Treasure in a Blue Moon (Getting outside my comfort zone)



Blue Moon

(Getting outside my comfort zone)

                Like so many surprises, it came very quietly yesterday…in the form of a question.  I was asked, “Jim, would you be willing to go to the Y tomorrow at 11:15 before lunch to a class called ‘NIA’?  It sounds like fun, is not too hard…take a look at the app on your phone which has a description of it.”

                So I did today…this is what I read…”NIA – Neuromuscular Integrative Action – how the mind and body work together.  This class is a combination of martial arts (like tai chi), healing arts (like yoga), and dance arts (like modern or jazz dance).  In this class…you will find pleasure and joy in movement… Class is done in bare feet.  Give it a try.

                  The first question is what do you wear?  Answer – “how about a tee shirt and shorts?”  The second question is will there be any other guys there?  Answer –“I don’t know”.  A more truthful answer would have been “No”.

                With some fear and no good feelings and confidence, I walked into the room, which thankfully was somewhat large and dimly lit.  Trust me…dimly lit is a good thing for a beginner at a NIA class.

                There were nine of us in addition to the instructor.  There were no other men.  Then sharply at 11:15, the music started and the footsteps began.  First, it was sort of like walking slowly, and then walking slowly and throwing your hands in the air.  And then just like that old “I Love Lucy” show at the conveyor belt when Lucy and Ethel were making chocolates, the instructor instructed us to go faster and then to the right and then to the left…and then twice to the right and twice to the left and then single both ways and then to the right three times and to the left three times…and then sideways. 

                 I looked at the clock on the wall.  It was only 11:20.  I had forty more minutes of watching the instructor’s feet and legs, trying to follow directions but continually putting my right foot in when it should have been my left.  Believe it or not, she then said something similar to “and then shake it all about”.  It was a young person ‘s version of the hokey pokee. 

                I had wondered when we started why the ceiling fans had been turned on.  Now I knew.  They were helpful in keeping me from falling over in distress.  Towards the end of the class, we were told to stand next to the wall and hold one of our legs, then turn away , bend over and walk to the right and then to the left and finally straight ahead with our hands.

                The instructor’s last words at noon were “Have a great rest of your day”.  I am not sure but I think I was the only one there she spoke to after it was over…I asked her if any other guys ever came.  She hesitated but then said “it is rare…but when one does…it is a treasure…but just once in a blue moon.”

                Walking to the car after the class was over, I was surprised to realize I felt better.  It was a good workout, for sure.  But it was more than that. I had agreed to do something I had never done before. I had been willing to try, to risk looking somewhat silly. One of my New Year’s resolutions was to get in better physical shape.  True, when I made that resolution, I had never heard of NIA, but then that is what the New Year is all about…starting over, new opportunities, meeting new people.  I have often said and deeply believe that if you want to get to someplace you have never been, you first must do something you have never done.

                So next week, it is back to NIA…and after that…who knows!


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