I don’t think I ever felt more self-conscious, embarrassed really, than when I started set-leading. I’m the leader and the group, large or small, it makes no difference, is taught to watch and follow my action. I was invited and I agreed to feel and carry my embarrassment and to be seen in a manner to which I’m not accustomed. The group intuitively looks to the set leader for modeling and pace and orientation; they do not know my feelings. When my first set-leader experience was complete I felt foolish and depressed. And I felt stronger and refreshed. It was effortless action carrying my embarrassment even though I'm a novice.
I compare it to crew, i.e. rowing, over long distance for a long time. I, we, go along, counting strokes, feeling my breathing to manage it, my oar in the water as I place it in, pull it and move it out, hearing water and seeing it move by and feeling the shell move forward and the motion of my seat moving back with my legs and pulling forward with my oar, then out, my, our, motion in synchronicity, and suddenly I blank out and lose track of all of it and me. I’m being in effortless motion I’m powering.
This I don’t recognize until the afterwards from some variance. I awake. I’m amidst the set or movement or imbalance. Or some rare moment I’m in precious harmony and balance and sound. Or I the set-leader calls, “Single whip.” Wake up! I start again and continue and after a bit of time and motion I’m Being again in effortless action. And again, after a moment, for a time I’m somewhere else. I am my body and I am out of my body. I exist and I do not exist. The phenomena of effortless action is miraculous. I return and I feel foolish and depressed and I feel refreshed and stronger -- every -- time.