While contemplating the different paths we each choose to let curiosity lead us down, I literally stumbled across an experience that cast a bit of light on the shadow of emerging wakefulness that annually marks February’s initiation. Shortly after a new student withdrew from our Tai Chi group I found myself drifting across the room towards my teacher while practicing with my eyes closed. Reorienting myself it struck me that both my directional shift and our member’s departure were results of the same cause : magnetic attraction/repulsion. Later a long solitary walk in nature’s powerful presence reiterated this same awareness of how influential this inner directional magnetic compass is. I’m sure by now we all agree that much of nature is driven by this same instinctual magnetic wisdom; that which draws the groundhog out and sends flocks southward at approximately similar times each year. Our misinterpretation of this same pull of curiosity’s creator can sometimes cause us to poke our noses into dens of mystery that would be better off left alone.Those of us who choose to ignore these natural laws and rhythms in favor of playing knowledgeable magician will not escape the backlash when our self created aberrated planetary field takes on it’s own Frankenstein’s Bride life and comes back to bury us in the wintery blanket of eternal sleep. I still hope we choose to forgo those devastaing directions and heed our inner ancestral wisdoms. I hold the faith that among the continuing numbers of emerging hermetic hibernators, I will meet at least some “otter” and “beaver” cousins who have found the way to play, build, and create with the openhearted curiosity that celebrates listening to the guidance of life’s natural songlines.
With a preponderance of thoughts of the loves that bring me joy filling my Romance review cap my father suddenly came to mind. Fathers often define what romance becomes for their daughters : what we see with “starry eyes”. The qualities I espoused in my Romance blog three years ago were undeniably shaped by my father’s example and still stand as my measuring stick for that true essence. It is not just a list of characteristics I realize now, but the container that has grown to hold all my lifestyle choices. My father was not an academically educated man. His dreams of that were fettered by his family’s poverty, but over the years I watched him charm and fascinate all types of worldly folks. His surprisingly extensive knowledge (probably amassed during off-duty hours reading in his marine engineer’s bunk) consistently turned attitudes of sophisticated snobbery into genuine respect. Even when the change came begrudgingly, the bottom line was that he effected change, usually totally unintentionally. He simply engaged life and all beings, wholeheartedly. What made him so unique is that he simply dug into the daily business of life and lived it while catching the myriad flying balls it threw at him with the finesse and humor of a juggler. No bystander left a first meeting with my Dad without having learned to catch or juggle a few balls of life as love in action. My dad may very well have experienced romances unknown to us while he sailed the earth, but on leave he surrounded us with a safety and security of love that was anything but abstract or theoretical, a true Romance with feet firmly grounded in family.
For many folks physical activity is defined solely by daily life routine. Limitations on mobility or any of our five senses, including natural bodily changes of later life constantly challenge us to reincorporate physical activity in new and different ways. During a summer of rehabilitation from a leg injury I had the luxury of working out in a good friend’s pool. I must admit there was a special beauty to days of rain or unusual summer coolness when I had that arena all to myself and was happy to indulge in it alone for hours. Having to focus on body awareness and improvement as a path for healing from an illness can be a temporary necessity, but it opened my eyes as to just how easily it can become either an isolating or habitual narcissistic manner of daily life. I was aware that several folks coordinated their swim times together just as many now meet up for daily runs, walks, or bike rides. This recent boom in group recreational awareness is one way to keep up the team aspect of physical play long after the body may not be able to participate in more demanding team sports, and I still believe that the family that plays together stays together. Now that I am continuing to create a healthier body through vegetarianism, Qi Gong and Tai Chi, the next step is to rejoin whatever new midlife family I’m destined to play with. Life is such a crazy dance itself that I feel stronger than ever that the only way to survive is to continue to dance through it. This was, is, and always will be the only new years resolution you’ll ever find me shaping around physical activity. Anybody for push hands, tango for two, or a stomp around tribal drums ?
Just like the timespans before and after assassinations of beings who have served as beacons of great hope, the lighthouse of idealism that flashes for the human race holds it’s moments of stillness, the darkness of void, the “half empty” glass into which some fall and never emerge. Three years of unemployment, ill health, groping thru the darkness of one’s own confusion; of draining resources, time and patience from friends and family can certainly lead one towards the glass half empty perspective.I find instead that my own idealism has simply taken a break for an indeterminate time. I’d prefer to say I have simply turned an empty glass upside down on the bar of life and signaled to the server enough already. In times like these a kite seems a more apt metaphor for idealism than the glass half full. A fully energized kite remains connected to the earth, preferably via another mobile object like one of us. Although limited in flight pattern and distance the dance of a high flying kite is anything but fettered or lacking in power. Who really wants to see the kite break free and sail off into the sunset only to end up dashed on the rocks in a soggy, splintered mess? That’s never been my picture of life’s idealistic flight.I like to think that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. learned exactly how to use his full power of idealism as defined by it’s earthly limitations. That such noble idealism can exist within such tightly held reins is enough proof for me to continue to strive to keep idealism alive and well. In 2014 may we all have the wind beneath our high flying ideals, and any kite makers out there needing an apprentice, I’m ready 🙂