Motion and speed, boundaries and directions. They have always confused me. How do you use these life principles to end up somewhere between hopelessly stuck and drifting out in space like Sandra Bullock in Gravity? I’m sure I’m not alone in my confusion, but let’s go to the examples Vanna!
When things are fast, I want them to be faster. In my last relationship for example, it was maybe two weeks in before I was buying him a toothbrush to have at my house and wrapping it up all cute. Too soon? Nah, because, “I AM GOING TO MARRY THIS BOY!”
When things are slow, I also want them to be faster. With seven school days to go before vacation I’ve already cleaned the house, bought myself presents, and turned off my students voices in my head so they resemble a mute version of whac-a-mole. I can’t wait, and so I don’t.
When things are going to be slow, I want them to be faster. “Who the hell wants to dawdle in the Valley of Transition?” has been my attitude until very recently.
When things are fast, I sometimes want them to slow down or stop. After sitting on an interview panel last night for a new teacher I had the petulant thought, “But I don’t want another teacher.”
“What do you want?”
“To freeze everything else in place till I decide what I want to do so no one can wreck my new pretty curriculum.”
“So no one teaches Language Arts at all next year? Do you hear yourself Delaney (I often call myself Delaney when I’m being unreasonable)? You gonna add the 8th graders to the construction crew during that time?”
“No.” I proceed to pout and kick rocks on the way home.
All these examples, and countless more, have some things in common: for me motion has been solely linear, forward is good, and backwards is bad. In this model I’m either missing something, avoiding something, or anticipating something. Now becomes a stepping stone or sink hole, and my presence is the deciding factor in whether movement has happened or not. If I stop, I miss something, probably something good.
Fast forward in this vida de la linea and suddenly my intestine level attraction to dance makes perfect sense. WHAT?!?!?!?!?! You can move two things at the same time in conflicting directions and a black hole doesn’t open up and swallow you? WHAT!?!?!?! Nothing stopped working while I was here being present, fully present? I’ve gone from few options in the last two years, to endless options. This is both overwhelming and thrilling.
In this light it also makes sense that I’ve found so much solace and instruction in the labyrinth. My 30 days has taken almost 60 as I near completion, but I’m strangely okay with that. I feel something in my habitual responses attempt to rearrange as I walk. Circular motion, not better or worse than linear, but I can see many points of the journey from wherever I stand. None seem better or worse than others because they’re all leading the same place.
A few weeks ago, when returning to the labyrinth after a few days absence, I felt shocked to find that it was still there. As I followed that reaction with curiosity, twisting and turning toward the center I thought: “The journey you’re supposed to be on doesn’t go anywhere.” I am taking it whether I’m doing so consciously or not. The expression of it may look different surrounded by different people, geography, or times, but purpose or mission is not a track that lies parallel to everyday life. I’m not sharing time between one and the other, just hoping to do both some justice.
Why does it matter? Why have I spent the last few weeks thinking about motion and the last few hours writing? I am not a hundred percent sure to be honest. It’s one of those topics that I feel I’m writing my way towards. However, it occurs to me that the things I love–dance, water, poetry, fiction, children, art, nature–have always moved freely, in a variety of directions and layers. My hope is that as I learn to do the same and am less afraid of now, it will settle the confusion. With that energy available, I plan to launch explorers from my port in every direction to bring back enough magic to create the things that need creating.