For the past couple of years I’ve set a yearly intention to focus my energy on. There was the Year of Patience, the Year of Self- Discipline and currently I’m undergoing the Year of Release, Refinement and Reward. In yoga, I was taught that a focused mind is like a laser beam able to cut through anything put in its way. These yearly intentions are my tactical effort at corralling my monkey mind into a super duper laser beam, after all who doesn’t want superhero powers?
Below are reflections on Capoeira in terms of this year’s intention:
Release- At the batizado I attended in December I watched one capoeirista after another bend, fold, jump, sway, side-step and twirl in and out of moves. I clapped on the outskirts of the roda in awe thinking to myself that these people looked so graceful and free. I wanted my game and body to feel that loose. I wanted my spine to be that nimble. And most importantly, I wanted to be able to artistically express myself without holding back and feeling subconscious when contorted in evocative positions. I was raised a jock not a dancer/performer.
Being in the middle of the roda is like being in that famous “going to school with no clothes on” dream, I feel bashful and out of my element. I knew my own self-judgments- “You’re as graceful as an elephant wading through mud” or “D@mn girl; you’re as awkward as a pre-teen at their first school dance”- weren’t helping to release anything.
Before deciding to sign up for batizado I had an illuminating conversation with my teacher. He asked me a simple question,
“Do you like being in the roda?”
I paused , he wasn’t asking about my personal game but rather if I enjoyed being a part of Capoeira.
I nodded my head, “Yeah I do.”
“Then all you got to do is commit to training, batizado is no joke, you go all in or not at all.”
I experienced a world of release when I decided to go all in and try for my cordao; it felt a lot like giving the middle finger to my self-critics.
Refinement–I haven’t gotten enough command of my own game to really speak on refinement. However, I love watching other Capoeiristas interact and share new moves with each other that they have uncovered. I suppose my main focus, in the world of refinement, is on the music. I still can’t clap and sing at the same time. I compare it to that grade school trick where you have to rub your tummy and pat your head at the same time. Its coordination I don’t yet have but perhaps it just takes a lot of practice; one refining step at a time.
Reward- Capoeira is a gift that keeps on yielding rewards. When I finally get a move that I have been trying to figure out for weeks I get a huge sense of accomplishment, its own natural high. Or instead of going to the bar after work I go to the gym to train, my Irish liver high-fives me. And probably the most rewarding is being welcomed into a vibrant community of artists that inspire me daily.
A Warrior Princess
PS. Wounded Knee update: A petition was started on www.SignOn.org If you’d like, type in wounded knee in the search, then go to the Kansas icon to sign the petition. It takes less than 5 minutes and will have a HUGE impact.