(photo credit: Chinese Students Doing the Hokey Pokey. Photo taken by Martin Prochnik. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/legalcode)
Today, I looked back at the first month of “FIFTY” posts and tried to make sense out of the somewhat random collection of thoughts that have run through my head and out my hand onto the page since my birthday. I want to formulate a clearer picture, for you AND for me, of what I am trying to do and why I am compelled to do it.
It is difficult to articulate an idea while it is still in the formative stages but I feel strongly that I want you on this journey of discovery with me, and I may lose (or seriously frustrate) some of you if I don’t provide some guideposts along the way.
An explanation seemed too reductive at this stage of the game, so I wrote a poem, which I hope provides some grounding, as well as the sense that there are still many unknown and unimaginable twists and turns on this road, for those along for the ride.
The Hokey Pokey (a poem)
It is never the perfect time to change the world
but if you must stick your right foot in and shake it all about
you need to know that where you set it down, at first, doesn’t matter.
Answers mean little compared to the questions you must ask,
which all will be wrong. At least at first.
The best that you can do is to
draw upon what makes you strong enough
to hold up your right foot and jiggle,
then set it down and raise the left,
which undoubtedly will shake uncertainly
until you take the next step
into the circle.
When you lose your balance and land among the other dancers’ feet
(it happens to everybody so prepare for that outcome)
Don’t jump up, brush it off, pretend it didn’t happen.
Take a moment to ponder your misstep and look out
to those with outstretched arms who offer you
their strength and a different perspective.
You may be the one who can body surf waves and calmly reach the shore
but they know how to breathe the thin air you’ll find
when you’re scaling a mountain.
If you put both your hands in they will know
that when their time comes and they fall
they can depend upon you for knowledge
of marine life and seashells and what to do if stung by a jellyfish.
Later, when you are alone
practice all the steps,
even the ones you aren’t sure you’ll need to take
because the only way to get closer to knowing
what and where and when and how to build your dreamed-of future
is to trust that when the time comes to put your whole body in
and shake it all about,
you will have the agility and strength to keep your balance
even when you turn yourself around.
That, folks, is what it’s all about.
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