Stepping back … Moving Forward

March 14, 2015 in It is what it is - opinion column | Comments (0)


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It’s probably no coincidence that whenever I take one of those online quizzes that purports to answer the question – if you were a dog, what kind of dog would you be? – that I come up as German Shepherd.

High drive. Focused. A propensity for managing (dare I say “controlling”) situations. A deep desire for order and getting shit done.

Yep. That about covers it.

The conundrum, however, comes in knowing that while my outward energy is very much along these lines, my true self inclines more deeply to the meditative, introspective and, even (don’t laugh) easygoing.

I’ve had to learn to back up … to give people breathing room, because my innate tendencies are to steam forward – whether that be in completing a project or in new relationships with others. When I’m excited about something I sometimes forget that all relationships (regardless of work, friend, family or intimate) require both people having plenty of breathing room. Kind of like when you see plants being choked in a garden overrun by a vine that’s triumphantly and often beautifully wrapped itself around the scene. One must pull that vine back, guide its growth and occasionally prune back pieces in order to allow all the great beauty to experience its own expansion.

Of course in those moments where I get uncomfortable or find myself facing one of those lovely and occasionally persnickety moments of personal growth the muscle memory snaps back and I charge forward …

The good news is that being more aware than I used to be, I can sometimes see that behavior when its starting and temper my energy to mute it a bit. Other times when my energy and excitement are matched by another, I forget entirely and in those cases, it’s often not until I’ve already pushed ahead that I realize I may have made an error.

This is a sensation that’s been percolating in my mind of late as I ponder on whether my disregard for my own boundary may have caused harm or discomfort to someone. I’m hoping not, and time will tell but in the mean time the soothing balm of poetic direction helps me process …

I’m trying to dance.
The music seems clear.
The rhythm
a steady beat to my head,
my heart.
It would seem, though,
my feet have other ideas.
It takes two,
they say,
to enact this type of dance.
I’d say I’m all thumbs,
and wish that I were to
be able to dance
with my hands.
Fingers across keyboard,
the rhythm and motion
so easy for me there.
When it comes to my feet
it would appear they charged ahead
too quickly.
“Step back,” you smiled.
A gentle sway to bring more
And then the fear,
what if I trod too heavily
stepping on space,
on feelings,
on old wounds that twinge?
All I can do is stop.
Wait a moment to recapture the beat,
and patiently pause,
to see if my dance partner
wishes to join.


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