Oh my, it is August 17th and I can't believe this is my first post in 2022! My creative energies have been so focused on preparing for my first foray into having a booth a design show in October, ideating, writing, designing, and making (more to come on that in a later post), that I’ve had nothing left in the arsenal for blog writing. I had been wondering what might inspire my next post, and then there it was, just walking down the street.
I was walking back from the LACMA outdoor jazz concert with Ted on a beautiful Friday evening in July, and BOOM, the inspirational hit was right there walking past me; a dog on a leash walking sideways forward. His master was headed straight ahead toward Wilshire Boulevard and so was the dog, but their legs were moving in different directions. I was so taken by the scene I said to Ted “who knew that dogs could walk sideways?!”…“I think this is a bog post.” Then I thought “why not?”, “who says they can’t,” and “wow what a different perspective on the world he must have,” and “how fun to do it differently.” And I proceeded to break out and sideways-walk down the street myself – WHY NOT?! It was fun.
It seemed that the dog was very happy with the way he was making it through the world and didn’t care one iota about the fact that I turned to watch him or what I thought about his way of being. And seeing this anomaly, diversion from the norm, sparked something, unleashed my own creativity, desire, and imagination. What a powerful impact from this unaware canine just following along on a beautiful summer evening.
When I got home my first course of action was to Google “sideways walking dog”. I came to learn that dog gait is a highly studied phenomena and that there are a variety of physiological reasons sideways walking manifests. I also learned the terminology for this phenomenon – crabbing or sidewinding. While all that was interesting, I wasn’t really looking to become an expert in dog gait so I left the Google rabbit hole in the early stages and went down a different path.
That said, before I go on, I’ll give you this little gem from my searching… it’s a jazz song called “Sideways Walkin’ Dog” (how’s that for synchronicity in that I had just come from a jazz concert when I saw the dog?). Take a listen and see what comes up.
What if sidewinding were a metaphor for living life from the center, walking in any way that came from your heart in service of curiosity, exploration and living a consciously created life? The dog may not have physically had a choice about the way he was walking but what a gift his difference has offered. I’m thinking about all the things we do because that’s the way they’re done, in a straight line. And the things we don’t do because it might be off the line. What will people think if I… wear this, say that, do or don’t do this or that?! And I’m thinking of what we miss out on if we only walk in that straight line and look straight ahead, what are we not seeing, not allowing?
The dog and his master were walking in the same direction yet seeing completely different things (not to mention that opportunity offered by his closeness to the ground). It inspired me to start searching for my own sideways walking and opportunities for sideways walking. It wasn’t easy for the longest time. Nothing came to me. I realized it’s the comfort and safety of the routine that makes it hard to see and or take on the possibilities for sidewinding. Especially when life is generally going well and according to “plan”. I also realized that there are little insignificant (and maybe not so insignificant) ways in which I already sideways walk.
When I was in Spain almost 3 years ago I bought bright yellow shoes and when I was in Sweden over 6 years ago I bought shiny silver clogs - both were bold statements I wouldn’t usually make, and I had thoughts of looking or being seen as ridiculous but bought them anyway. Do the shoes really matter? I don’t know for sure but if I couldn’t even walk sideways toward shoes I thought were fun, what else might I not be able to do?
I have the tendency to get my most creative at night and can work on projects into the wee hours (like refining this post at midnight). This makes it very hard to get quality sleep and to wake up at 5:30 or 6 to start my day off with meditation in service of my well-being. Finding a balance between these would be sidewinding for me. Still working on it. It’ll be a great blog post when I crack this one!
Going upside down in yoga or holding your feet in happy baby are sidewinding maneuvers. Holding your feet or looking at the world upside down – different perspectives through which new ideas, worldviews, and creativity might flow. Mindfulness meditation has been another of my sidewinding moves. My journey into, as some may see it, “the woo”; the study and practice of Akashic Records and Tarot reading, are definitely sidewinding from my work a day world of Human Resources and even to some extent, Coaching. There was a time when I wouldn’t have done any of these things for fear of what might be thought of my sidewinding ways. Or because it was a diversion from “the path.” Maybe it’s because I’m older and can’t be bothered to care as much about what people think or just have a better sense of my limited time on earth and figure, in the words of Hillel, “if not now, when”. Whatever the reason though, for sure trying on these new ways of walking through the world is fun, joyful, fulfilling, and inspiring and has only served to make all of the straight line stuff better.
What I make up about all this is that, like the sidewinding dog inspired me, maybe I can inspire you find your version of sidewinding. So here’s the question…what can you do today to do some sidewinding from your heart’s center? I’d love to hear your ideas.
Breakfast for dinner anyone? How about a glass of wine with those eggs?