the art of sway

I was just visiting an influential man from my childhood, Jack, in Nevada City, California. When I was about age 6 or 7,  he introduced me to Buddhism, ballet & basketball–all good B’s. Jack’s neighbor Becky (another good B) had us over for dinner, which was lovely. I feel so privileged to have people invite me into their homes. I was babbling on about something and mentioned The Artist’s Way, but my hostess thought I had said the book was called The Art of Sway. We’d been talking about writing & I thought that sounded like a great title & we ought to each write a story with that title & then share them with one another.  The stories are all different in form.

Here’s mine…

notes from this day...
notes from this day…

In this new & unfamiliar realm, not just of the United States of America, but also the United State of Melissa, I seem to have lost ambition, urgency & judgment. I am so much going with the flow that I really have to work to: apply myself, to focus, to make any plans to go somewhere or do something. I’m like a leaf on the water. Interesting to experience, allowing myself to be moved by the immediate, the now.

The quotes in this photo of my journal, about Grace and Humility, felt very appropriate on the day  in the Wild Mountain Yoga Centre (‘wild’ meaning to live in a natural state) that I read cards with these words.

“The beauty of Grace is that you receive blessings for no reason.  As above, so below. Practice random acts of Grace. Give to others for no reason. Offer kindness to those who are undeserving. Love those that no one else loves. Practice Grace.”


“The way of the Earth is to empty that which is full, & fill that which is empty. True Humility brings great fortune.”

They seemed to affirm where I was, allowing me to deepen the relationship with myself as I was.

Then in the evening, Jack netflicked a film called Grand Canyon. Another of the LA genre of films that seeks to make sense of our deeply segregated lives by weaving disparate people’s tales together, like threads woven into a fabric. I want to see it again to discern some more of the layers, the threads, in it.

Then I put Pandora on “random”–this is what I used to do on iTunes–put it on random & see what order arose.

The art of sway comes, currently for me, from allowing it all to be. And swinging easily with the tides. I find I can do no other.

Here’s Becky’s expression of The Art of Sway…

One night while talking with some friends I left my aids both out.
What did you say? Say that Again! They often heard me shout.
The kicker was the last bit which really made us laugh.
You’d think I was a half-wit or going quickly daft.
Melissa told about a book, that’s called The Artists Way.
Of course I did mishear her and so heard The Art of Sway.
The Art of Sway we all agreed could have a funny plot.
And so she challenged us forsooth to tell about that thought.
Darn Jack I cursed, she’s got us now a’challenged to a duel.
We must be clever, deft and sharp or she’ll  think us both fools.
The challenge took me back to when I was a brand new nurse.
About a man upon his bed who shared his dying curse.
His curse was love so all was well and had a happy ending.
He told his tale that night to me with hope of not offending.
You see I made him think of her which brought tears to his eyes. 
He’d lost his wife but loved her still. There could be no disguise.
             .   .   .
Back then I was a sailor boy who sailed the ocean blue.
We docked for shore leave one fine day as respite for the crew.
I came to love a hula girl whom I called April May.
She was hitching a ride from the windward side for a sailor along the way.
I fell for her from head to toe with her gently swaying hips.
Her big brown eyes and her coconut shells had me a turning flips.
She hula’d on into the night. My heart was good as gone.
We married next day in the usual way and frolicked upon the fronds.
I rued the time I had to leave my darling April May.
I wrote her letters from the ship and counted every day.
Well now we have 10 grandkids and my April May is gone.
I love her still and I always will, until there is no dawn.
True love it won’t come often; but when it does stick with it.
Love, then love with all your might. No one should have to miss it.
Take some hula lessons dear; let there be no delay.
Then find a man and hand in hand you’ll learn the Art of Sway.
Becky, Jack, Melissa & Jimi
And here we all are together under the tall Ponderosa pines (ponderosa coming from ponder(ous), meaning heavy), with Jimi the dog, named after Jimi Hendrix. Obviously.
If the idea of The Art of Sway moves you, feel free to share it — I’m happy to post it as part of the play!


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