Going Deep Within – and then dance like no one is looking

What in life touches us deep within our core and just makes us sad?

As adults, most of us have the self-awareness to reflect on a question like that and recognize our triggers. Maybe it’s the sight of a plate of peas and memories of what would happen if we didn’t eat them. Maybe it’s the game of dodgeball and the memories of having always been picked last before being targeted for the most mean-spirited throws. Or, maybe it’s a not-so-innocent nickname that lead to relentess teasing.

The death of a monster-of-a-person family member has brought up all kinds of childhood memories in our house, recently. More comforting memories of seeking solace have also returned. For one of us, school and sports offered an escape – a chance to heal and find strength to go back home everyday. For the other, school simply deepened the pit of despair and made the idea of hope even less tangible.

Yet, we both survived – just like countless other children have and will. And, when I saw this video, again, I think I finally figured out how it happened, even when there were no adults present to encourage something better.

With a Piece of Chalk by JuBa Films

I adored hopscotch as a child. I could literally play for hours, by myself – especially when I was the only person on the school playground. Something about the cadence of moving forward compelled me to just toss my pebble, yet again, to see how fast I could hop my steps without touching a line, especially when the space got narrow at the arched top of the painted grid.

As an adult, my sport of choice is swimming, especially when I’m stressed out. The repetitive motion of slicing my arms through a tranquil pool and regulating my breathing is like a spiritual practice. I purposefully clear my mind and count my laps like a mantra as I move forward in the water.

When I get out of the pool, nothing has changed in my life. The same stressors still exist. Chances are, new deadlines may have even been added to my life while I indulged myself in me-time.

Yet, something about that motion – that power to suspend my reality, even if just for 45 minutes so I could play hopscotch or swim laps, and control every motion with the one goal of just moving me forward – something about that motion allows me to change my perspective in how I view my problems.

Perhaps one of the greatest lessons we can teach our children is that we cannot always change our circumstances or the way we’re treated by others. But we do hold the power deep within to exercise our choice to move forward, nonetheless.

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