The small man
Builds cages for everyone
While the sage,
Who has to duck his head
When the moon is low,
Keeps dropping keys all night long
I was telling Chris about something that happened at my tai chi class that has been on my mind this week, and she ‘dropped a key’. (I wish I knew how to link to her great post on this, but I don’t yet. I encourage you to go read around in her blog, Everyday Feats of Courage for some really fine thinking and gorgeous writing. You can click on it from my blog roll.)
Anyway, a couple of the fellas in the class had asked Allie if there were exercises that would help with balance, and we did a little extra balance work in the class. He said some interesting things as we were doing the exercises, including this: Many people don’t actually walk, it’s literally controlled falling. And this: Studies show that walking pace slows as balance increases. He pointed out that dancers move differently that other people, and they don’t look like they are hurrying. I thought about how Jillian walks, and how beautiful and easy-going it looks. And as I watched Allie demonstrate the exercises, I couldn’t help but notice how in-line and graceful he looked while he did them.
Now, as someone who has trouble walking…. I would say “and chewing gum,” but in the interested of accuracy, I should probably say “and staying upright,” …this was all very interesting to me. Is my walking just controlled falling? Do I just use my next step to stop my fall (not always successfully)? Hmmm.
Chris asked this, “How much of our living is lurching from one emergency or crisis to another?” Oh my goodness! Exactly! So many of the things on my list are pointed toward changing the balance — toward good health, physically and spiritually, for me, for those I love, for my small corner of the world. Learning to walk “with poise and peace and intention,” Chris said. That’s the key!
Maybe this is a good time to review The List, so I can give you some examples.
Here is The List of ten things that I want to/think I should/am afraid to do, but will try to do before the end of this year:
1. Commit to walk anywhere that is less than one mile away.
I am walking a lot more, and I love it! I extended the commitment to “anywhere in the borough,” and it makes me slow down, not take on as much, since I have to plan for the time it will take to walk to places. It’s been a really good thing to do. There are a lot of interesting things to tell you about walking, which I will do in another post.
2. Take a tai chi class and/or a yoga class.
Tai chi has been really good for me, and it’s fun that Laura took the class so she could come with me to class, and I could show her off. And Sarah is taking tai chi this semester, too! I added a second class this week, and it was really cool. Allie teaches it, too, but it seemed different than the Wednesday class. Chris tried to show me yoga, but I was really bad at it. I still might take a class with Caryl at a new studio opening in town.
3. Grow enough tomatoes for a whole year. Maybe green beans, too.
The weather didn’t cooperate on the tomatoes, but I love our little tomato garden for so many reasons, including the delicious Cherokee purple tomato sandwich I enjoyed for lunch, but mostly because Steve and I did it together. Love and homegrown tomatoes. You can’t buy ’em.
4. Get into a clinical trial on chemobrain or some alternative chemobrain therapies.
I don’t have anything to report on this one — or maybe I just can’t remember. : )
5. Ask the questions that I want answers to.
I’m getting better at this, but it’s still hard, even for small things. One question, “Do you think lifting weights would be good for me?” has resulted in a fun, new routine that involves walking, lifting, drinking coffee, and philosophizing. What a great combination!
6. Attend a powwow.
Still need to do this before the year is out.
7. Go to a post-cancer support group.
Does my “life after breast cancer” class count? I learned a lot about myself during that time.
8. Write more.
I am writing more. Not enough, but more.
9. Learn a new language.
I haven’t found a class time that works yet.
10. Ride the bus.
I still need to do this, but Laura and Jack rode the bus! Admittedly, it was to cut a mile off of the return hike from Green Acres, but they figured out which bus to get on and how to get home. There were three people on the bus….Laura, Jack and the driver.
(11. Make a new list.)
I’ve started a new list. It includes this really fun goal: Going to every museum in Gettysburg! It will also be kind of hard, since I feel funny going into places where I am not sure I belong. Like the new Brooks Brothers outlet. Although walking in there with my son the offensive/defensive tackle, and having him give the salesman who was dressed in a striped, white collared shirt and tie with a cashmere cardigan tied around his shoulders the “once over,” and turning to me to say, “I could rock that style,” makes me hope that Jack will come with me to at least some of the museums.
Now, a final thought on controlled falling. Sometimes I think it’s okay to fall into something without holding back. Like faith and love and friendship and parenting and laughter. Sometimes we need to fall overboard….even if it’s not peaceful or poised, because it can be grace-filled.
But as strong as I seem to think I am my distressing damsel,
She comes out at night when the moon’s filled up and your eyes are
bright, then I think I simply ought to
Fall over, fall over, fall overboard, overboard
Fall overboard just so you can catch me
You can catch me