Skates and Stilts

My duvet is permeated in playa dust. I never cleaned it. Eventually I’ll have to, but for the time being I enjoy sleeping in its dusty embrace. Perhaps the pH of my blood is permanently altered as a result. Maybe I should bathe in vinegar.

I am high on caffeine. I drank three earl grey teas tonight. Not thinking about the stimulating drugs contained therein. Oh well. I’m up. I’m up. That’s the way it is. I could tumble and curse in my sheets trying desperately to cloak my mind in unconsciousness without success, or I could do that. Write. Take advantage of the time I have bought with my waking mind by doing something productive. Wow. I was thinking about typing there and my efficacy just nosedived. Don’t think too much about what you do or you’ll no longer be able to do it. Feeling works much better.

That seems to be the lesson for the week. Saturday I went ice skating for the first time since I was a kid, in fact by my estimation its probably been two decades since I last had a pair of skates on my feet. I never learned how to skate. I was a perpetual bruised bottom, and for me, not being instantly good at anything also meant a bruised ego. Because I’m supposed to be good at everything.

Well, I can skate now. I couldn’t when I stepped onto the ice. But, two or three hours later I could get around with something resembling grace.

It was good to go through the phases of learning. Unconscious incompetent. Conscious incompetent. Consciously competent and unconsciously competent. Now I wouldn’t say that I excelled at skating. Turning and stopping were still pretty illusive, but the progress was remarkable. I also learned a lot about how you succeed at something that you initially do not know how to do. I got instruction from Fred and Ashley, but turning someone elses’ words into muscluar action isn’t an A to B proposition. I had to just try and try and try. The important part about that was not getting discouraged. It used to be after a few failures I’d start getting frustrated with myself which would lead to bullish attempts that were doomed to failure. Instead I just incrementally stumbled around laughing when I feel instead of cursing. Progress through failure.

As the pieces started to make sense it became necessary to change tactics. I’d skate properly for an instant – and then loose it. It then turned out that if I occupied my brain with something else, talking to a friend or spinning a staff my legs would pretty much operate themselves using what they’d just learned. Towards the end of the evening I seized upon yet another method. I would focus on a goal, like a tree, or a bench or a person and keep my thinking mind on that goal and my body did the rest. This by far produced the best results and I was able to cover distance at a decent clip without too much effort.

The whole episode was a marked contrast to the stilt walking fiasco of this summer where I managed to break not only my own stilts but Ashley’s as well. I felt like an abject failure, somehow flawed and useless. When I look back I realize I just wasn’t approaching the activity with the sense of humility and humour that I do now. Now I feel like I can do anything, but I don’t expect it to happen instantly or without effort.

This is only one of the reasons that I’m excited to be getting out of the corporate grind. I feel and I know that I’m more capable now than ever and I have the tools to do whatever I want, to deal with whatever comes my way. I feel no shame in taking time off or in doing menial jobs while I work out just what my work will be. I think its necessary to recover from the years of self-judgement as well as the years of corporatism. I don’t feel lazy. I feel like I’m taking care of myself, mind, body and soul. Its a sabbatical in the truest sense of the word. Time to exit from the chaos and really get in touch with myself and what’s important to me. What will emerge will be closer to my life’s work than anything else I’ve done up until now. I will not ignore the signals that I receive from my heart, my body and the world around me.

I’m happier and more at peace than I ever have been. I am filled with confidence and hope for the future. I believe that I will make a difference. Nay, I’m certain of it.

Year Change

Time to change two digits (assuming a base-10 system) on your year, if you’re using the Gregorian calendar that is. Yeah its pretty arbitrary, but still sort of noteworthy.

My best New Year’s Eve hands down was the one I spent in Syndey with the Cave Clan. We were up the CSR distillery/silos illegal partying. Mr. India, Hatchet, Siolo, Trioxide, the whole damn gang. My girlfriend at the time was there. It was good times. We had a great view of the city, we had booze, we were far and away from any prying eyes. It was free. At some point we started shooting bangers off of the roof. Good fun. Then security guards showed up at the gates below, flashlights in hand – I think they yelled up at us. Of course we’d planned for that possibility.

We all ran down the stairs or slid down the ladders or leapt from level to level. Then with the aid of a preinstalled rope line scrambled down a steep embankment and vanished through a narrow, all but invisible slit in the corrugated metal fence around the property and into the secure courtyard of a fancy schmansy condo building. The security guards at CSR were left wondering where we all dissapeared to and the security guard at the condos was let wondering where all these unwashed youths came from.

We drove off to some bunkers on the south shore just as a group of teens were being evicted by security guards. Talking to them they hinted that they’d be going off duty in about ten minutes and didn’t give a damn what happened after that. We drank in the parking lot for fifteen minutes, then set off.

We set off more bangers, some inside the bunkers, some out over the harbour. A boat in the harbour responded by launching a few fireworks of their own.

I don’t remember how I got home or how the night ended. Maybe I never did. What I do know is that I had an incredibly good time that night. No overpriced bar tabs or cover charges, no lame ass house parties, just drinking, good friends, adrenaline fuelled sprints and explosions. Who could ask for more on New Year’s Eve? Not I.

The past few years New Years has been even more anti-climatic than usual. Slept through it two years ago. Went to a ho-hum party last year where I realized that me and my girlfriend at the time just wouldn’t work out. This year slept through it again since the party options before me were neither terribly condusive to the mood I’m in right now. I want to spend New Year’s with friends, carving an intention for the future, but almost all of my friends are out of town. Instead I’m going to get up nice and early, when everyone else is rock cold asleep, and I’m going to watch the sun rise.

Yeah I feel dumb in a way. I probably could have gone out and ended up having fun by letting go of all the hangups. Who can know? I certainly can’t. So I’ll just do as I do. Go as I go. Wishing that some of you, all of you, were here.