[#Reverb10] Dec. 3, 4 & 8

#Reverb10 is a movement to encourage folks to tackle a daily prompt with the intent of reflecting on their year.  If you’d like to get involved, it’s not too late! You can backtrack to previous prompts or simply jump in where you are. If you’re interested, you can see all my #reverb10 posts here.

Dec. 3: Moment: Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors). (Author: Ali Edwards)

I’ve had quite a few moments like this in the past year, to be honest, which makes me an incredibly lucky person, I think.  But I’m going to choose one that happened just the other day.  I feel a bit silly writing about this, as it seems so melodramatic, but there’s also something really simple about it that seems worth sharing.

A couple of nights ago, I was doing a new workout for the first time (Jillian Michaels’ new core workout, if you’re interested), and it was, to put it simply, difficult. And despite that, I made it through, doing the advanced version of the moves, pushing myself when I felt like collapsing to the floor, and generally being as badass as I could be.

I got to the cooldown, and went into Child’s Pose, and, though it wasn’t for the first time, at the moment my forehead hit the floor, I was overcome with pride and amazement at how far I’d come. You see, at the beginning of the year, my forehead never made it to the floor. The most simple of poses, the point driven home in its name — Child’s Pose — and I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t relax; I couldn’t rest in the post.  And in many ways it was a metaphor for much of the rest of my life. I’d already made a good amount of progress, both in fitness and in letting go of a lot of the negative emotions I’d been holding onto for years, but I wasn’t done. I still couldn’t get my forehead to the ground, and I still couldn’t just be.

And for whatever reason, whether it was the come-down from my London trip and all it entailed or the weight of reflection as an amazing year comes to a close, when my forehead hit the ground, I burst into tears. And a little voice in my head said, “OK, this is a bit ridiculous,” and another voice — a stronger one — said, “Maybe, but I need it, and I can laugh about it later.” So I sniffed my way through the cool-down, just allowing myself, for once, to feel how far I’ve come. And I felt alive and strong and proud. And it was good.

Dec. 4: Wonder: How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year? (Author: Jeffrey Davis)

I think wonder is something you actively cultivate by seeking out new experiences, whether it’s travelling to a new place, learning a new skill, or simply trying to look at an aspect of something to which you’ve never paid attention before. It’s the sense of remaining childlike in your reactions to things. It’s so easy as an adult to become complacent in your life, to go through the same motions every day, to never expand your gaze. One thing my yoga instructor encourages us to do is to look past the point where our eyes naturally fall.  So, during a back bend, for instance, you stretch your gaze down to the baseboard, even if your body can’t yet bend that far.  During a twist, your eyes look over your shoulder instead of in line with it.  And I try to carry that into my everyday life.  I try to look past what’s immediately evident to find something beautiful and wondrous in what, at first glance, seems ordinary. And on the days where I’m failing to do that, the universe sometimes intervenes and knocks me on my head.

For instance, on the second leg of my plane ride home from London, the one that took me from Houston to Kansas City, I was feeling pretty melancholy about returning to my normal life. I looked up from the magazine I was reading to gaze wistfully out the window and was smacked in the brain with the most beautiful sunset I’d ever seen.  It was as if the entire sky had become a rainbow.  The city below, dark but glittering from the lights of the buildings, gave way to the most brilliant shade of red, which faded to a burnt orange, followed by a golden yellow, tinged with a hint of green where it bled into a cobalt blue where the sky was still holding onto daylight, and finally, to the dark indigo and violet signalling nightfall.  I’ve really never seen anything like it. I stared out the window, grinning like a child, and realizing that perhaps everyday life isn’t so hopeless after all when something that happens every day, the simple act of day giving way to night, can produce something so entirely wonderful.

Dec. 8: Beautifully Different: Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful. (Author: Karen Walrond)

I’m really not sure how to respond to this one, so I’ll cheat a bit and talk about the ways in which I hope I “light people up.”

I always want to be an encouragement to people. Whatever the dream, whatever the goal, whatever the task at hand — I want to help people find ways to do the things they want to do. That happens in both the mental and physical realms, and one can’t happen without the other. So, I make an effort to help people firstly believe they can do something and secondly find concrete ways to work toward that something. I’m lucky in that I know other people who want to encourage in a similar manner, and I try to gravitate toward those folks. I know it was once a rare thing in my world, which leads me to believe it’s a rare thing in the world at large, though I’m grateful it’s no longer rare in my own slice of it.

I’ve learned to embrace my quirks, as well as the unique path my life has taken. I don’t try to suppress any part of myself anymore. I did that for a long time, trying to fit into this tiny, uncomfortable box of what was normal and acceptable and desirable by society at large. Embracing who you’re meant to be instead of what others mean you to be is difficult but liberating in the most fantastic ways.

Lastly, I try to let people laugh at me. I don’t think I’m a particularly funny person — I was never a class clown — but I do have funny things happen to me, and I try to let go of the embarrassment of those events and instead share them because what’s the point of experiencing them otherwise? I do my best to turn any pain or frustration into a way to send some joy back into the world. It’s how I make the potentially annoying aspects of my life, like being perpetually stuck in the first act of a romantic comedy, work for me.

I don’t know how beautiful or even different these things make me. But I do think that allowing yourself to be different helps you see more beauty in the world every day.

4 thoughts on “[#Reverb10] Dec. 3, 4 & 8

  1. Congrats on learning to relax and reaching child’s pose. Sometimes when the little voice in our head says something is ridiculous, it’s actually what we need the most.

  2. Man, you really set the bar high with these, always unearthing a poetic meaning behind the mundane. I wish I saw the world like you do. I especially love the bit about expanding your gaze.

    As far as ‘Beautifully Different,’ newsflash – you’re pretty funny.

    Now I’ve gotta get some more Prompts of my own up, and not just have them be a bunch of toilet humour and cynicism.

  3. Thanks, Kristin — I think you’re right about things that seem ridiculous sometimes being exactly what we need. 🙂

    And Stuart, you’re too sweet, per usual. And yes, you do need to get more of your responses up! And hey, sometimes a little toilet humour and cynicism is exactly what’s needed to sum up an experience. 🙂

  4. Pingback: 2010: My Year in Review « Elizabethan Theatre

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