Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Dance of Driving

Why did the chicken cross the road? To keep me on my toes of course! Or at least to keep me on the brakes. As I drive my tiny four-door Suzuki down the busy lane north of Ubud, the chicken is the least of my worries. In the sweltering heat my neighbors have dragged their rice harvest out to rake in the streets, two way traffic shares a single lane, and tiny babies ride all around me on motorbikes without helmets.

Be here now. Know your place in space. Go with the flow.

There's nothing like driving in Bali to keep you in the present moment. As I sit in the right-side drivers seat and shift with my left hand, I tune out the conversation of my passengers and focus on my breath. The jungle pours over us from both sides of the tiny road. Deep potholes abound. I'm aware and relaxed, even when the big truck is barreling right at me and a drop off is five inches from my left tires. I breathe. I've got this.

Knowing my place in space is a strong sense for me. My peripheral vision is keen, and my body relaxed. Does this come naturally? Au contraire. It comes from practice.

For years I spent most of my time and much of my resources on dance classes. As a result, I flow easily with the movements of others. I perceive and predict the actions of energies around me. Who would've known! All those years people told me I wasn't being practical about my dance passion, and here I am driving like a rock star in Bali.

As the curvy road winds up a steep hill, my left hand shifts swiftly, my ankles extend with grace between the clutch and gas. Whoa! An elderly woman with a giant stack of logs on her head appears out of nowhere! Brake slam, a near engine stall, but I've saved it. God bless my skillful neuromuscular proprioception.

I've always believed in follow your bliss. All those dreamy photos that float along the Facebook feed with positive messages, I eat them up. Every minute of my dancing was a joy. Even now, with an upset hip and a tender wrist, I tear it up at ecstatic dance.

Whatever you love makes you whole. Life takes us through many journeys, passions, interests, and sensibilities. We wear many hats. My beloved teacher, Luisah Teish, explains it like this: (please excuse my extreme paraphrasing YeYe) Life is a palette! We do not only use one color, but dabble in the entire rainbow. She tells me that when she is writing, she is simply resting from her painting, and when she is painting she is taking a needed break from her dancing, and so on.

In Bali I drive with a smile. I operate this car with a confidence and grace that could only come from one place: the ballet bar.