It was my father taught my mother
how to dance.
I never knew that.
I thought it was the other way.
Ballroom was their style,
a graceful twirling,
curved arms and fancy footwork,
a green-eyed radio.
There is always more than you know.
There are always boxes
put away in the cellar,
worn shoes and cherished pictures,
notes you find later,
sheet music you can’t play.
A woman came on Wednesdays
with tapes of waltzes.
She tried to make him shuffle
around the floor with her.
She said it would be good for him.
He didn’t want to.
Those who do not move, do not notice their chains-
Can someone please answer this seemingly “simple” question: What the heck is progress?
Let’s narrow our focus on yoga for our conversation this morning … Progress on your trusty yoga mat looks and feels rather different from a straight gravel road shooting up over the horizon. After a few sips of juniper berry infused mead, I like to think of progress on the mat as more of a dance, the rumba to be more specific. Two steps forward, one step back, a smile, loosening up a bit, three steps forward, two confident steps back. We seem to find our own pace, our own rhythm even if it takes a few drinks.
Progress with yoga often gets worse, much worse before it gets better. Being a dude I didn’t know this initially and I thought I was losing control of both my mind and body. I was confused (this is very easy for me) because I thought that yoga was supposed to strengthen me both spiritually and physically – Instantly.
What I didn’t know at the time was that this dance backwards was the very beginning of taking a few gentle, confident steps forward. I had to regress before I could start once again to creep ahead. Just like an infant crawling on their little hands and knees, I needed to learn how to roll over, sit up, fall down and crawl before I could walk (literally).
Sometimes I didn’t want to get up after falling down. Looking back, I don’t know how I got up on my feet again after the trying times, life. Eventually I did. Then I stumbled and fell again back onto my mat. Clumsily I rose to my knees, then to my shaky feet once again. This morning I stood straight after riding my bike to work. This is my dance in life.
Learning to love yourself, to take care of your emotional and physical self. This is how I define progress.