I was painting from a picture of a lady on a swing on a warm springs day. It was a blend of impressionism and realism and I was overcome by the feeling of peace and tranquility as I painted it. It reminded me of all the times I lectured at the psych ward and gave a meditation exercise. I hoped that the power of meditation would reach the audience with the same effect as did the lady sitting in the swing, meditating in a calm place. I pictured myself in the same safe place where I was relaxed and paid attention to my breathing as I allowed the flow of self-affirmations continue on in my head. I think I became the lady in the picture. My favorite childhood memory came to focus and it was magical and healing.
It was the memory when my sister, age 7, and I at age 5, became teddy bears performing a routine to Teddy Bear’s Picnic in Salt Lake City. Our brown jump suits hid our nervous arms and legs as we roller skated around the skating rink with our ears flapping simultaneously to the beat of the music. There were no falls, per se, but we did make a few stumbles.
We learned to roller skate by lacing up the shoe laces of our white leather boots. As we stood tall, we balanced on our roller wheels like wobbly pogo sticks. I pushed off with my rubber toe stop and felt a ripe amount of confidence overtake. As I skated from the entrance of the rink to the wall and back, I bumped my head hard against the wall and a thickened taste of snot erupted in my throat. My instructor caught me between her heavy arms and legs and brought me to a bench sticking a wad of watered down tissue up my nose to stop it from bleeding. Feeling like I had just swallowed a container of Morton’s salt, I lay limp in my mother’s arms while she comforted me.
My sister, Diana, who was a diva skater, was out of sorts and worried about me. She had her share of mishaps too. She had scarlet fever when she was young and when she became well, a driver had a heart attack and ran over her with his car. He dragged her into a telephone pole; however, she escaped with a hurt foot and bruises. It was traumatic for us all. She acquired an unlimited amount of energy and strength. Her spread eagles were right on the mark. With toes pointed outward and right arm extended gracefully above her head, she glided around the roller rink like a ballerina. In her red hair and sparkling green sequenced mini-dress she skated to “The High and Mighty.” Every time I’d go to her meets, I’d cry after her performance. She was high and mighty, all right, in my eyes.
We were pairs partners and in unison we’d spin in an arabesque position with one leg extended outward in midair. Sometimes we’d dig our toe stop into the floor and lift ourselves into the air twirling two 360-degree revolutions. We were flying and flew together. Growing up as sisters on skates, Diana shared a unique perspective in life with me. She cared for me like a 2nd mother and taught me how to face defeat as well as success. My life got better because of her patience, love, and encouragement. I was blessed to have had such a rich experience with my sister, Diana. Our relationship was built on knowing that it was not so much where we were in the moment, but the direction we were moving. We roller skated our way through our challenges and got better at life together.