29 September 2011

The Sweet Spot

This morning I had a chance to hit the tennis ball around with Mark.  I love tennis and I love Mark so it is a winning combination.  I haven't ever had lessons and had hardly picked up a racquet until we lived in England.  There were public courts in the park behind our house there.  Since the kids weren't in school we could play during the day in the middle of the week and had the entire place to ourselves.  We could hit until our hearts' content while Elise ran around with whichever kids were sitting out for a bit.  I wasn't nervous about how I looked or what I wore because it felt like our own private court.  That's not the case at the New Orleans Lawn Tennis Club.  It is quite intimidating to play at the second oldest court in the country with all the tradition and etiquette associated with tennis.  I am not letting that stop me but that's only because Mark is comfortable with it all and I just follow his lead.

On the ride home, I was analyzing my hitting with Mark and going over things I did right and what I did wrong.  I love the mental challenge of figuring out your opponent's hit and where it is headed.  When you guess correctly, you are prepared to be in the right spot.  When you are lined up correctly and swing at the perfect moment, there is a satisfying THWACK the ball makes as it hits the racquet.  It's the sweet spot.

Life is full of sweet spots.  Lately, I have been focused on physical ones.  I have been going to tai chi classes for about three months.  I have been wanting to blog about it but can't seem to put my amazement of this Chinese form of martial art into words.  Me, speechless?  Imagine that!  There is so much to share about tai chi but I am bringing it up now to illustrate my point.  In tai chi, the movements are done rhythmically and very slowly.  In practicing the movements you are trying to find the best way to perform each sequence.  The instructor explained that when you find that one right way, you can freeze at any point and remain completely still with no problem.  In tai chi, the goal is to always be balanced and in complete control of your muscles.  You know the feeling when you get the move right.  You hit the sweet spot.

I am taking a dance class this year.  This is something I have been wanting to do for some time and it is finally possible with Elise in school.  I danced from the time I was five until I left home for college and have even gone back as an adult.  Physically in dance, the sweet spot is when you have practiced the combination of steps enough you could do it in your sleep.  That's when you get to fine tune the technique and bring out the emotion of the dance.  It is a very sweet spot indeed.  Combining music with the movement adds an emotional level to the activity for me.  The first class, the teacher mentioned the name Bob Fosse and started playing All that Jazz.  I grew up learning his style of jazz choreography and dancing to the music of his works such as Sweet Charity, Pippin and Chicago.  Talk about the sweet spot! 

In August we had the luxury of a last-minute get-away to the beach with my in-laws.  Sitting on the beach with my brother-in-law, listening to the perfect beach tunes on a picturesque day, we both marveled at the moment.  It was just the right combination of relaxation, family time, sand and sun.  The sweet spot is always about just enough, never too much.

We all are given sweet spots in life, both physically and emotionally but it is learning to recognize and appreciate them that brings such satisfaction.  Of course, these moments are nothing more than a glimpse at the sweetest spot of all...

Here's hoping you hit a sweet spot soon and get a little glimpse of Heaven.

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