t a diehard MovNat practitioner, nor am I now but I learned the basics and began incorporating them into my life. Even at that I suddenly found myself exploring new limits of strength, mobility, and flexibility I didn’t know I could have. I was gaining a sense of freedom and confidence in my skin. I wasn’t working out for some benefit of being fit or strong or looking good or losing weight or because I was supposed to because it’s “good for me”, I was playing, having the time of my life, and reaping those benefits as a secondary gain.


Two years later I can do a full squat without lifting my heels for the first time in my life! Two years later, I can do a handstand for the first time in my life! Two years later, I’m beginning to practice partner acrobatics. Two years later, I’m having more joy, more fun, more vitality, and more freedom in my body and in my life, even as I’m approaching 40! And although this physical awakening stirred parts of my Spirit, this journey hasn’t been independent of my heart’s journey for freedom from the hang-ups and hindrances of my past that also had me locked down.


As intensively as I’ve been growing in my body I have also been growing in the Word, in God’s Love for me. But this journey, mind, body, and spirit has been incredibly interdynamic for me, dare I say fitly joined together. Where did one start or the other end? Was it confidence in God’s love for me that I tried something new, going to a MovNat workshop? Or was it the other way around? I remember the day I did a pullup for the first time, I made business phone calls that previously intimidated me. Body. Mind. Spirit. He came to redeem all of us. This seamlessness of life for me, has freed me tremendously from the rigidity, rules, and expectations I had previously lived in. This part of me is sacred. This part of me is secular. No. He tore down the wall, the veil is rent. I am no longer an adult on lock down, but I’m a child of God learning to play again, in my workouts and in my life, enjoying all of Him and all of me in all that He made, and all that He made me to be.


And that’s what JointFit is all about. Living. Moving. Having our Being. Fully alive. Fully engaged. Mind. Body. And Spirit. Together. In His Creation. In Him. You see it’s not about how many pushups or pullups you or I can do, how fast, or how far we each can run. It’s not about personal records although those can be nice accomplishments when they aren’t the focus. What it’s about is being at peace with God, ourselves, and each other. Of being secure in our own skins and enjoying our lives because we understand just how deeply loved we are by God. True fitness is resting and trusting in this amazing God who engineered our minds, bodies, and spirits to be fitly joined together no matter what the day holds.


JointFit is a living, moving expression of that. Each JointFit workout or event is guaranteed to engage your mind, body, and spirit and inspire you to live out your life with more joy, confidence, and vitality. It doesn’t matter your age, your physical condition, your limitations, or even really your strengths when you’re strong in Him, and those things certainly don’t have to limit you or your future at JointFit workouts. We enjoy God and each other in Faith, in Fitness, and in Fun to Live GodStrong in our lives. This is who I am, and this is what JointFit is all about.


I’m not too far from where I began, just more confident in God and in His Love in me. Now as more of a child than ever, I paddle, I laugh, I run, I walk, I jump, I hang, I climb, I try new things, I stretch my body, I stretch my mind, I allow my Spirit to be awakened by God’s beauty in the breeze in the morning, the bird’s chirping, the satisfaction of having my heart pumping. I play. Like a child. Just a little older, and a lot wiser to realize there’s some things that never grow old.


In Love & Fitness,

Aileen

JointFit Founder and Executive Fun Engineer

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For further thought:

  • What kind of activities did you enjoy as a child?

  • How do you nurture or cultivate your child like sense of play in your life these days?

  • How could having more fun in your own skin impact your life and current responsibilities?

  • What is one thing you can do to intentionally incorporate more play in your life today?

Comment your response below to share your story and perhaps inspire others!

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