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Grounded Flying

“Rebecca! Can you come help me with something?!” I heard my teacher call from the other end of the shadow-filled hallway.

We were crowded around the lunch table, sitting on different size stools and spread along the windowsill eating birthday cake. The loud laughs and interrupting conversation of our Mediterranean-American class filled the room while the other, mainly German class, retreated down the hall to the small kitchen in search of a quiet refuge.

“Of course, one sec!” I yelled back. My energy was bubbling over and my nerves were racing from all the birthday cake and over-stimulating environment. I jumped up, ran down the hall and into the studio immediately asking, “What do you need?!” “Ummm, [hehe] I want to try something out…” [he] “for the afternoon class, you see…”

He said in his funny, caricature way of speaking with high-toned laughs in between his sentences and facial expressions moving between a sly smile and a serious, down-to-business face.

“Just stand here.” He continued, “and be ready to catch me.”

I’m sure it was quite a comical scene. Him, with his entertaining persona, and me, with my typical, overly-energetic state-of-being.

I stood there waiting with my eyes alert and my legs a bit wider than my hips - a stance assumed to be more stable and a good option for when you are going to catch someone flying at you.

He jumped.

I caught him, but just barely. Stumbling back as my nerves were racing high. My body, although in the typical wide-legged position, was not at all grounded. My knees were locked straight and my chest was protruding up and out towards the sky rather than back and down towards my body’s center.

“Are you okay?” he asked.

“One minute” I said, closing my eyes and taking a deep breath. Letting the air move in through my mouth, up through my nose, down through my throat and lungs, and finally falling into my pelvis which released into the floor, immediately unlocking my knees and rooting my feet. A process often necessary for me before I start throwing my body through space.

It’s easy for my excitement to pull me out of the floor and keep me flying around like a ping-pong-ball in the middle of an intense, semi-final ping-pong match. But I've learned it's not all that helpful.

I opened my eyes and looked at my professor. Feeling a new sense of movement in my body, more like the waves in the middle of the Mediterranean sea on a calm summer day, I said, “Ready”.

Still not knowing exactly how he was going to throw his body at of mine, I released into the unknown and the confidence that my now grounded my body was ready for whatever comes.

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