Saturday, July 25, 2009

On Innocent Joy...

So this is it, I'm biting the bullet and entering the world of blogging. Okay, I have to confess that I was stuck when it came to trying to articulate what this blog would be about. I, naturally, sought the advice of friends, some who blog, some who read blogs and others who read about blogs. I was encouraged to write about my observations, ideas, events.

We were sitting at our favourite coffee shop, a place dubbed by one of my friends as, "Fate's Waiting Room". It's a place where people gather regularly, not unlike at the bar in Cheers. My coffee shop buddies are from different walks of life, races, experiences. What unites us is JAVA (of course!) and a left-of-center, humanist attitude that transcends many differences. Not to say that we are perfect and never have a judgmental, opinionated moment. We're full of opinions! But we do make the effort to understand each other. I value that because, frankly, we are all in this boat together and those moments of honest connection, and creative problem solving are infinitely more inspiring and nurturing than doing this life's walk in conflict, isolation and suffering.

As we talked, two adults in their 20's set up on the side walk with two skipping ropes. In the sweltering summer heat, they turned double dutch for anyone who was willing to have a go. My inner seven year old was itching to jump, skipping having been a great childhood joy for me. That and swinging. When I'd sit on a swing, I felt free, like it was the closest I was going to get to flying. And when I jumped rope, I felt holistically in tune, my body, mind and emotions working together harmoniously to produce....JOY!

But adult humans being what we are, we watched first, for quite a while before any of us made a move to join in. We went through our critique of what was happening. Funny how we do that, unable to just look at something for what it is and just trust it, enjoy it the way we would have as children. The critique centered on turning technique--"They're not using their whole arms, They're not in sync, They're not....They're not...." --all of it an excuse for hanging back and not participating.

My inner seven year old, of course, knew exactly what needed doing and proceed to the skipping ropes; my Adult following. When I got there, I heard the rope turners (no, actually now they are called "spinners") discussing turning technique. One was male and the other female. The male behaved as though he was the supreme authority on jump rope schooling his female turning partner. My Adult was thinking, "Does he really believe she's never skipped in her life? Or that she doesn't have a jump rope trick or two to teach him?"

While my adult was slipping into critique again, my inner Child decided on a much more immediate and authentic course of action. She got busy jumping! BUT the way she like it. No double dutch for her--one rope, old school, thanks.

They doubled up the rope, turned a beautiful circle and I jumped in. And Jumped! It was exhilarating! I didn't jump for as long as I would have at Seven (45 bringing its physical limitations) but i did have a glorious moment of remembering, in body, mind and emotion, JOY, the kind of JOY that only innocence and play can bring.

It didn't take much to revisit that place. No special, expensive high tech equipment required. Just a simple rope and a co-operative willingness to participate in this experience, differences of opinion and judgement set aside. Making magic is as simple as that.


  1. I have a huge smile on my face as I imagine you jumping the rope. Our little critical voices must be overcome in order to participate in our lives fully. Fact is .... we want to! I think as we age we want to more and more.
    Do you remember as kids, daring one another to do something? I recall doing that in order to partake myself of some 'oh-so-fearful' challenge.
    I had someone recently challenge me on this behaviour (referring to childhood events.) At first I was kind of stunned and wanted to say, "Grow up!" Then I realized with a small amount of kindness, I may help her deal with this long held resentment. It took so little.
    Just want to say I look forward to your blog (maybe we could come up with a different name?) and doing it really fits the woman I know .... who truly dares!
    Peace and love!!

  2. okay - let's hear the Rapping you did when you jumped rope - that was the coolest part....
    "My Mother and Your Mother were hanging up the clothes - my mother punched your mother right in the nose - what colour was the blood?"

  3. I think it was more in the vein of "the old gray mare she sat on a 'lectric chair, burnt off her underwear, in came a polar bear and out went she."

    Aren't we a macabre species?