The Dancing Young Man
Sunday afternoon, December 12th, 2010
It's been quite a day already. I had tears behind my eyeballs, even as I left the house this morning for a second day on my own. Two things contributed to that, I believe. One, I had not heard back from two people I had suggested seeing today. I was feeling a bit invisible. Then, here I was, heading to Rainbow's End for a second day on my own, to sit in front of my computer, editing and posting images. Good stuff, but I knew that I really had no other alternative in mind. Should be meditating. Should be hiking. Should be outdoors on this gorgeous day. But there I was, on the computer again, feeling narrow and stuck in a rut. I did another beautiful piece of monochrome editing work (Maria) until about 1pm, and then decided to just get up and get out. The tears were still there, just behind.
Thought I was headed for the Quaker Center, the labyrinth, maybe a little hike, and some meditation. Knew I needed grounding. On the way down Highway Nine I realized that what I wanted was the ocean, that place where my truth resides as a shining globe inside a shell at the bottom of the sea, as I was shown during my Shamanic class.
I ended up at the marvelous little clothing optional beach along West Cliff Drive. The tide was in a ways. Sat in the sun against a cliff and meditated and journeyed. Asked the boy who I once was, turtle, bat, wolf, and teacher to join me on this beach not that different from the one we have gathered on many times. I told them that I felt adrift and unanchored. Again I asked the question of why I need to be noticed or acknowledged to feel visible.
The boy who I once was reminded me that as a young person I was like Joshua as a child, open, wide eyed, excited about everything, seemingly scattered only because I lived much more fully in each moment, pretty unaware of anything else. The boy I once was went on to tell me that this is why I have a negative reaction to those I see as being filled with too much exuberance and neediness, trying to do everything to make themselves seen, because it reminds me how much I am missing those very things in my own life. The boy I once was told me that it was ok to not like the neediness, but that these things can be had without neediness, without clutching, without being driven.
Pretty smart kid!
Turtle talked about being the ground upon which I always walk, whether I am on the earth, wood, or wearing socks and shoes. It is always turtle upon whom I walk. "I am your anchor," he firmly reminded me.
I am already grounded. Stay mindful of that.
At first bat did not know what to say. "You are stuck," he finally said. "You're serious, you just don't play much or even move much. You gotta move, man. It ain't dance, right now it ain't even hiking. How about basketball? How about you get out in that driveway of yours and just move and jump and play?"
I can do that.
Wolf, curled up at my side, acknowledged his age and mine. “Things are slower. You do get tired. But speed is not the point, just be present in each step, mindful of each step. It's the quality of each step, not the number or pace of steps, that is important."
Teacher, what did teacher have to say? I don't really remember specifically. I believe it had something to do with simply doing things not for the notice of others, but just for myself. Hmmmm, I'm remembering. He said that even in doing them for myself, it should not be to feel important. "Don't do things to feel valuable, just do them. It's not, I am editing to seek another's or even my own acknowledgement. I am just editing. I am just walking. I am just creating. I am just eating. I am. I am. I am, not I do, I do, I do."
Wow! Pure and simple mindfulness.
As this journey came to a close, I moved back into meditation, and then opened my eyes to just sit there and look out at the ocean. A young man and his girlfriend arrived on the beach. She sat on a rock as he undressed and walked down to the water. He was young, with his hair in dreadlocks. He began to dance and jump around at the water's edge, to get the blood flowing in his body before entering the cold water. Then as he began to dance and move out into the waves, he would let out wonderful high pitched whooping sounds as each wave got more and more of his body wet. Then he ran in circles on the beach, spun himself around and around in a dervish, whooped, danced, and frolicked back into the sea.
I could not take the smile off my face as I watched him. I had the thought of taking off my own clothes and joining him, but didn't want to interrupt his solitary time out there on the beach, and . . . I had a reluctance to get wet and cold. Some other time I told myself. It's enough to just watch and enjoy this.
And I felt old. And I felt the several pounds I have put back on again. I acknowledged my unhappiness with myself. And then, as the young man walked back to chat with his girlfriend, I found myself taking off my clothes, told him that he had inspired me, and headed for the water.
As I began to enter the ocean and to make little whoops myself, I turned to see the young man returning to the water. "How does that go?," I yelled, laughing, as I began to jump up and down and wave my arms as he had first done. And that began to open me up. I moved out into the water, finally submerging myself completely into an oncoming wave, whooped, hollered, danced, and laughed. It was delightful!
Later I returned to my clothes, grabbed my camera, and asked the young man if he would take a picture of me, which he did. Then he put his arm out to me and invited me to take hold. We spun ourselves around and around faster and faster and faster, laughing and shouting it up the whole time!
I thanked him and then walked up the beach a ways, and the tears came. What a good cry it was!
Not a bad day, huh? Came home and had a salad for dinner. Tomorrow, basketball.
I am writing. Will I publish it? Probably. But it'll be different this time. I didn't write this for you. I didn't write it for me. I just wrote.