The past few days have been both enlightening and eventful, with everything from a blissful dance to a car accident. We’re all fine (a little shaken up) but beyond that this feels like one of those times that life has lessons to teach and will make sure they’re presented … one way or another.
Saturday morning, as is my current custom, I went Sacred Circle Dancing. It was one of those days that holds out the promise of spring around the corner; big sunshine and mild air … which means above freezing when it’s March in Toronto … almost no wind. I woke up feeling rested and quite wonderful so I danced with true enthusiasm; wherever I could add a little spring to the step, I did. One of the dances we did involved some steps to the right, steps to the left, steps into the center and then – for a count of 8 beats – you were to move yourself to another place around the circle. At some point I realized that if, during this 8 beats, I just stood in place – swaying my hips to the music – then the circle would change around me. How incredibly empowering this was. Rather than join into the chaos of the “find a new place in the circle” element of the dance I just held onto where I was and let the circle find a new place around me. Brilliant … as the British say. As the dance came to an end I realized that I’d just learned another key lesson.
Lesson #12. The world is constantly changing around you. Know who you are and where you stand; be joyous in watching things reshape themselves and remember that they will reshape again and again.
So that was the start of this week. That same day ended with an Art Garfunkel concert. It was really quite lovely; people sang along from time to time (when he did the old Simon and Garfunkel numbers that we all knew) and his gentle and sweet manner made the evening truly delightful.
The last time I’d sung these songs with such a large crowd was back in 1991 when I took the kids to a Paul Simon concert in Central Park (more about that in a posting coming your way soon). Indeed … here I was, some 20 years (almost) later, and we were singing the same words but they meant very different things. The world changes around us if we just pay attention. Talk about reinforcement for the things I’ve been thinking about.
Then there was Monday. Nili and the kids took the train into Toronto and I was to pick them all up at 1 o’clock in front of Union Station. On my way to fetch them I noticed – as I drove along Yonge Street – that there were Tamil Tiger protesters lining the streets. 150,000 of them evidently. I won’t go into the full force of the political analysis; let it suffice for here to say that I was surprised to see an organization so connected with terrorism and child soldiers stopping traffic in Toronto. The crowd got thicker and thicker as I approached Union Station and when I got there I found that they’d completely taken over the area in front of the train station – and major subway link- and it was impossible to pull in next to the curb to load up the kids. So – with no other choice – I stopped my car, put on the hazard light, and got out to load them in as quickly as possible. Now with three kids, car seats, suitcases … well, that takes a few minutes. As Nili strapped in Freida’s car seat (with her in it) and Art sat on the front passenger seat waiting to belt himself in next to his brother and sister, I tried to load up Noam in the back (with his booster seat). My car was stopped, the engine was off, and of course the door was open so that I could load the car. A bus connected with the protest was coming up the street. Instead of waiting for us to finish loading, the driver decided he’d just keep on going (wonder if he was even looking actually?) and in a split second I heard the most awful sound right behind me as the bus grabbed hold of the door and pulled it along. Kids crying and screaming. Nili going ballistic as any good Mom worrying about her children’s safety would. It took over an hour in the chaos of the situation for the police to finish their report, get a tow truck (neither the passenger nor the driver door would close), organize a rental car, transfer baggage etc. etc. Although we were all shaken up by this nobody was hurt which, in the end, is the important piece of information.
How does the car accident connect to the dance experience, Art Garfunkel, and the new lesson learned? We were parked (staying in one place) and the world changed around us. Our plan had been to drive out to The Beaches and go for a nice, long walk along the boardwalk … giving the kids a chance to burn off the energy they’d stored sitting on the train. Of course, once the car was – as the kids say – broken … well, we had to rethink our plans and in the end we just headed for home and some unwinding. Understanding that this is one of the dynamics of life – change, change, change – means that I was able to step back from the trauma and tension of the moment and see that it was just another of life’s unfolding surprises.
So, there you have it. Another lesson worth remembering? I think so.