Monsterful Monday du Soleil

First up, Cirque du Soleil. Sweet Jesus. Their show ‘Totem’ is currently in Auckland, and the fun and games of getting across a raceway in the pouring rain to the Grand Chapiteau (when I say fun and games I mean wet muddy feet and, well, pouring rain) were completely worth it. It’s absolutely astonishing what the performers in Cirque can do. The aerials (especially the double act on a stationery trapeze) were a big highlight for me, but then aerials always are. And can we just talk about the pair whose finale to their act involved one of them balancing upside down with ONE SHOULDER ON HER PARTNER’S FOOT?! If you want to see what complete trust looks like, watch any of the acts with more than one person. Holy wow.

I went with my Best Beloved’s best friend, and getting to know her better and share that experience with her was an added bonus. If you’re in Auckland, or if you get the chance to see one of their shows- GO. We were lucky and got discounted tickets through Grab One,  but when they come back I would happily pay full price. And talk about inspiration for getting better at acro! And at adding sequins and sparkles to costumes…

The rest of the weekend was extremely relaxing which was good because next weekend is a big campaign game weekend, and will therefore be not even a little bit relaxing. My Best Beloved, as usual, was wonderful, letting me nap whenever I needed to, including napping on him, and giving lots of snuggles.

The two back issues of Things and Ink that I ordered arrived over the weekend, and were definitely worth it. The Art issue in particular had some really beautiful tattoos, and the writing throughout is good and fascinating. Also I now want to make an appointment with Tracy D at Kings Cross Tattoo next time I’m in the UK. This art nouveau flamingo is one of hers and I. Am. In. Love. I mean come ON- ART NOUVEAU FLAMINGO. I’d love to meet whoever has it so I can shake their hand and admire it in person. For now I’ll content myself with a subscription to the magazine, and poring over every glorious page, as well as getting super excited for Nursey No Mercy doing my next piece. It’s going to be special.

Finally, meditation. I’ve been using my tarot deck for my daily meditation practice and it’s getting me such beautiful results that on Wednesday I’m going to share how I do it, just for you. A little different from the usual set of links, but still bringing you some joy for the middle of the week. I hope you’ll join me- and join in.

The Little Things

Mongolian Barbecue at Gengis Khan (how can you not love a place where you can have as much as you want, and get your delicious Mongolian barbecue meat (mint-marinated lamb! SO GOOD) with a side of mac and cheese?), new shoes that don’t let the rain in, getting creative in a different way from usual, borrowing patterns from kindly fellow sewers, having a set of ab exercises to work on for acro, lighter mornings (so much easier to wake up in time to meditate when you’re as fundamentally lazy as I am), the Parlour, Avengers Assemble, Angelique Houtkamp, text conversations, having a view of the ocean from each of the offices I work at during the week, awesome work colleagues, good advice, and, as usual, tea.

What doing a handstand on someone’s knees taught me about self esteem

It happened less than 6 hours after I had arrived in Auckland. There I was, in track pants and a t-shirt, trying to stabilise my core while I balanced upside down, my ‘base’ holding my shoulders up and me steadying myself on her knees while my Best Beloved spotted for us, telling me to tuck my stomach in, move my legs back, keep my arms straight. 

The move was called a low candle, and I was at my first ever session of acrobatics. My wonderful friend Anna C turns out to also be a fantastic teacher (a Princess of Cups? Most certainly). She has absolute faith in the newbies and, I gather, is usually the one grabbing them and throwing them in at the deep end.

Acro really works your core muscles, as well as a whole range of other muscles, often one set at a time. It’s an amazing workout, and (as I discovered) huge amounts of fun. But there’s one thing you need, more than anything else, to do it.

Confidence.

“Can you do a handstand?” asked Anna.

“Um…I haven’t in a long time.” I reply.

“But do you think you could?” she continues.

Then my Best Beloved goes on to demonstrate, with her basing him (she’s at least a foot shorter than he is), how to get up into the first move of a Pretzel by doing a handstand so your ass lands on your base’s feet, and then you walk over into a sitting position held up on their legs. Yes really.

“Do you think you could?”

You see, throughout the session Anna and the Best Beloved would both tell me I had been doing things right- I had balanced upside down, successfully leaned back almost horizontal into a Low Table. And yet, when I came out of moves I found that they were saying “yes you can!”, but I was saying “No, I can’t.”

“Do you THINK you could?”

You know the old saying, I’m sure: If you think you can, or think you can’t, you are probably right.

I know there are two things I need to strengthen to get good at acro. My core muscles (seriously, I could feel them shaking in that Low Table, though I was holding a tough position), and my confidence. Knowing you’re capable of something is well over half the battle. It was the doubts that brought me back down onto the mat, each and every time.

Oh, but I did do two successful moves- a sideways plank (being held up on Anna’s feet, one under my thigh and one under my shoulder, while I was told “and now look glamourous”. I was just excited to do it.

And a Flying Woman, where my Best Beloved hoisted me up into the air over his head, in a position much like the figurehead of a ship. And then walked off the mat and around the wooden gym floor with me. None of what came out of my mouth at that point was the truth. That was the fear talking.

And you know what? I’m going to keep going to Acro. And the fear is going to shut the hell up.