I fell in love about 9 months ago. This new love has gently encouraged me to grow and get stronger in ways that I was not very. It showed up at a time when I felt bored and stuck and weak. All I had was work, and though I like what I do, I was not feeling like my spirit was being engaged or nourished. This new love is Brazilian and comes with a very rich, proud, and tumultuous lineage and history. This new love is called Capoeira, and it's a brazilian martial art, dance, and so much more. I had always had the dream of "mastering" my body, or at least feeling strong and powerful. Historically I have always been a sedentary kid, preferring to read books rather than go outside and play. I love to dance, but I was never trained or committed to one form. In the beginning I was more of a dabbler, where work would get in the way of classes and it would be one time on and then a bunch of time off, but last July, I found myself wanting to move to the next level and started training more consistently. It has been humbling to say the least. In intellectual matters, I was always able to get by without trying too hard. When I am there, training, all of my stuff comes up. My dyslexic tendencies, my disorientation to head changing position, motor planning my body and balancing myself in these seemingly precarious positions. I have a hard enough time maneuvering my own body, just imagine adding to the mix someone in front of me kicking and moving around. It's like spaz city. Oh, and then there is singing. Oh glorious singing. The words which I cannot always make out but can now mouth along relatively well. In my mind it's a total disaster, and there is no semblance of "looking good" or "being smooth" I threw out any notion of that months ago, but I leave each class feeling exhilarated, challenged, perplexed, connected and alive! It's the first time in my life that I feel like I have found something that I can devote my life to and that can hold me along the way. I made a new commitment to myself this new years, to train more and become more proficient, to take my playing to the next level. Tonight I ventured out into the intermediate class. And tonight I received my first hard kick in the head. The funny thing is that I wasn't even inside the "roda" or the circle in which the people are playing. I usually pay attention and move out of the way, but the short time that I looked sideways away from the players, bam! there it was on the side of my head. The therapist part of me always has a momentary panic when I see someone get kicked("oooh.....that's going to torque the sphenoid....") but it's different when it happens to you because in just a single moment like that, EVERYTHING that you hold together on your daily life comes to the surface. Does this look bad? how could I be so stupid? Why did I look away? Did I break my cheek? How do I react to this? And then there is the involuntary reaction of your face that twists into a quivering mass and you find yourself fighting the urge to cry like a little baby. I was afraid to talk to anyone because I was afraid that I would start crying. I wasn't mad. It just hurt and it wasn't something that I was accustomed to. But leaving it, something changed. It's like the fear of getting hit that usually keeps me out, is somewhat lessened because I am alive and fine. It feels like an initiation and a test to challenge my commitment. I feel lucky right now because I have two very special teachers who are living inspirations to me because they live the principles that they teach and play by. I realized I am scared to play sometimes because I don't want to get hurt, but then you miss out. You miss out on pieces of yourself you avoid. You miss out on pieces of yourself that are truly strong. You miss out on pain that is another sign that you're alive. There's something beautiful and so human about this pain. I am thankful for my kick in the head.
Changing the brain is the new frontier to changing your life. I am not only the practitioner but also a continual client. My own brain as well as those who entrust me with their brains, never ceases to amaze me in its capacity to change, re-learn, and create!