This circus doesn't just help horses
Guest writer Deborah Willimott explores why she needed flow in her life, and what she's done with it.
It was an acrobat that taught me about flow.
I spent last weekend with an old friend who'd decided to run away to the circus. He trains horses. Horses that had been loaded on to meat wagons destined for a future as glue sticks – then snatched back at the last minute because there wasn’t enough room to take them to the slaughterhouse.
These horses are now more than happy to trust acrobats to skip (yup, with a rope) on their back as they canter merrily round a ring. They get a lot of love, those horses.
Anyway, the interesting thing about the circus is that no one who works there does so because they have to cover the mortgage. Or want to show off at school reunions. Or because their father was in the circus and daddy would be very disappointed and write them out of the will if they didn’t get the highest marks at circus school and outshine daddy’s work colleague’s kid, who's a tightrope walker and doing really well at it.
Everyone is there because they chose to be. Because it's an outlet for what they love to do. And they get to do it daily. Hourly. Minutely. They love it so much they do it even when they don’t have to. Because it’s brilliant. And when you are around these people, doing what they do, totally being what they should be with no resentment, fear or anger, you can feel it. And it’s ace.
And what’s cool about that is not only do you feel it but something in you goes: ‘I want me some of this. Now. Thanksverymuch.’
All the things we find hard to do or trust are right, or worry won’t make us any money, suddenly don’t matter as much as feeling like this every day.
There is a physics principle called ‘entrainment’, which basically states that everything vibrates (as we all do, ask a physicist). And when two things are placed near each other, the thing with the strongest and most positive vibration pulls at the thing with the weaker vibration until the latter matches the vibration of the former. Strike a tuning fork and place it next to another tuning fork. See?
This is very cool. And it works on humans as well.
I could feel the vibe of these people – doing what they were made to do – poking at the part of me that thinks it can’t. And throwing me into a slight panic that I hadn’t really had enough of it in the last 20 years.
What is also interesting is that I heard a piece of music that weekend, when I was bundled into the back of a car with a bottle of tequila and three musicians, two of whom were French and one of whom played a washboard. And when I got home and I played that piece of music, I could not only feel the vibe of that day but the resonance of the musicians who made that music doing their thing and loving every minute of it.
All of which threw the miserable prospect of not being this into such massive relief that I finally signed up for a course I had been putting off for three months.
I’m not sure that the moral is to spend as much time around circus folks as you can, to become a person that wears Lycra for a living or hanging out in a mobile home that smells of field mix*. But being around people doing what they were made to do, or around something created by a person in that zone, is like being shaken out like a dusty rug.
No one likes a dusty rug.
Deborah Willimott is a writer and pathological coffee drinker. She lives in a small yurt in Scotland.