I have recently come into a set of three nice 1/2lb juggling balls from Higgins Brothers (“The Physical Intelligence People”).
Teaching myself to juggle has been a great learning practice. I first learned how to juggle in 1984, with three tennis balls, in my parents basement. The flow kicked in while I was watching the CBC news magazine program “The Journal” as Barbara Frum was interviewing the Ethiopian foreign minister about the famine in his country. That is how sharp my awareness was that evening: I can remember exactly what was happening when I finally got three balls to cascade.
Fast forward about 20 years and here I live on this island with a whole bunch of homeschooled kids around me. One of them, my 15 year old friend Calder Stewart is an excellent juggler and a good juggling teacher. And his dad, Paul, is even better. Paul juggles all the time. On the ferry, waiting for the bus, in the line up at the store…and he always has a new trick or two that he is working on.
And then, my friend Ashley falls in love with Thomas Arthur who is the best space sculptor I have ever seen and he comes to visit with Ashley and shows me a few things. So I’m a lucky guy. Lots of teachers around, lots of people better than me and a nice set of good tools.
And all of that goes to facilitating flow, because for me that is what it is all about. Keeping three balls in the air, and making them do things like change direction or bounce off walls is a beautiful, accessible physical flow practice for me. When we reach flow, we are more likely to practice, and when practice more, we reach flow more.
Calder and I were talking today and he was saying that he drives his dad crazy because he never “practices.” I told him that I never “practice” either. I just play. All the time. Whether it is music or juggling. I never pick up my flute ormyt jugglign balls just to practice. I always pick up my tools to play to get to flow. Play as practice, practice as play.
Maybe one day I’ll get like this. The thing to notice about this video is not the technique (which is astounding) but the flow he is in. Imagine being in THAT spot? Wow.
Wait till Thomas posts a video of his work sometime and you’ll see someone who does even more amazing stuff with a much simpler approach.