Coping Through Cartwheels


magical place Something changed after Thailand. Many of the things I had been working on as a person finally seemed to sink in. A little while ago, I was speaking to an old University friend who I hadn't seen in over 10 years. It was after a yoga class and we were catching up. I was talking about my life on the road when finally he said: "Have you always been this much of a free spirit?" Before the sentence was even fully out of his mouth, I responded with a quick "No." "Yeah," he said. "I remember you being so much more..." Again, as he made this clipping gesture with his hands, I knew what he was going to say. "Serious," I said.

I'm still a pretty intense person, which makes me wonder if someone thought I was intense back then, just how tightly wound was I? It's a scary thought, so don't try and dwell on it further. I know I won't. I just know that it's still a process for me. Over the years, I've learned to laugh at myself more. Learning to relax, not worry, take things with more ease (Sabai sabai!) all these things take practice. I'm not saying intensity is a bad thing. I can channel my powers for good. It gives me focus and helps me accomplish big goals, like a major summer tour and a crowdfunding campaign for a feature-length documentary.  But what do I do when I start feeling the pull to the Dark side? When I start to obsess over things like said crowdfunding campaign for a feature-length documentary. When I find myself refreshing the page just one more time in case anything changed when I know that I would get an email if it did. What do I do when I get right up there in my head and start creating imaginary drama and worry? I get back into my body. Fitness has always been a salvation for me. Once I started finding the things I enjoyed, like Zumba, it became easy. These days, I've kicked it up a notch.

A few months ago, the Ottawa Stilt Union offered a workshop in acrobatics, something I've always dreamed of pursuing, but never though was possible until recently. I never felt "athletic" enough to do that sort of thing. That said, the schedule for this workshop never worked for me, even after it was rescheduled. So I decided to take matters into my own hands and approach them privately. For the past two weeks now, I have been joining them during their regular training sessions learning to use muscles that I have never used before. It's been an absolute thrill!

At one point during our first session I was asked if I'd ever done a cartwheel before. I said yes and flashed back to a time when I was 10, maybe 12, in my grandmother's yard with my cousins, rolling through the grass. I've found my sense of play in these training sessions, something that has helped ease my anxiety issues exponentially.

And I'm hoping that one day it means I could do something like this in a show:

One day there will also be roller skates...

How do you cope with stress and anxiety? How do you reconnect with your sense of play? Where do you find your bliss? Please leave your comments below!