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Lions Roar : November 2016
haven’t ripped skin yet and there are no bruises so far. Skating on a Friday afternoon, there’s hardly anyone in the park yet. I’m sweating, happy, and immersed in a non-static and kinetic present. Medita- tion practice, as I understand it, is about opening space for the breath to become fine, thoughts and compulsions to settle, and the body to maintain wakefulness during any mental state. In skating, the process is less about stillness and watch- ing the world happen and more to do with the immediacy of dance, respond- ing to micro-movements, testing ideas against concrete and the limits of the body, and then learning from what clicked. Unlike in meditation or yoga practice, there’s no teacher. Everyone learns from studying the knees, ankles, hands, and feet of the others, and this nonhierarchi- cal learning environment becomes a pop- up sangha in which we ferret out what we can and then get back on our boards and try again. I wonder: did I start skating to battle the domestic duties of having a third child, to relive something in the past? I don’t think so. Skating feels more to me like rereading a sutra, listening to an important record again, or rolling out a yoga mat to practice sun salutations once more. Exploring the ways our bodies move, having conversations with our- selves about limits, and the rewiring that happens through kinetic and somatic experimentation all constellate into a more alive sense of self. Skating at forty- two is rekindling that love. As I leave the skatepark after an hour, the smaller ramps are populating with young kids and their backpacks and phones. I walk out of my way to over- hear their conversations about how they enter the large bowl, hoping to pick up a pointer. They’re too engrossed in debat- ing the pros and cons of entering from the left or right to notice me. I walk back to my car and everything looks bright: the grass, the metallic blue of the car hood, the tiny stones in the cement. I’ll drive back to the ferry terminal, head home, and as I lay in bed, I imagine I’ll replay the day in my calves and arms, then let the whole thing slip away. ♦ There are a thousand moving parts and details one can pay attention to at any moment—and it’s all happening quicker than I can think. LION’S ROAR | NOVEMBER 2016 26 CULTURE • LIFE • PRACTICE