Gait: a manner of walking, stepping, or running.
“Too many people, guilt-stricken, wounded,
walk in regret,
feeling bad about failing,
apologise even for breathing.”*
A dramatic walk is a walk full of sensing – that is, open to more, presensing – open to what the more is bringing from the future; and, realising – making something happen with this more. Every time different.
A theatrical walk is scripted, perhaps by others, perhaps by self, as a way of controlling, or providing predictability, or both. Repeatable.
In Maria Popova’s article on Ursula Le Guin’s writing about true beauty, Le Guin marks the differences between cats and dogs. including how dogs don’t know their true size: imagine the chihuahua taking on a caucasian shepherd dog because it thinks it’s the same size or the same shepherd dog snuggling down on your lap because it thinks its just the right size. Cats, though, know how big they are, how, if they are attacked, they need to make themselves look bigger – turning side-on and puffing themselves up to look twice the size. They also know where they look best – just look at where they pose themselves.
Le Guin imagines people to be like dogs and cats:
“A lot of us humans are like dogs: we really don’t know what size we are, how we’re shaped, what we look like. The most extreme example of this ignorance must be the people who design the seats on airplanes. At the other extreme, the people who have the most accurate, vivid sense of their own appearance may be dancers. What dancers look like is, after all, what they do.”**
Of a dancer observed, Le Guin remarks:
“He inhabits his body as fully as a child does, but much more knowingly. And he’s happy about it.”
Popova considers what’s happening here. This is not about wanting to look perfect but to be satisfied within one’s life:
‘What dance does, above all, is offer the promise of precisely such bodily happiness — not of perfection, but of satisfaction.’^
My twenties were long ago – and I’ve never been able to dance. What hope for someone in their late fifties? What we can all have is a deeper satisfaction making it possible to take a dramatic and not a theatrical walk. Eugene Peterson perhaps senses this when he writes:
‘Life is ambiguous. There are loose ends. It takes maturity to live with the ambiguity and the chaos, the absurdity and untidiness.’*^
When we’ve found our way of walking, are comfortable in the dramatic walk that is right for us and which continues to unfold throughout our lives, then we can be about some of our most creative wor. It is made up of our unique talents and passion and experience, and alchemy therein:
“I’m a firm believer in the chaotic nature of the creative process needing to be chaotic. If we put too much structure on it, we will kill it.”*^
(*Andy Raine, quoted in the Northumbria Community‘s Morning Prayer.)
(**Ursula Le Guin, quoted in Maria Popova’s Brain Picking’s Ursula K. Le Guin on Ageing and What Beauty really Means.)
(^From Maria Popova’s Brain Picking’s Ursula K. Le Guin on Ageing and What Beauty really Means.)
(^^From Eugene Peterson’s Run with the Horses.)
(*^Liindsey Collins, quoted in Ed Catmull’s Creativity, Inc..)