Excuse me while I kiss the sky

It’s after midnight. I’m promised myself I’d hit the gym in the morning. I need a routine. I need to follow through. I’m stuck. I can’t move forward.

The thing is I can’t sleep. I have a mess of thoughts whipping around in my head like protons in an ion collider. Yeah, I bet you haven’t heard that analogy before. Me either. Funny what you’ll think of after midnight.

I’m going to the gym because I want to get back on track—literally. My goal is to try kickboxing again. If I can conquer kickboxing, I can conquer just about anything—my writing, my fitness, my fears.

But I’m not ready. Not yet. I need to build up my strength and endurance, starting with the track and then moving to the weights. We’ll see. Maybe I’ll take my new iPod. Music is a great motivator, but you knew I’d
say that. How about a motivator you wouldn’t expect?

How about Facebook?

Not really. I personally believe Facebook is an evil monster that consumes precious time. It’s also a numbing drug that alleviates stress and boredom—to be used temporarily, mind you. It can be habit forming. But
occasionally something good pops up on Facebook’s Recent News. I’m talking about a link to one of my favorite blogs, Parkour Training Blog. The key word? Flow.

Flow is usually associated with Parkour. (If you don’t know what Parkour is, check out the Parkour Training Blog.) Flow, as the author Dan Dinu describes it, is the “harmony of moving fluently.” You see, for a traceur (a person who practices Parkour), moving through an environment from Point A to Point B can be kind of a creative expression all its own. It’s like a dance with life.

I like learning about Parkour because I frequently transfer the principles of Parkour to the principles of life. I’ve been a freelance journalist for a long time now, but the one element that is I hope is characteristic of my work is flow. When I write a story about a person, I like for the parts of the story to flow smoothly from one part to another. In terms of writing a novel, it would be like moving seamlessly from scene to scene.

I’ve had a very difficult time writing lately because I am still negotiating the stages of grief—and not so well mind you, but that’s another story. The words don’t flow. My thoughts don’t flow. My life is NOT flowing. When Dinu talks about flow, he illustrates his text with examples of tango and ballet, “precise and continuous gliding.” Yeah, that’s what I’m aiming for—in writing, in music, in life.

In order to achieve said state of flow in parkour, Dinu says “never train.” When I read this first tip, I knew immediately where he was going. He relates this point to artists like Picasso. People who create are not drained by their “practice.” They are rejuvenated, re-filled.

Let us not forget that when God gave us our talent and passion, he meant for us to enjoy it. It should be gift, not a burden. Wouldn’t it be great if we always considered every moment of life a gift, not a burden, regardless of the circumstance? Some people say just “go with the flow and be happy.” Christian call it joy.

When I pick up my guitar, I immediately know the difference between the two types of practicing. I am NOT a great guitar player. But I do know enough to say that if I have to force myself to play, I’m not playing the way I should. When I play the piece during this type of practice, the notes are stiff, mechanical. But when I “feel” the music, I I find myself on another level of playing. This is the type of practice that occurs when I’m totally focused, totally one with the music.

Dinu refers to the way guitar guru Jimi Hendrix let his feelings flow when he played. Exactly! Hendrix didn’t just play the notes; he felt them. (Good example. I can relate to Jimi’s purple haze. No, the song isn’t really about some pyschedelic drug-induced haze.)

Right now my biggest obstacle in writing (and life) is fear. Of what? I don’t know. Failure, maybe. Don’t we all? The publishing industry has a very narrow gate. Will I ever find myself moving through it? I’m not afraid to write. I’m afraid I’m not writing right. I’ll admit I pray about this problem almost without ceasing, but God doesn’t grant wishes like a genie. He has a purpose, and sometimes He lets us work our way to a solution so that we’ll grow stronger–and wiser.

Dinu says with Parkour, there is more than one way doing something. I have to remember that when I write and follow my gut instinct, I get better results. It’s kind of like playing music. Rather than playing a copy cat version of a song, the really good musicians will make it their own. After all, people are remembered only if they stand out in a crowd. For writers, this means finding their own voice and knowing the right time to break the right rules.

Dinu brings up other pointers too, like paying attention to obstacles and being yourself—knowing where you stand so not to lose your orientation and again, making the song your own, making your writing your own, making your life your own!

If I could offer readers, wannabe writers like myself, and dreamers at larger two bits of advice, I would say this—remember the flow and read, read, read anything and everything well written. You can glean something worthwhile from anything well written. Who would’ve thunk Parkour had anything to do with music or writing or especially life? But how well indeed it does.

As I read the article, my thought processes flowed freely and smoothly from one discipline to the other. I’m inspired. I want to inspire others too.

What is it that you want? Where are your feet? Did you pay attention to where they were so that you can see how you got where you are now ? And where do you need to place them so that you can get where you want to go?

My feet are going to hit the sheets. It’s after 2 a.m. I’ve got to be at the gym by 7:30.

(P.S. Happy birthday, Dan!)

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15 thoughts on “Excuse me while I kiss the sky

  1. You are so right about grieving stages. There is no right/wrong way to do it. You can’t do it ‘poorly’. When my Mom died in 1983, I was lamenting my grieving process lasting more then a year. I learned there is no ‘proper set time.’ As you say in your post, grief, like life, just flows. I know that having a routine feels like it can help because it’s something you can control. Allow yourself to enjoy the summer.. I’d love to challenge you to expect NOTHING of yourself. Do what you feel like at the moment as your circumstances allow and let your mind/body *REST* Love ya, Tee.

    • I feel really “guilty” because I know I need to get this manuscript revised so I can work on new ideas, plus the one that’s already in progress. But I let time slip away as I stare at the computer screen. I think this week I’m going to take my computer, maybe my guitar, and just get away to think. If I’m “away,” I’ll feel like I have to be productive. But you are right. I should rest.

  2. After my father died when I was 17, part of my grieving included being mad about it for quite some time as I felt that I was cheated out of part of my life. I finally passed over that part and quite often smile inside when I think of the good times that we had together. As kuby2u said, there is no set time and your thoughts of a parent never go away, they only become great memories..

    • Good advice. I’ve felt the anger part too. I don’t understand why I’m mad. I’m not mad at anybody. I hate conflict. Yet I still feel mad. But I do have some very good memories.

  3. Grief is a multi-faceted emotion. I think, perhaps, it never ends but we simply get used to the ever present scars… My mother died in 1984 (I was 19). We had not been close (that’s being kind), but her death brought a flood of emotions, regrets, what if’s, and what never will be’s. It took probably 5 years for me to totally make peace with her passing and to realize that “parents are people” – they too have dreams, desires, hopes, fears, failures, goals, etc.

    Perhaps “flow” is part of the process as well. When grief enters the picture, the flow of emotions, routine, etc. is interrupted. We seek balance and yet we are standing on a rolling barrel. Sometimes it is OK to just let that barrel roll and fall into the water.

    Interesting you should mention fear of failure. My thesis topic in college was “Procrastination as Related to Fear of Failure”. Found a significant correlation – DUH!!

    Another great read, and I shall ponder this as I walk today. You give me such GREAT thought topics. I like thinking. It’s my favorite.

    Final thought …. Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

  4. I wasn’t going to admit this because I didn’t want the world to know how weird I am, but I haven’t checked my email in several days because I fear what will be there. I have “stuff” related to my writing probably sitting there. I’m afraid to see it because I might just mess it up.

    That’s pretty psycho. Last time I checked I had close to 600 unopened messages. Now that’s procrastination. I went to the gym today, walked an hour and a half almost. Did a few machines. That’s progress, right? I don’t know how writing and fitness are related, but somehow in my warped little mind they are.

    I write this because I know there may be some person like me who is going through something similar. Maybe not as warped. But then that person can say, “At least I’m not THAT warped.” 🙂

    Thanks for the thought-provoking comments. I’ve been doing a lot of pondering lately.

  5. I really liked your blog. I truly did because I am reminded daily of how the flow of my life is still interrupted without my grandmother. I don’t mean to be the oddball here with this comment, but I am in love with that picture. You said a lot with it. I sat there and just analyzed before even I read your blog. I don’t mean to sound weird. It just captured my attention and my thoughts. Even though darkness is starting to seep in into the picture and trying to sap the life out of the tree, there is still light. And the light always prevails.

  6. I recently started exercising in the morning. I find it’s helpful to not overwhelm myself by thinking about all the days I’ll have to exercise to reach my goals. When I wake up, I just tell myself I’m going to choose to workout today and not worry about tomorrow or all that may come after that.

    I still grieve over my parents’ divorce many years later. Some wounds are so deep they take a long, long time to heal. God just keeps gently healing me and teaching me to trust Him.

    “All I need’s another day
    Where I can’t seem to get away
    From the many things that drag me down

    “I’m sure you’ve had a day like me
    When nothing seems to set you free
    From burdens you can’t carry all alone

    “In your weakness He is stronger
    In your darkness He shines through
    When you’re crying, He’s your comfort
    When you’re all alone, He’s carrying you”

    Music is a great motivator, and so is this kid:

  7. Wow. I didn’t know that I could embed video. Cool. Thank you for sharing. I’ve been taking things slowly, slowly. I went to the gym this morning as a matter of fact, and walking on Saturdays is a big help. I’lm all about the encouragement.

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