October 15, 2003

Learning To Crawl By Crawling Backwards

Sebastian crawled forward today. For days he’s only been able to crawl backwards, so it was a big relief for the little guy to find his forward gear. We of course cheered him on as he lurched unsteadily forward, and his little face beamed. I’m not sure why we’re so pleased about these small steps. It only means he’ll be up and walking soon, and so from now on nothing below waist level is safe. I suppose it’s all part of life’s great quest forward, making progress despite the discomfort, trying out new territory despite the risks of failure.

The parallel with our current adventure was not lost on me. Sometimes it feels like we too are crawling backwards, hoping that at some point we’ll start to crawl forward. Life here is especially slow; languorous and peaceful most of the time, and frustrating at others. But it’s that slowness that’s allowing us to find our way to the next stage. By slowing to a crawl we have had time and space to imagine the next part of the journey. So even though like Sebastian I’m frustrated sometimes by the pace and want to get up and walk, I know that all things have an order and right now crawling backwards is where we are.

The other night though it seemed like we got a taste of crawling forward. Frank and I had been sitting up late talking about our next step forward, which will probably involve living in Italy. After several long discussions and scribbled spreadsheets it became clear that on our own we don’t have the capital to buy a place big enough to run the retreat center that we’d like to run. I was disapponted about this, having cast myself as the welcoming mother to hoards of retreating people, creating a beautiful garden, and whipping up vast dinners each night. However, when I finally relinquished that dream, I could finally make way for Frank’s ideas about how else to approach the venture. We got so excited that we stayed up until the wee hours, picturing different scenarios and filling in details.

Today we’re back sitting on our bottoms like Sebastian often does in between crawling forwards and crawling backwards. The Live and Work in Italy book is a sobering read, which among other things advises you not to even think about moving to Italy unless you’re fluent in Italian. We are not. In fact we can barely speak a word. In order to get up and walk in Italian we’ll need to create new neural pathways, exert great effort, and practice extreme tenacity.

I’m off to get a lesson from Sebastian.

Posted by: Frank @ 9:31 am — Filed under:

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