Beginner's Grace

I was a beginner today. (Not pictured above)

My Pilates studio has a new class called Cardio Sculpt which is code for Slide Board. A slide board is a very slippery piece of plastic that’s wide and skinny. The way it works is you put on some fabric vinylish booties over socks and slide horizontally in a motion similar to skating. Only wider stride. Pushing off a raised edge on either side of the board, keeps you on the board and helps with momentum.

I felt like I could fall.

I felt  uncoordinated.

I felt awkward.

I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing.

I felt uncomfortable.

I also felt invigorated by the idea of learning something new.

I also felt energized by the exercise.

I also felt excited as I could see I was beginning to master the movement. However, imperfectly.

I also felt happy that I did not fall but instead began to feel more and more stable.

HOWEVER, most of the time, while fully engaged in sliding, I didn’t feel any of these. Mainly I felt my quads.  I was in the flow. I was concentrating on the movement. My thoughts were few. I was aware of my body. My mind had quieted to allow my body to do what it needed to do. It was actually kind of meditative- in a very physically active way.

It was only when I began thinking, that I experienced the feelings. And because the movement required all of my attention, I couldn’t think most of the time. I could only move. I could only be.

My feelings (created by thinking) actually appeared during the intervals when we stopped sliding and did other exercises.  Pretty interesting.

As a slide boarder, I am a beginner. Adults usually don’t like to show up in their world as a beginner. Somehow we think we should master something, at least reasonably so, almost immediately.  Skip the learning curve. As if there’s something “not ok” about being a beginner. I remember feeling that way when I was taking piano lessons. And when I took tap dancing a few years back. And now, when I attempt speaking French.

I have a sense I am going to like slide boarding. It’s a fun way to exercise and be fully engaged.

And it’s the perfect place for me to experience the peace and flow of beginner’s grace.



gayle nobel