Have you heard of the expression ‘two left feet’? Have you ever used it when speaking about yourself? In what context?
The origins are early 20th Century but for me what is intriguing is the hidden meaning behind the expression.
Did you know that the word for ‘left’ in Latin was ‘sinistra’ meaning evil (think sinister in the English language) and get this; the French word for ‘left’ is ‘gauche’, which also means lacking in social graces, awkward.
This morning whilst I was rebounding (remember all things integration) all was well in my world until the instructor asked me to pay attention to my body AND jump in rhythm with the song AND move to a choreographed routine. Too much. Overload.
All of a sudden I noticed my two left feet.
I became clumsy. And to be honest a little nervous. Afraid that I was going to fall off the rebounder.
I centered myself. Paused my watch – ‘cause you know all things Adrian Gore keep a check on my heart rate and calories burned – and I paused You Tube.
What was I afraid of? What was so sinister about this experience?
I was afraid of falling off the rebounder.
What could happen? Really? How far off the ground was I? Was there any object in my path that would be fatal to my wellbeing if I fell and hit that object?
I was being silly. Even if I did fall off, it’s a matter of centimeters off the floor and nothing of danger in my path.
So what was it?
Why did I suddenly experience two-left-feet syndrome?
I realized that I felt silly. I felt awkward. I felt like I had lost every last vestige of being graceful.
My Enneagram 1 panicked. I wasn’t doing ‘it right’ (look at that – right!). What if someone saw? What if I wasn’t good enough? Well no shit Sherlock – I wasn’t good enough in this instance!
Was I going to fall back into that old pattern of mine (of the Enneagram 1 type) and exit before I got caught out? That my secret of not being good enough was found out?
NO! Not today!
I hit play and got my rebounding teacher back in animation. I hit the resume button on my watch and off I went bouncing away.
What did I do differently?
I gave myself permission to be wrong. To be not-good-enough. I did what I could. I laughed when I did fall. And I climbed back up and tomorrow I’ll do it again. And perhaps I’ll be able to do the full workout and perhaps my movements will be a little more co-ordinated and if not, I’ll jump back on the next day.
I will get to the point where I am no longer awkward, that I feel more graceful. The place where I accept that I have a left and right foot. The place where I accept me. All of me.
Have you ever felt like you have two left feet (and possibly put both of them into your mouth)?
What triggered this feeling, this sense of awkwardness?
Perhaps you’ve been in a setting where you felt out of place? Did you do something, or say something that was met with ‘a look’?
Perhaps you experienced it when in your head you believed you could do that thing, or say that sentence in that foreign language, and then when you did it, or said it, you wished you’d never attempted it?
How have you moved to a place of feeling more at ease? More graceful?
I’d love to hear.
Here’s to a perfect pair of feet!