I was walking back from an appointment yesterday, and I stopped in front of this cute book shop. I tend to search not just for books through the window of shops like this, but for messages, from the Universe, I guess you could say.
For a couple of months, it was a little sign on the doll house in that shop that I took in as the message I needed: It said, “Books make a big difference in even the smallest of houses.” I smiled because my apartment is definitely small, and I have a lot of books in it. I find it difficult to part with them though. And I thought that this was the Universe’s way of telling me that maybe I don’t need to, at least not anytime soon. They put magic into my surroundings and it’s okay to hang on to them a little longer.
But today, I saw this book title and author in that same window that I had never heard of before. It was called Your Vigor for Life Appalls Me, by Robert Crumb. I was a little startled at first. I thought, what kind of a message is THAT? But I also considered that actually, that’s a pretty gutsy thing to say to someone or even to announce on a book. I was kind of intrigued, and of course, couldn’t wait to look it up when I got home. And then I laughed, because I thought this could actually be very fitting right now, as a message from the Universe.
See, although I was ‘walking’, I was struggling to make it to the next step, by that time, compared to how I would have been in the past. And that wasn’t my only stop in front of the bookshop. It was one of many much needed stops.
My legs, particularly my left leg, has weakened considerably over the past few months due to an autoimmune condition. And I haven’t danced socially or in a partner dance situation for over a year now, not just because of Covid and the studios being closed, but also because my left side is always delayed in terms of movement and coordination. It isn’t moving with my right the way it used to or ‘should’.
‘Like it used to’ is a funny thing to think about. In the past, I was complaining when I couldn’t keep up to someone else in dance or other sporty types of activities. But I had energy and both sides of my body were working together, my ankles were strong, I could fall and get back up again no problem, and though my flexibility wasn’t like the ballerinas I saw around me sometimes, it was pretty good now that I think about it. But back then, I thought that I was having a hard time. Man, if I only knew that those were the good old days. I was thriving in terms of my body connection and strength compared to now.
But these could be the good old days now too, couldn’t they? I mean, what if I make the most of what is going on with me now, so that I am not looking back again years from now thinking, wow, I was doing pretty well back then. Why didn’t I realise that?
Despite what I am going through, I have this very deep belief that I can get to an even better place again. I do strength training regularly in my home, I do a lot of meditation and mindfulness practices and learn a lot about the mind-body connection. I even talk to my body and ask it what it needs, and I LISTEN. Boy do I listen. And I think my body is grateful for that. Gratitude does a person a world of difference. It shifts our energy in a way that can bring about so many miracles and insights that we wouldn’t have otherwise been in tune with because of our worries and busied minds
So what does this have to do with the book title that I had just seen? Well, what if was a sign from Universe saying, “Your vigour for life appalls me,” but with a winky face after the message? LIke… you got this girl. Someone in your position may have gotten frustrated and given up on the things you like. And I know that sometimes it is scary and you feel like you might. But I am here to tell you that that’s not you. That you keep going and making the most of whatever is around you. And that has been noticed. I see you, the way that you love life, even when you might have to walk a bit slower, or go shorter distances, or take a seat on a park or bus stop bench next to an old man with a cane in between.
Because even in those stops, you know what I am doing? Listening to the music of the crows around me, getting curious about the shapes of the trees down each street, and noticing the colours that each person’s toque or mask brings out in their skin, and how they greet other passerby’s including myself. I have had some interested conversations with some elderly people on park benches that have given me some great insight or new perspective. And I may have missed that had I been going my faster pace, or feeling like I need to get somewhere, or not needing to sit and rest. Instead, I am being, here and now. And taking it all in, including these wonderful signs.
And guess what? Instead of giving up on dancing, I made a decision to step into it deeper, in a more personal sense just for me and my needs. In fact, just before the new year, I announced that I have designed my own personal dance challenge for 2021, where I will be focusing on one dance every two or three months, and going through the videos that I have from previous lessons.
I am working through them at home, in my own time, at my own level, for me, and without the pressure of it having to be perfect in any way. They keep me moving, learning, dancing, ‘in class’ and in life. They keep me feeling alive and enjoying life.
So thanks, Mr. Crumb, for your book title, and to whoever chose to put that book in the window that I walked by and for the Universe getting me to stop in front of it again. I am sure that was not an accident. And I am totally okay with anyone or even the world being appalled by my vigour for life and dance, wink wink. In fact, I think it was the exact ticket and message I needed to keep me remembering the power of dance and movement to heal. Dance Me Free. Let’s do this. I invited all of you to design your own personal dance challenge and let me know what it is. I can’t wait to hear about it.
And guess whose memorial I passed by as I was on my walk? Terry Fox! A little synopsis of his story was flashing on a billboard for all to remember how this one man, who, despite having cancer and losing one leg because of it, ran across Canada. Now that’s a guy whose vigour for life astounds me.
It was the perfect way to solidify this message that was coming to me from everywhere today to not give up. That obstacles are not always there to stop you, but to test you, to see how much something really means to you. And to be okay with doing it your own way. We make what we want out of life. Walking through the Robson Square dance area some days made me wonder if that was just all in my past- dance and practice and being a part of that world. But yesterday, I was reminded that I don’t need to say goodbye to dance. I can welcome it in in a new way that feels right for me. It’s always there for me, if I let it be.
So how about we all work together to form a ripple effect- where our vigour for life and dance can amaze others and remind them to do the same. Appall them.. wink wink.