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Cranky pants…

July 10, 2010

Many people think that there is only one kind of exercise;

exercise for the body…

This is important but there are many other kinds of exercise…

For example, when I go to my violin class my teacher asks me to practice everyday…

Exercise can keep something in your memory,

like a language that you keep learning so you have it when you are older…

Experiencing many different things,

easy and hard,

can develop the soul…

Not only can experiencing different things develop your soul,

but physical exercise can too…

Skiing with friends or going for a walk with your family are great ways to stay healthy and to socialize…

Exercise can be fun, boring, easy or hard,

but it is important for learning and your health…

— Starshine, March 3, 2009, 9 years old…

Sometimes when I’m wandering around the house,

not sure what to do,

I find these little treasures…

Words and images my children have put to the page,

and when I ask them,

Where on earth did you amazing creatures come from???

Little Gem is always quick to say,

not even taking time to look up from the industry of her drawing,

Remember Mama,

you made me in your belly,

with a little bit of Papa’s sperm…

But let’s not talk about that…

It’s a bit gross…

Today I was feeling at loose ends…

I wasn’t sure why,

or what I needed to do,

so I waited…

I did some dishes,

and then I knew…

I filled my water bottle,

got dressed in a polka dot skirt,

a tank top,

and some fishnet stockings,

then walked down the street to flamenco class…

They say that the eyes are windows into the soul,

and that the hips are the doorway…

The workshop I went to today is estilo de mujer,

and we spent at least an hour forming circles and rainbows with our hips…

All of the tightness in my knees,

and hips disappeared…

Then we practiced floreos…

Anytime I get to lay down for exercise I know I’m in the right place…

Practicing floreos on the floor means that your hands and forearms have to do all the work on their own,

without relying on the back muscles…

You have to isolate the focus of your effort to get the job done properly…

As I lay there I thought about how the forms of exercise that draw me are complex…

Although I enjoy simplicity,

I prefer experiences layered with rich music,

metaphor,

detail,

and a great outfit…

What becomes effortless for me even when I am being pushed to challenge all of my capacities,

and sweating like there’s no tomorrow,

is dance…

And when I’m dancing I get the feeling that this is one of the things that I was made for…

When I was growing up I had a friend who was tall and skinny,

with breasts that sprang so large from out of nowhere that she had a reduction when she was nineteen…

She grew up in Seattle,

so the only time we’d see each other was during Summer holidays at her family’s lakeside cabin…

After these times together I always felt like I should find a way to change my shape,

and look like her…

I couldn’t see,

and didn’t appreciate what I’ve been given until a few summers ago,

when this same friend and I were laying in the sun in our underwear,

and she made the remark,

You’re lucky to have a woman’s body…

This surprised me,

and began a process of correcting some of my thinking about myself…

That same day I was stung by a wasp three times on my right arm,

my friend rolled my big red car into the door of her step-father’s garage,

and I cut the cord that had tied us together,

for certain life lessons…

In the moments after I gave birth to Starshine,

the attending midwives said,

Look what you just did…

You pushed out a big baby with very inconsistent,

short contractions…

You must have a very efficient uterus…

As they said it I saw something and said,

I’m going to have my third baby in turquoise water,

and I want you both to be there…

They said,

You just had your first baby,

why are you already talking about your third???

I said,

I don’t know,

it just came up…

And I didn’t push it away…

Learning what we were created to do,

and be,

is an ongoing process of remembering…

And it isn’t always clear…

But when we get those moments of insight,

it helps make the darkness more bearable,

and easier to trust…

And maybe even exciting…

When I got back from flamenco I brought a classmate with me,

because I’m altering her bata de cola,

and I needed her to try it on with the adjustments I’d made…

As I went out onto my back porch to get a chair for her to stand on,

a neighbour from across the way called my name and said,

The baby was born,

three minutes ago…

Everything went well…

And it’s a boy…

My classmate hasn’t had children,

but she’d been at the hospital yesterday to visit a new born baby,

and wondered why it is that some women are all hooked up to medical equipment and asking for pain relief,

and other women labour at home with no need for intervention…

She wanted to know how I managed the pain…

I told her that I got my period when I was ten years old,

and that even though my father was a pharmacist,

and my mother had prescriptions to suppress her menstrual pain,

I wasn’t offered any relief until I got into my late teens,

and I couldn’t afford to miss so much school…

I told her how I learned to ride the pain…

To go into it,

with a knowing that it isn’t permanent,

and it has a purpose…

I used that prior experience when I was giving birth…

My uterus had had all of that practice contracting every month for twenty years,

so it knew just what to do without superfluous effort…

The thing about giving birth is that the pain is productive,

at the end of it you have a brought a new person into the world,

and you are no longer who you once were…

And this gift of remembering what I was created to do,

with my woman’s body,

is the female equivalent of a World Cup victory…

And when neighbours call across fences,

heralding the cry of a new baby,

heard through the floorboards of an old wood house,

the times that are a changing,

stand still,

and nothing else matters,

in the big scheme of things…

At the whispering stream... (photo: Starshine)

 

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