Friday, June 26, 2009

Life's Humbling Moments

In 1980, I went to Toronto, to study Mime, Comedia del Arte, which is the basis of street theater, using half mask. It was a two year course, condensed into one year. There were only nine students. We spent four hours a day, practicing and performing acrobatics, juggling, improvisation, yoga, and doing mime.
It could be a very grueling routine, not so much because of the physical demands, but due to our teacher. He had a rather autocratic and tyrannical personality. In retrospect now, he put me in mind of the Soup Nazi, on Seinfeld . He was the Mime Nazi.
Fortunately, this was balanced somewhat, with the humor, and kindness of our teacher's great assistant, who would often lighten and defuse the mood.
One occasion arose in class, the day we learned an acrobatic trip trick. The technique was to simply hook one foot behind the opposite leg, while walking forward, which gave the illusion of tripping.

My turn had come to demonstrate my mastery over the skill, while the rest of my eight classmates watched in silence, being careful not to disturb my concentration. This was the usual routine in class for all of us.
This acrobatic trick was straight forward, I thought. I did not anticipate any problem.
When you are in such close physical proximity with people, everyday, doing these kinds of activities, certain expected, or unexpected factors, come into play.
I proceeded to carry out the exercise, walking ahead, hooking my left foot around my right. My perfected technique was a flawless execution. Consecutively, it had been punctuated with the impeccable timing, of one of those completely unexpected factors, a noise...flatulence...commonly and by some, affectionately, known as as fart.
I could not believe I had done this in front of a room of strangers, who I barely knew,and whom I wasn't going to be able to avoid seeing in the near future, every day.
The whole class broke out into uproarious hysterical laughter, especially after the assistant teacher loudly commented, that I, was now going to demonstrate how to trip and spontaneously fart at the same time.

I swallowed my pride and sucked up a heaping helping of humility and just started laughing. After all, this is why I was there, to learn how to be a fool.

Along with many lessons during my life, I have learned these three very important things, that I try to apply to my daily walk.

1. Always have a good sense of humor, develop and practice it as a lifestyle.
2. Understand and practice humility.
3. Love and accept your own humanity, in turn being compassionate toward others.

These things may not be important to anyone else, but me. They continue to help me to be happy in life.

I once read in a life changing book, The Spirituality of Imperfection, this life changing bit of powerful information.

The common root word in humor, humility, and humanity is humus, which means worm poo...yes worm shit. It was said, by the writer of the book, that these three were essential to living life fully alive.
I have come to believe this as being a great truth. It has helped me immeasurably and continues to do so.

I am reminded as well, of what a dear friend once said to me. " Don't sweat the petty things, and don't pet the sweaty things". If I do this, it helps me to remind myself to have humor, acceptance of people places and things, especially acceptance of myself and to remember, I am a human being, not perfect and can't expect others to be either.

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