It’ was Lorraine’s fault There I was, minding my own business and the next thing I know, I am dancing in the dark with glow sticks in each hand.
Now; I’m not good with walking these days, as you know. What was I thinking?
Twenty years ago I was a pretty good dancer) I did acrobatics and theatre performance.
Then a serious knee injury, twenty operations and meningitis catapulted a double whammy of osteo and rheumatoid arthritis.
Those lovely, huge, sweeping body moves, enjoyed in the disco and often madly accomplished in full costume; well they were a thing of the past. Getting to the supermarket from a disabled space on a cold day is exercise for me.
Yet Faith Ruled Out
As my arms found the beat and the core of me danced, a strange and lovely thing happened. Out of nowhere, my cells woke up, they started to remember stuff. Tiny micro moves began to ping in my veins as my body knew this place.
I found my rhythm and my limit with each track, each set of steps and my brain swiftly doctored it to suit. When it hurt I didn’t do it. Mostly it hurt my legs. So my hips moved instead, and my arms took the lead. The shapes; The moves the other girls made large , I made small inside my body. It felt wonderful, and size folks, really didn’t matter. Nobody sees you in a dark room, in an exercise class where various women of various ages were making shapes with glow sticks to happy songs.
This time of year we find ourselves peeping our heads out of our wintering. It is Imbolc. The time where nature trusts in the rhythm of the weather, the call of Spring and the feeding of hungry birds and animals. Seeds planted last year are germinating below ground, safely harnessing their potential until the sun can shine on their faces.
Trusting that our tiny moves are important is very hard in this changing world. A world where big is better, anything but bold is boring and we want results, instant fixes.
I heard myself saying to my daughter that she needs to value her time. Those little pockets of time which get wasted on gaming or tv, or endless scrolling are just as easily used on something which slowly brings the change we seek. Although I did probably sound like my mother! I realised that I had personally learnt to understand how precious time is, and how much we can stretch it if we give it value.
In times of plenty for a young person, whether it be due to financial stability, or having a loving supportive home, it is impossible to imagine a lack of material things. Or to ever feel ill or simply to not have the world exactly as it is right this minute.
The world makes it easy to believe that the healthiest, most beautiful, most organised, fit and creatively smart people will live the best life. Every magazine prompts us to change and tempts us with freebies to help get us there. Get and be better. How exhausting. And how dull.
Do you want to be a rock star? Well, of course many of us would say we would. The lavish lifestyle, the adoration, the living out of your dream. The fans! But all I think of is how, in the interviews, they all seem to say, how despite arriving at destination after destination, country after country, a lot of tours don’t enable their stars to stop, see the view, see the city even. let alone enjoy the ride and take in where they are.
With every destination, there is a chance of a detour, or a cancellation. learning to stop on the journey, admire the sky, absorb the landscape, enabling us to be aware of each moment for it’s own sake. It was the journey that made us the way we are, in all the ways we like and don’t like about ourselves. The onwards journey therefore should be travelled at our pace, in our style and in our vehicle of choice.
Ironically, we must waste what we will in future appreciate. Be it money and time, or health or familial love. What ultimately makes us value their absence is understanding the weight their presence held. Just don’t expect your average 14 year old to understand their fortune yet.
I have conditioned myself to believe over the years, that I have not achieved my aim, or where I want my Art to be. Even after a big success or exhibition. You might tell me how that is all kinds of wrong , or how parents, partners and teachers plant seeds of doubt in your mind, and the sensible brain knows this. But at the end of the day; it is our voice our doubts get translated into. And self doubt is like an irritating little wasp in your ear.
As I wiggled my glow sticks and whipped through my teeny tiny hip movements to a funky track; I was struck with a sudden realisation. In the dark in the hall we were all making our bodies do something new and useful and healthy, something that our bodies weren’t doing yesterday. We were planting seeds.
I think we are all so very clever at growing things if we stop and look. Perhaps we move on to the next goal without turning around and hearing the applause for the one we scored. There is faith, instinct and knowing in every day we nurture others and feed ourselves. I had been making micro movements in my every day life, for as long as I could remember. My process in my work remained vital, and I fed it even for years when nobody saw my work. In a house where it was impossible to work, I drew and wrote on tiny scraps of paper and fed them into the open mouth of an art bag. When we were able to leave, those ideas began to become real on canvas and in the world, without having lost anything by having to be patient. Even in the tough times, even when it felt like they were for nothing. No micro movement is ever wasted .
Regular patterns make beautiful pictures. A habit seed becomes your garden . One or two micro movements become a wave of change.
In the precious hour I carve out in the morning I get up early, because my mind is awake to create and write, and this is my happy time. There is sometimes five minutes in the bath or the car to write poems and ideas on my phone. I gather notes and photographs wherever we go somewhere lovely. All the tabs I keep open could make me crazy. But I now know, my method is juggling several things at once, in increments, like painting several canvases and watching them evolve to fruition.
Until each of your thought babies is born!!
The pleasure of slow and steady making and creating, means the final outcome hasn’t got teeth and a scary face. So often putting us off before we begin.
I got to thinking how quickly habits become our everyday ways, and we all know how reliant we can become on the positive and negative versions of those. How easy it is to prep dinner first thing so that the hard work is done for later and you can enjoy a day in the sun. Or stretching for ten minutes, reading ten pages of books which improve your learning a day, writing one letter a week to friends or eating one more piece of fruit . All positive micro movements which improve an aspect of living.
But the opposite comes when we get used to our unhealthy habits in the same way . Like never trying that creative thing we crave doing or doing too much of the thing that damages us. Which is a different demon for everyone.
As I danced I thought of each movement , the ones I was doing with my arms and light sticks, wilder, freer, and the almost imperceptible tiny ones in my legs and hips, that only I could see. And I thought of each brush stroke, each new piece of drawing paper, each new morning, each new notes app, each new idea for a post and a poem.
I considered the word document with the inventory of new products on , the hours and hours of downloading and tapping towards making a new shop website, every letter to a friend who, in mutual faith keep their valuable long distance support in plentiful supply. Each new dawn and each cosy evening holding the day at each side like loyal kind parents . Every plaster on every wound- animal, teenage or otherwise.
As you inch towards the things that bring you joy, find the way to inch away from those that do you harm. Have patience, and believe your instincts. In our sister site Let loose ladies we have learned that we are not alone in our baby steps to freedom.
Whatever journey you may be on , emotional or health driven, creative or physical, in a relationship or newly going solo; the important things are the same.
Doing little manageable steps towards accomplishing a goal means;
You don’t get bored
You stay in control
You are more likely to stick to a consistent approach
Small moves can be taken wherever you go
You are less likely to quit
Your achievement will be genuinely your own making
You won’t hurt yourself
If safety ( emotionally, domestically, or in recovery from pain ) are issues, you can move with pace and planning. – rewarding yourself for staying motivated.
You will have space in your day for other things
Ironically we have to learn how to waste time before we can value it.
It’s only when we lose function, we age, we lose a level of mobility, we took for granted, or a familiar support, in our health, the people in our network; that our activity buttons get stuck. The good news is that every day can be a chance to reset them again.
Right now I’m making dinner. Chicken Parmesan. In this tiny chalet kitchen . Writing on my phone and talking to you. It is bliss. Soon my lot will be up and the space and my job sheet will be filled up again, For now, this is a carved out place. This hour steps towards feeding both my family and my passion.
The potatoes are almost done.
The chicken is seasoned
The sun’s light is a little softer, we are heading Springwards.
The dinner is made and the day can begin. It may not be the way of the world , but it is my way of feeling balanced.
Don’t count steps, it’s the direction that counts.
Have a groovy day
Love Liz at the beach but xxxxx