Learning to amble

Categories Featured, Personal

If there’s one thing I’d like to take out of lockdown with me, it’s the ability to go about life unhurried.

While not being able to gather around each other’s tables, share hugs and cuddle the tiniest members of our clans sure has sucked, the gift that has come with ‘shelter-in-place’ is a slowing of pace.

The realisation that the constant rush leading up to March, 27 had been eating away at my soul.

Over the years I’ve learned that making an inner change always starts with a body shift (rather counterintuitively). And for me – at this time – it has come down to adjusting my stride.

I’ve always been a fast and determined walker. It’s not unusual for oncoming foot traffic on the sidewalk or in the mall to scatter at my approach. Girl’s got places to go, people to see, things to eat, coffee to drink!

While bustling away on a recent morning walk (we only have three hours of exercise here in South Africa, after all), I caught a glimpse of my shadow and found it all too comical and a little embarrassing. Torso leaning slightly forward, legs doing the work of 1000 caterpillar feet, it was the least sexy thing I’d ever seen. I cringed.

Out nowhere, a few lines from Maya Angelou’s ‘Phenomenal Woman’ arose:

It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.

Where was the swing in my waist? The joy in my feet?

It was clearly time to learn a new walk.

Slowing my pace, I bumped one hip and then the other slightly out to the side. Relaxing my shoulders, I allowed my arms to gently sway. I watched my shadow respond in delight.

There she was. That was me. Not that rushing caricature I’d become.

Of course, the steamrolling tendency remains in my gait. It’s a thing I’ll have to unlearn. Like saying ‘yes’ when I mean ‘no’ and keeping quiet for the sake of peace.
But at least now I know that I have that earthy amble in me and I will coax her out until she finally stays.

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