Four months ago, I wouldn’t have done. However, I do now most days.
In fact, I adore those moments. It’s what inspired the blog I wrote called ‘in the zone’.
An action that roots me in the day and instils a certain amount of mental discipline and calm that these days pervades my entirety…
No small thing then.
I’d love to say it was the joy of spring, which has finally, it seems, found us. The joy of warm spring woodlands with the floor covered in the white of wood anemones, indicating the wood maybe ancient and with the promise of bluebells to come. The aforementioned sun that now has enough heat in it enable you to stop and sit and just revel in the magic of the air and observe squirrels enthusiastically getting up to mischief, as only squirrels know how, in their typically exuberant and often noisy manner.
Or that the trees are preparing to throw open the canopy that will cause the light to dapple, often beeches, willows and alder first with Ash usually bringing up the rear.
It’s not even the eager anticipation of listening out for bird calls that indicate the season changing, great tits calling ‘teacher teacher’ or great spotted woodpeckers tapping, brain numbingly fast. Or the arrival of the chiff chaff giving the call that gives it its name.
Or even the topgun flypast that swallows use to announce their arrival triumphantly having beaten the odds once again on their semi round the world trip.
Or the celebration of connection to the wonderful world we live in and all the wonderful lessons there are to learn if we would just look and see, even the majestic display of cloud formations that become common as the seasons change.
To be fair, its not even the joy of being alive and waking up each morning to celebrate the day.
For me it started maybe three of four years ago, well, the process did anyway. I began exercising in the morning. I just wanted to be fitter, and looser. Probably the onset of age and the inevitable aches that go with it. But I started with exercises that I had done at circuit training that I attended for probably the same reasons. They evolved to become a series of yoga poses that I described in ‘the View Over the Wall’ (subtle plug there) that represented the life cycle of all creatures on this glorious planet. Took a little while to find the required balance, but I persevered, passably steady now, most of the time.
I then got into Qi Gong (pronounced Chi Gong) an ancient Chinese form of exercise that stretches out not only the body but also the energy lines within the body, the meridiens. I loved it, especially the crane Qi Gong, snake Qi Gong and the dragon Qi Gong
Last Year, at the Space to Emerge retreat I participated in a Somitic Dance workshop with is a kind of free dance, unscripted or choreographed and I loved it. The main thought being that I could very easily do more of this. Of course, I didn’t! But I didn’t forget about the workshop at all.
That autumn I began to realise I would have to let the Qi Gong go. My knees couldn’t take horse pose. Knees out as wide as possible and at 90o, that kind of wiped out most of the Qi Gong for me. I still do the Crane exercise though, I love it!
So, what to do instead? I couldn’t just stop. My body needed exercise and my mind welcomed the discipline.
I remembered a shamanic journey I had been on a few years ago; I had been training with a sword.
At the time I had thought about buying a broomstick handle, however, at the time, I never got any further. Just then I had two broomsticks that had come out of Ross’s room after he left. I had cut one of them down for my drum, it was now the perfect length to be used as a sword. You tube became a hunting ground for sword exercises and drills and although I still use some of them, albeit in a slightly mutated form, it was all to do with the blade and the cutting action. That wasn’t what I wanted the sword for.
In the spirit of somitic dancing I started moving with broomstick free form to see what happened. It completely changed the way I moved and also my sense of spatial awareness around me. I also enjoyed the concentration that movement with it required, even began developing some exercises for the sword specifically and moved in ways that I never would without a sword. Well broomstick.
Pretty soon I had to buy a replica Katana, a wooden Katana. I have an interest in the Samurai and their code of conduct and behaviour, so a katana it had to be. There is more grace, and a lot less slashing, well, when I am involved, or so I like to think.
I developed this code where the idea was to keep myself and the blade moving and never actually hitting anything. Blade high, low, fast, slow, or up and down. Whatever.
A sword dance no less.
So, back to the original question? What does make me dance like no one’s watching?
A sword, specifically a katana. Simple as that.
Today, a real, albeit, replica Katana arrived. It’s heavy. Excited, and some. There will be a lot of adjustment to come, I have two swords that will be very different, but I will use both of them.
As I said, exciting…
What would make you dance like no one’s watching?
Simon Pollard Urban Countryman.