Get Down On It

Who’s that old guy crawling around on the floor? I know I’m supposed to list all the benefits of exercise when I am first consulting with clients. How many fucking times have I written, “do you want to be able to play with your grandchildren,” lower your blood pressure, etc., but frankly, even though my clients are mostly moving out of what might be called middle age, I am all about aesthetics. Feeling beautiful. Sure fitness gets to come along but I gotta tell you aesthetics is a not-so-bad by product of healthy eating and exercise.

I was a dancer and a model, can you think of two other things that would require more mirror time? And thank goodness both models and dancers are now starting to come in a variety of wonderful, beautiful shapes. It’s the beauty inside that will reflect the beauty outside, and vice versa.

Over the years I’ve done my best, well, what I can, to go inside, where the mirror is of a different type, however I have come to the conclusion that there is something to be said for the profane, tactile, tangible world, and even those of us in it, who don’t seem to be in it.

I can’t really blame anyone for my adolescent bodily hangups, I’d say they were mostly a product of my strange misinterpretation of the world. My pained misunderstanding and non-acceptance of being gay (I spent a couple of years not looking at my body below the neck), and some weird misinterpretations of my mild Presbyterian upbringing. I got over it but the echoes of that miserable time are still there. Anyway finally going off to seek my fortunes as a dancer was not a whole-heartedly supported idea as you can imagine, being the son of a lawyer and politician.

The inside part, the meditative part, is the part where we establish connections and a relationship with our body. Breathe in, breathe out. Connect. It’s a good one. Not the kind where we ignore what’s going on below our neck until the physical pain is unbearable. We have a whole body and it should be one of most important relationships. I read a great book ages ago about mindfulness in exercise “The Strength To Awaken“, which incorporates, breath, connection and a whole lot of other stuff, so time to reread. It did leave an impression on me.

Speaking of mind body connection, the real reason we take breaks between set and reps and have days off is for the nerves to adjust and adapt to the work, so there is a real honest to god mind body connection, not just sore tired muscles. We need those neural connections to adapt and grow. Neat eh?

I know you’ve likely seen a picture of me and the poodle if you’ve read this far. Well, true confessions, I often go into the “poodle yard” and plunk my ass on a chair and throw the frisbee (before or after a walk). Recently it dawned on me I could actually get down on hands and knees and crawl around and he goes bananas, has the best time of his life and we are totally engaged. Since when did I decide crawling had become such a chore? So yes, if your grandchildren aren’t yet off to university you might want to get down on the floor with them, or maybe sit in the warm surf on a sandy beach and feel what the world wants you to feel, sand in your crack, water splashing up into your nose, pebbles between your toes.

Time to stop being such a homo erectus. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

Published by: Andrew Binks

I am a writer living in rural Ontario, 2 hours east of Toronto. I was born and raised in Ottawa but spent the last 15 years in BC. Glad to be back. My first novel, The Summer Between, was published in 2009 by Nightwood Editions. My website is My fiction and non-fiction have been published in Joyland, Galleon, Fugue, Prism International, Harrington Gay Men's Literary Quarterly (U.S.), Bent-magazine, The Globe and Mail, and Xtra, among others. I am a past honorable mention of the Writer's Union of Canada's short prose contest, Glimmertrain’s Family Matters contest, finalist in the Queen's University Alumni Review poetry contest, and This Magazine’s “Great Canadian Literary Hunt.” My poetry has also appeared in Quill's “Lust” issue and Velvet Avalanche Anthology. Harvard Square Editions will be publishing a chapter from one of my novels in their upcoming anthology "A Voice from the Planet," this fall. My satirical play, Reconciliation, about Native land claims, Japanese internment, and political corruption, was read this spring in Toronto as part of the Foundry play-reading series. My play Pink Blood received a public reading, from Screaming Weenie Productions in Vancouver this June. I spoke at the AWP conference in New York City in 2008 on the merits and challenges of multi-genre writing programs.

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