Zen, the Art of Skateboarding, & the Hula Hoop Lady…

by bkajlich

What I love most about meditating(besides everything) is how things you experience on the cushion begin to seep into your everyday activities off of it.  All my tasks and hobbies and habits start to speak loud and clear truths about me and who I truly am.   I begin to find connections between simple actions and lessons on how to approach life.

This morning I woke up early to go skateboarding. Yeah that’s right, I’m a little obsessed.  I’d love to tell you that I get my early start because its so beautiful at that time of  day, but let’s be honest…. it’s really because there’s less people to embarrass myself in front of at that hour.  I’m getting steadier and better each day, but I still have a moment or two when my arms flail about and I come crashing down… and when that happens, it’s not without a fair amount of noise from my big ass mouth…. hence, embarrassing.

This past week, I have made a bit of an eerie, if not comical, discovery.  Everywhere I go, I see this lady.  Not just any lady. A HULA HOOPING one.  Like, real deal hula hooping.  The weird part is that I will be somewhere, just minding my own business, and the crowd will part…. and there she is.  Hula Hooping away. Totally surrounded by people and yet absolutely in her own world. She dances as she does it, it’s actually kind of pretty to watch.  But it’s just so bizarre…. is she following me?  Is she literally dancing ALL day?? EVERYWHERE?? Today, I saw her this morning while skating, and this afternoon she was on the beach when I walked the dogs.  I tried to take video of her but every time I lifted up my camera she danced her way around to face me. Like she KNEW.  It reminds me of something out of a movie.  You know, where there’s a character with a knowing smile who slips into the shadows before we can ever get a good look at them, always lurking somewhere near the main character.  Usually we think they’re a bad guy but in the end they were some kind of guardian with an invaluable piece of information pertinent to the hero’s survival.

There’s that overactive imagination again.

As I passed her this morning on my ride(is that what you call it when you’re skateboarding? I’m still not entirely hip to the lingo) I was thinking about how odd it is to take up something new at this point in my life.  I mean, it’s interesting to do something that is mostly taken up by people when they are kids. Something that requires skill and a fair amount of practice.  I feel really proud of myself because I’ve always wanted to do it… and there is considerable satisfaction in crossing an item off my “want to do” list. As I went along today, I made a mental list of the areas in which skateboarding is teaching me more about my life.

1. Cracks and bumps are part of the ride.  Some you see ahead of time and can avoid. Some sneak up on you and down ya go.  And sometimes, you see one and go over it any way, just to prove to yourself that you can.  Those ones can go either way….. but at least you go into it knowing that.

2.  You have to become one with the board.  If you let it dictate where your gonna go…. forget about getting anywhere you want to be.  Yet, try to control it and sooner or later you will end up on your ass. You just gotta forget that there’s a you and there’s a board…. as soon as it just becomes an extension of your body it’s quite a ride 🙂

3. Your intention is key.  When I’m riding along enjoying myself, focused in the moment, and connected to my core it’s all smooth.  As soon as I get distracted by something on the side(mmmmmm ice cream cart…..oooooh hot guys, hot guys) I am flat on my back and feeling dumb dumb dumb.

4. You gotta have faith and believe in yourself!!! Why is it that on flat, straight stretches I am go go go!! fast and furious, wind whipping through my hair! And then the road gets the teeniest bit curvy and I’m suddenly timid.  It’s still just pavement! The road underneath me is the same! The view just changed, that’s all… it appears to be more diffiicult but in reality, in each moment, it’s the same.

5. Last but not least.  There’s always point where it’s time to head home. Adventure is great, life affirming and good for you.  But when you sense that you’re growing weary and not as sharp on your feet, it’s time to go home.  Return to the place that grounds and centers you. Rest up, treat yourself to a good meal and a nap. There are many journeys to come, and you’re no good to anyone if you don’t take care of yourself.

I know there are a lot of people out there who get weirded out by meditation.  They think it’s “new agey” and self indulgent. What’s wrong with that?  I say, show me something else that completely embraces every aspect of this insane life of ours.  Find me one thing where by it’s very practice your heart will be opened and you will find not only the beauty in yourself, but the beauty in all things(mom, I know you are going to say “prayer” and my response to that is; meditation is a form of prayer).  Tell me of one other discipline that will teach you to find compassion for every single entity on this earth. To come to a place of such deep understanding that even the darkest of evils will not sway your belief that everything is connected, that we are in this together, that we all have something to teach to one another.

I think the lady with the hula hoop has something to teach me. I’m pretty sure it has something to do with not caring what people think if I flail my arms and make weird noises.  ok, and possibly something a little deeper than that…. I guess we’ll just have to wait until the end of the movie to see, won’t we?  xxB

my meditation cushion this morning