Doing the Hokey Pokey (Day 29)

(photo credit: Chinese Students Doing the Hokey Pokey. Photo taken by Martin Prochnik.

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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4 thoughts on “Doing the Hokey Pokey (Day 29)

  1. Writing a post for every day of your fiftieth year is a major undertaking! I am enjoying the “random collection of thoughts” and wondering what will come next. I don’t think I could manage a post every day for 365 days. I do it weekly and that’s good for me.

    And who knows if you’ll come up with any “answers”? It’s enough that you are asking questions. 🙂

  2. While I can understand wanting to provide guideposts to, I assume, give a sort of structure to your blog, I also am enjoying the “random collection of thoughts.” It’s what I was expecting based on your blog’s summary and stuff. But I think it’s a good idea to reflect upon one’s blog every once in a while and make sure it’s going in the direction we want it to.

    Congratulations on a month of posts so far 🙂

    1. Thanks Mike. The randomness will continue, but so will my need to clarify what I’m talking about from time to time. I appreciate your thoughts.

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