On December 17, the New York Times ran a piece on “How Exercise Changes Our DNA,” thus proposing we can affect our genetic makeup by how actively we live our lives.
Nice! But we can go a lot further with this — to that oft ignored, and invisible place where we know that our genes are affected not only by how we move our muscles but how we move our minds. That place where it’s possible to create a self fulfilling prophecy that is not a dream, not an illusion, but undeniably real.
A Body in Motion
The idea that we need to “Keep Moving” is more essential to our vitality and health than we think. At a certain point, too many of us, myself included, set the more active phase of life aside. We think slowing down, sitting back, laying low, is natural. Just the way it is. Yet, If we choose the high road, believing instead, that we’re the pattern makers of our destinies, in both body and mind, how much more willing might we be to take part in sparking the creation of our lives?
Instead of men and women in their fifties, sixties, seventies and eighties falling apart, we might continue to alter the old, accepted pattern of decay to one of healthy growth and active engagement. Why not?
This is no pipe dream. It’s Epigenetics, a type of biology that studies changes in how a gene expresses itself when it’s influenced by events above and beyond the gene itself, such as environment, experience, beliefs, and images — events other than specific changes in the underlying DNA sequence — hence the term epi-genetics (from the Greek for over, above, outer). Although these influences from outside and above don’t change the underlying sequence of our DNA (i.e. our hard drive), they do cause our genes to function, or “to express themselves” in a different way. And these new genetic expressions, once created, need not stop. They can be passed along to future generations.Holy moley. Shazaam. And so forth.
The science of using outside behavior and our innermost thoughts to affect what’s going on, on the inside, may, in another twenty years, inform the way we live our lives. At least for those who want to live better, healthier, happier and longer.
A client of mine, a psychiatric nurse/dancer worked with patients in a large Manhattan hospital, where she managed to get a donation of tap shoes and started holding tap classes twice a week for the patients. The “short of it” is it changed their mood, and the way they thought and behaved. The “long of it” is the change extended into all areas of their lives. Sadly, they left their tapping and the concurrent changes it wrought, behind when they left the hospital.
Imagine what might have happened had they not.
Tapping it Forward
So let’s keep tapping. Never stop. Our bodies and minds are the laboratories of both our personal and universal futures.Imagine! Happier, healthier, more engaged generations to come, living happier, healthier, more engaged lives. Genetic engineering at it’s best! Not a bad thought, not bad at all. . .
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