I love these loud, brash, colourful birds. As soon as the two trees in front of my office blossomed they swooped on in, ready to party. Alarmingly the branches lower to breaking point as they sip on nectar, fighting and falling and displaying all the signs of drunken disorder.
They don’t care that I’m not whining and writing a blog.
I like that in a bird.
2. Taking a chance I might come second
I’m thinking of doing something that’s probably not a big deal to many people and, in fact, I’m surprised at just how hesitant I am. I guess I thought by now I was all yoga about doing the hard things.
Not so much, apparently.
I got an A+ for my first American Lit essay at University. My teacher, in his capacity of being one of New Zealand’s best writers, told me that he only gave an A+ once in a blue moon. Naturally I fell apart. I was so afraid of not living up to my own self-imposed standard that I didn’t hand anything further in.
I entered a short story competition. Once. It was the first completed piece of fiction I’d ever written. It got Highly Commended which is technically, I guess, second. I was destroyed and didn’t tell anyone I’d even entered.
I’m sensing a pattern here that I thought was long gone. In yoga we’re told all the time that if we fall out, just get back in, back up, try again.
In yoga, we do the hard things. Time to put my big girl pants on.
3. Charlie Chaplin
When I was young there was a period of time when it just my mother and myself. It was after her first marriage to my birth father and before her second marriage to my adoptive dad who brought me up from five to 18, until he died. Mum and I lived for almost two years in an old peoples’ home in Wellington. She was their first Matron and we had a tiny (in retrospect) set of rooms that consisted of a kitchenette, living/dining area, bathroom and a shared bedroom. I had a pink candlewick bedspread. This time holds some of my earliest memories and it’s where I made my first friends.
One was wonderfully naughty. She let me have aniseed sweets (I was NEVER allowed sweets) and she would smoke cigars out of her window. The rug on her floor was memorising, unlike anything I’d seen before: South American maybe, and full of bright colours and imperfections. Quite unlike the gentle creams and muted tones of my Grandparents’ Karori house, which I considered my other home.
Miss Wilkinson was my other special friend. She gave me beautiful books with my name written on the opening page in her spidery handwriting, and she smelt like flowers. I would visit my two friends whenever I could and I hope they enjoyed my company as much as I enjoyed theirs.
On the weekends I would settle myself under a chair and watch old black and white movies with some of the other residents. I found them hilarious, in particular the silent Charlie Chaplin films. The quirky movements, the oversized moustache, the cane and overly dramatic falls would send me into spasms of giggles.
There was a complaint against me.
Too loud, too happy and also they couldn’t work out why I’d lie under the chairs and not sit on them like I was 82 years old.
I can remember indignantly telling my two friends of this outrage and their responses. My first friend asked what I’d found so funny and when I told her (in detail… let’s be grateful I never tried to be a film critic) said if I stopped laughing at things I thought were funny then I’d never have any fun. Miss Wilkinson suggested I take a cushion onto the floor with me and bury my face in it when things were getting hairy. (She said that for lots of things, including the implications of smoking cigars out of windows.)
Between that time and now it’s been easy to forget that sometimes there’s some bravery involved in being yourself, in continually becoming yourself.
As with yoga it’s all about finding my own edge and going with it.
So here’s to a weekend of birds falling out of trees, taking chances and laughing way too loud. Here’s to being brave and backing ourselves.
© The Yoga Connection 2017