In this issue:
The Summer has flown off up here in the NorthCountry, and Fall colors are beginning to show up, rehearsing for what is sure to be a wonderful show.
We spent the last couple of weeks of August at the Jersey Shore. While it was a delightfully relaxing thing to do, being there didn't help much to make the Summer season last longer...
It was wonderful to spend time with Danielle's folks and see the rest of her family. Danielle's father's health has been in decline for the past year or so. Since Ray is unable to walk these days, it was good to be able to help out around the house, give Elaine a hand, and spend time engaging in conversation with a man who's mind is sharp as ever. I think we both enjoyed some good grunting and hand-wringing over the early rounds of the US Open tennis tournament...
With all that's been going on with Danielle's parents, consider this a request for prayers and healing energy for both Ray and Elaine. (And thanks in advance!)
We were fortunate to be visited by some of the best beach weather I'd seen in years and, despite slathering up with loads of SPF 48 sun goo, Cai managed to collect a few thousand freckles and a hint of a tan.
I spent my days catching up with Harry Potter, helping Cai dig sand pits and build an enormous Sand Dragon, (people were asking permission to photograph it!) and showing the youngsters at the Jersey Shore a thing or two about skimboarding.
Yup - Yours Truly - sturdy middle-aged bald dude from Upstate New York, can still keep it real in the surf...
Which, readers, brings us to this month's feature, "Back in the Body."
As you read, give some thought to what gets your own blood pumping - to what has you jump up and move...
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Feature Story: Back in the Body
My bicycle - a circa 1984 Serotta Nova - is back on the road after a 12-year hiatus.
I suppose that means that I'm back on the road, too...
New wheels and tires were a gift from Cai and Danielle for Father's Day. I picked up clipless pedals and shoes during our recent vacation at the Jersey Shore - with a happy nod to the very cool family discount my sister in-law, Janine, receives through her shop...
While some may think that all this bicycle stuff isn't particularly worth getting excited about, I've got to let you know that the day after putting on the wheels, I found myself so excited about getting on the road again that I was, quite literally, shaking.
I felt like I was returning to a strange, yet intimately familiar land...
Would it be the same as I remembered? Could I still spin the pedals like I did a dozen years ago? Would I be freaked and squirrely having cars buzz by on country roads? Would I discover that I was the one guy in the world for whom riding a bike wouldn't be "just like riding a bike..?"
After fumbling around with the new pedal system, slipping my cleats on and off my pedals several times and wobbling at low speeds while getting used to clicking in and bailing out, I was off and rolling...
Somehow my body remembered everything it needed to know about balance and movement on a bicycle. All I had to think about was where I wanted to go. I was amazed at how easy it was!
I pulled into my driveway almost an hour after taking off, dripping with sweat and wearing a toothy grin on my face. Sure, I'd be saddle-sore next morning. I'd probably walk a little funny for the next couple of hours - as the blood in my legs figured out where it needed to go next. I didn't really care.
I was feeling good!
I'd just experienced sensations I hadn't felt in over a decade. Even though I'd been on a few rides with Janine and my brother in-law, Marc, when we were still living in New Jersey, something was different. I can't place it exactly, and my sense is that it had to do with a combination of solitude, location, the smell of the air, and the fact that I'm a few years older.
Truth be told, I felt like a little kid...
Part of the thrill was the rediscovery of the joy of zipping over the ground at high-speed - a feeling that I have in abundance during the ski season - not so when there isn't snow on the ground...
What really came home for me was the sense of being completely alive "in my body." I'm not one hundred percent sure, but my intuition tells me that that feeling - when every part of me is feeling intensely alive - that's the little kid connection. Paradoxically, I think there's also something remarkably grown-up about that embodied sense. While I found it by going outside and playing, the sensation brought me to a place that is thrilling and remarkably centered at the same time...
Seem's strange to know that, having forgotten for a while, the possibility remains that I could forget about what being in my body feels like. For instance, when I've been travelling, it's not unusual for me to take a couple of days to feel as if I'm truly back home again. My mind knows that I'm back, but my body isn't quite sure what's happened. (or maybe it's the other way around!) I'm beginning to understand what teachers of Yoga and martial arts really mean when they speak of "practice."
Richard Strozzi Heckler, a teacher of aikido, bodywork and somatic coaching, writes in Holding the Center: "When I refer to the body I am referring to the shape of our experience." he goes on to say, "Feeling the life in our body as it appears in sensation is the beginning of embodiment. When we do this we are attending to life in a fundamental way. It's an extraordinarily simple and yet exceedingly rich experience..."
You'd think that "being in the body" is just as natural as breathing. To some extent, I it is - but only as much as... say, going to bed when you're tired, eating when you're hungry or drinking when you're thirsty. ...Without first rationalizing the laundry list of all the things that, in that moment, are more important than caring for one's self.
I've watched my son run around at high-speed when he's tired. I've seen him do anything but eat when he's hungry. Every parent I know has had the experience of dealing with an overly tired child who, instead of settling down and sleeping, goes into a sort of a crazed hyper-warp drive.
What is it with us human beings? At what stage do we take it upon ourselves to over-ride our own built-in systems? When does the to-do list begin to trump the I-am list? What's the long term cost of operating on a tank that's been pegged at "E" for hours - or days?
When do we begin to believe that forcing our bodies to sit quietly when they are screaming "move me" is sound, sustainable policy?
I don't have the answers, but I do have those new wheels and some spiffy new silver cycling shoes...
It feels important, at this tender age, to develop a bit of awareness around how I go about caring for myself. I want to be around to watch Cai grow. I want to know that, by the time he's old enough to truly realize how little I know, we'll be able to laugh about it (loudly) Man to Man.
The road is waiting. I gotta go...
Quote of the Month
"It's also helpful to realize that this very body that we have, that's sitting here right now... with it's aches and it's pleasures... is exactly what we need to be fully human, fully awake, fully alive..;"
Third Monday Calls: Taking a Closer Look at Masculine/Feminine Energies
Monthly calls exploring the nature of Masculine and Feminine in our culture, our work, our relationships, our families, and ourselves... With Debra Wilton-Kinney, Sam House, Mary Kuentz, and Ken Mossman. Come over and have a look at the Third Way blog for more info...
Watch for Third Way Teleclasses and our upcoming December Workshop
Save the Workshop Dates: December 2-4, 2005. Location: Saratoga Springs, NY. More information coming soon!
"A Better Way to Work"
The heart of any fulfilling, successful and sustainable business flows best from deep within the heart of those creating it...
"A Better Way to Work " is a juicy, lively 6 - 7 Month intensive program for men, women or couples in pursuit of work that answers the Heart's Calling.
Send me a note or gimme a ring at 518.580.0550.
More Fatherly resources are available on the Cirrus site.
On the coaching front, I'm setting up sample appointments for October and early November. Ready for a 45-minute test drive? Let's set it up! On the house, of course!
Feedback for DadsNews - or a simple "howdy!" - is always welcome. Send me a note!
More cool stuff is available at the Cirrus Leadership website!
Next issue of DadsNews: Mid-October. Until then, go out and create a few new connections with your body - and have big fun!
DadsNews ©2005, Kenneth Mossman,MFA,
CPCC, PCC, Cirrus Leadership®