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.


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