Tuesday, December 9, 2008

yo-yo #10: clean machine

plain. simple. unadorned. what do you need to yo-yo? what do you need to be a yo-yoer?

i'm not sure of the exact day that it became the future, but it surely did. you're reading this online. in all likelihood, the majority of your personal communications today have been online. as such, it's so easy to slouch into the belief that yo-yoing is something that happens on a network, in a forum, on a keyboard. and through the inescapable lenses of commerce, it's even easier to lounge into the thought that, like everything else we want, yo-yoing is something that we can acquire; and that if we fail or cease in our quest to acquire (the newest, shiniest, smoothest), then our yo-yoing is diminished.

fortuately, yo-yoing is not something that you acquire. it's something that you are, or may become. there is no connection between what you have and what you are.

this is not a fancy yo-yo. it does not have a spec bearing (or... any bearing, for that matter). it isn't made of 6061. there are no hubstacks, no silicone recess, no sonic-welded rim weights. there is nothing here to hide behind. when you throw it down (and sometimes when you just look at it), your every flaw is exposed.

the hard thing isn't working to become so amazing that you have no more flaws. rather, it's realizing that we are made of flaws. we CONSIST of our flaws; of our illusions. when you snap back on trapeze or run out of spin, though you may scream at yourself inwardly, this yo-yo will not berate you. it will guard the door, but it's never cruel. any weakling can forge themselves into an ideal. but, ideals are always on the move, and said weaklings will move with them; never satisfied. our society tells us that "never satisfied" is the most productive way to live, but yo-yoing doesn't have to be about "producing" something. it can be about appreciating what's already there; what's always been there, from our first weak throw. that's the hard part, and when you can really do that, the "flaws" you once thought were there aren't flaws at all.

so why practice yo-yoing? why practice anything? because practice does not make perfect. practice IS perfect. the paradox is that we have to move through practice to recognize that perfection has been there all the time. and after we realize that? more practice. (it's a good thing yo-yoing is fun.)

your yo-yoing inevitably expresses what you're seeking. are you seeking a huge collection? are you seeking titles and accolades? are you seeking a reputation for witty banter or incredible skill? would you still care about incredible skill if you couldn't get online for a year? what matters to you?

if i could manifest the truth while sitting still; if it felt right, then that's what i'd do. sometimes it does. other times, i pick up this yo-yo, and i play it, and the fanciful microcosm that i've constructed and maintained for myself falls away. i pick up this yo-yo and that which i need comes into glaring relief. it occurs to me that every activity, every trick i hide behind is only a shadow of the truth. the only point of yo-yoing is to experience life; to do so intensely and sincerely, and to share yourself with everything.

i don't want you to join a cult or drink any kool-aid (though, now i'm thirsty... great). but quit groping. quit attaching to the idea that yo-yoing is something that happens outside and away from yourself, whatever you play. if you've been reading, you know that i have modern yo-yo's with every possible accoutrement. if i picked up an 888 and understood, then that would be enough. sometimes, though, it's easier to understand everything when you strip everything away.

this is the clean machine. it's the first and the last; the simplest and the most impossibly difficult yo-yo to use and understand.

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