And does it make your rabid dog go quiet? What do you feel?
In the YMCA after my eviction, I take the steps two at a time going up. (You know... exercise helps with stress response).
What about going down? I try it. Unsteady on my feet, one cautious hand on the hand rail. More certain now - hands off - focus on being fluid. Try to make the impact on my knees less. Try to make my footfall as I climb two at a time more quiet. Speed more consistent. I will be 60 next month. I am learning to dance through the obstacles the universe presents. Perform in the present. One huge benefit, it shuts that dog the hell up.
As a child and young adult I only had the present, really. The fear and pain of the past is miniscule, a lot less than I learnt to endure as I lived the consequences of my adult choices. Some children are not so lucky but I remember the wild freedom of living in the present as a teenager and young adult. Dancing through the universe in the present, all pain and joy in the instant lived.
In middle age I remember the intense pain of a failed affair (don't judge - I am being honest here so you understand my conflicted-ness) driving my Saab 9000i on the motorway at 90mph finding each concrete bridge support flashing by was inviting me to twitch the steering wheel towards it to end the tear-blurring pain I was feeling. That pain was in the present. My rabid dog had me by the throat and was trying to rip it out. But here's the thing. It was a past event – recent I grant you – but a past event.
My daughter is cycling in front of me on our outing that she has moved heaven and earth to force me to come along on. With her implacable 8 year old logic she was trying to cheer me up. My rabid dog was in charge. She was trying to ground me in the present. In the cycle ride I ignored the wisdom of children, my glorious child. I trace the beginning of the crack that is now an un-crossable gulf between us to that moment that I gave up. I hit the cycle brakes – forcing her to turn for home so I could nurse my past rather than to exist in the present with her. Her protesting tears ignored, to my shame.
Existing in the present seems to me to be a huge step in the right direction. I am not inviting you to take steps two at a time going down. Perhaps I am inviting you to choose to push your envelope in whatever way you find shuts that effing dog up if only for a minute.
More startling than anything - as I push it and take the steps down two at a time - I feel young again.
A Moodscope member.
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