On Balance, Movement And Panic
When I write these I pretend only my friends are reading these (might be true) because then I don’t feel like they need to be meaningful. When I try and make them meaningful they seem to be cheesy or obvious or repetitive. And, they get long
I’ve been encouraged to make them shorter, which is hard.
Last Monday I ventured out of my normally solo Contemplation Day realm because the sun was warm and the house was cold. I rode my bike to the park and planned to pedal around as slowly as possible letting the light and heat permeate me. I happened to come upon a group of people doing circus arts and taking turns on a slack line. A friend and yoga student, Rodrigo, has been inviting me to try slack lining with him, saying it’s a great compliment to yoga. As I was watching them from afar, Rodrigo rode up behind me and said, “Hey what are you doing here?” and then “Come on!” and off he went to join them. I did not want to go, my introspection and silence are so precious. But how could I not?
The line was too high for beginners so they suggested I just sit in the middle and try lifting both feet. No one seemed to be watching me but now and then someone would offer a suggestion - “always keep your eyes focused on the end of the line,” or, “put your arms up like this, elbows just above your shoulders, let them be loose.” They weren’t talking much amongst themselves either as they practiced juggling or tossing a spinning mandala kind of fabric in the air. But when they did speak they mostly said, “Don’t think, just feel it. You can’t do it by thinking, you have to let your body go.”
Later, one of the jugglers suggested I try standing on the line, while he sat in the middle to lower and stabilize it a bit. He was very relaxed and kind and as I began he said, “Even though it seems unbelievable, if you flutter your fingers like this it will discharge the vibration of the line.” I had my arms up in the sort of overhead cup shape they had suggested before, but the line was vibrating side to side like crazy, making me hold my breath and feel panicky. Guess what - when I fluttered my fingers it worked! I mostly forgot to do it, and also mostly forgot to breathe. But when I breathed, focused on the end of the line, and fluttered my fingers I could step up and move my free foot forward and back.
When my helper congratulated me and said I should probably take a rest I said, “But I never felt like I had my balance.” He replied, “No, you never will, but if you just keep moving and don’t panic you won’t fall off.” I’ll take that advice and run with it……