I’m not sure I can sit down and squeeze everything I might want to say about Flipside into a single blog postâ€”or that I even want to commit all those thoughts to print. I may wind up dribbling out a few more posts on the subject over the coming days.
In the meantime, here’s one tidbit. In a conversation with someone I met at Flipside, he asked me about firespinningâ€”specifically, if I had noticed any physical benefits. I think my answer might make a good blog entry.
I’ve always been a klutz. I attribute this in part to being left-handed, partly to a growth spurt when I was 13 that left me a stranger in my own body. But I think that a big part of this klutziness was a form of learned helplessness: I had learned that I tend to break, or scratch, or knock over things, so I accepted that as normal, and never made an effort not to.
With firedancing, there’s an obvious need to be precise in your motions. There are also strong incentives to practiceâ€”practicing is enjoyable in its own right, and it’s easy to make rapid progress by practicing, especially as a beginner. Firedancing also forces one to be more aware of the spatial relationship between one’s body and its surroundings.
So a lesson that I learned at an intuitive level (and later at an intellectual level) was that I didn’t necessarily need to be a klutz. I was capable of using my body the way I wanted if I put a little care into it. I became more aware of how my body related to my surroundings, and more conscious of how I moved in general.
While I wouldn’t go so far as to claim that I’m graceful today, I’m more mindful and precise in my movements, and that has been a benefit.