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Archive for the ‘yoga’ Category

A book would feel better. Something that requires my eyes and not my hand, these hands that seem incapable of sense or beauty, of holding anything, of completing thoughts.

With a lowered gaze my eyes wouldn’t betray what a stalled hand shows. Lack of movement, of invention. In that stillness the absence of intimacy, of connection. Tip to fiber stains the page in blue with unintelligible marks, poor penmanship, lost life & memories. Only remnants remain.

You are, maybe, a writer I write to myself just before sleep.

The next night, I refine my previous statement. You are, mostly, a writer, because it’s high time I assert some control over the ability to self-define. I walk and ride my bike to get familiar with self-propelling forward motion.

Then I tell myself you are a writer because I’m trying to practice maitri. I am trying to say to myself that I forgive you. I am trying to encourage this one small ounce of faith that has yet to extinguish, even if it’s fake it ’til you make it.

Walking home from the store, stinging behind my eyeballs from a this darkness that has re-enveloped me, born of a terror I’ve yet to name or befriend, your voice. A sweet imprint on an answering machine, across miles. To say hello. Been busy but all is well. Looking forward to some time off next week. A sweetness that will always be. And for a moment it is all so simple. The next moment it is mixed with tears from missing two amazing friends.

You are a writer. This is not decided by the New York Times or The Sun or that anthology you haven’t heard back from. It is not decided by the people who think you should definitely not get an MFA or the people who don’t invite you to interview for a job that you know you would absolutely kick ass at. It isn’t even determined by the one person who loves you most of all, who refuses to let you on the computer without insisting on “watch da whales jumping.”

Another two days pass. Sob wet confessions behind closed doors, absent of logic or rationale. Touch on the old, older, oldest. The lies I believe over and over again without realization. Some of the strings that keep me trapped, tied up in the past-never-to-be-future. My mistrust of all things shines through and illuminates an even still deeper fear that although I’ve come to whisper it time to time out loud (and only to a paid professional) I can only touch for a moment at a time. One breathe at a time then hold the rest.

And suddenly that fire that was consuming me is like smoke. It is long and dark and trailing, its toxins soaked deep within my skin and organs, but smoke nonetheless. Transparent patches. I feel its heat and thickness but walk right through it, still unsure if I’ll ever find the clearing.

In yoga with a new teacher, I find my Warrior after months of it feeling gone. I move consciously from a diagonal lunge, with intention, into Warrior III without using my hand. My foot firmly planted, stable on the earth. My leg shakes like nothing I’ve ever felt – a tremor rising from the inside, up and outward – but I am steady. Prana. I glide into Standing Split, light touch to the floor. We rise, Exhalted. I am still steady. In transition. Prana revealed.

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Breathing into the sidewaist, outstretched, shoulders back, all I want to do is draw boundaries around everything. First I just want to cordon off my roads, then obscure all passes. Obliterate my landscape. Rest deep inside the numbness, unseen. Unknown.

I want to unmake the map.

Instead, I uncover some unhealed pieces. Through these sides that surround my core, I feel armor chip off.

“I lost my warrior,” I admit in yoga class. “I had it for years, and now it’s gone.”

“It’s not gone,” AP assures me, “you’re warrior’s probably in transition.” She looks at the other women in the room and asks if anyone else has gone through this. You start practice and it’s a challenging pose. Then you really find it, and it’s easy. Then it transitions and it’s challenging again. They all nod, some laugh gently.

If you’ve ever been divorced, or became any type of parent, or lost your job in a fucked economy or your house, maybe you’ve had the experience of thinking transition is total bullshit, a lie people tell you so you’ll just buck up, or to alleviate their own fears. Or it feels like a false promise you fall for again and again. Or maybe that’s just my view on this particular day of this particular month.

But I work with it in these untouched sides of my body. I let my teacher readjust my heel, the length of my stance, my hip points. I flow through the movements as if they can erase lines, erase meanings, make me visible. I wonder what it is like to feel beautiful. I think about miles and cannot remember the route I walked home yesterday or exactly where Vermont is on a map.

I wonder who I am really trying to protect, OWL or me?

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I light incense on the shrine in gratitude of these recent experiences and chose a lotus stick as a reminder of non-attachment, to reconnect with my Thursday yoga practice where it unfolded again and again in my heart space, rising pink and cream from the mud. Then without even a tiny bow I promptly retreat to the kitchen where I don’t have to see it or think about it or breathe it in. I chop the drained tofu as the zucchini simmers in butter. The lingering touch of kissed lips held for days fades quickly. I dig out a leftover red onion wedge, slice it and add it to the pan.

Funny how openness applies to the potential of beginnings but not to the possibilities of a short life, the arrival of an ending.

I add the sauce and tofu, stir and season, set the lid in place and reduce the heat, and walk into the living room, the air heavy with the scent of my life in motion. OWL quietly watches the PBS NewsHour from his mushroom perch at the foot of the couch, giggles at me and nods his head as I walk by. A small smile cracks in my tightness. The sweetness of sadness without a storyline, the joy of OWL’s happily crinkled nose, of coming back to the simmering food on the stove, the rising smoke of the lotus. The sweetness of Practice.

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(mountain-eagle-warrior-flying)
(into 2011)

I have not been writing.

It is December, and I think something like this happens every time this year. There is a still quiet, a silent revolution of words and ideas rumbling around with no exit, and no desire to go anywhere. I write beautiful things in my head then quickly scribble flattened words after hours of procrastination and fall asleep.

My mind turns over this year, my first year, and I see it was characterized by loss and the depth of my experience of what was lost. How I leaned in to its sharpness, the cold metallic feel of its reality, the emptiness of bed and home and speech. How I sat and sat and sat again in practice, letting the tears and aches have their place and days.

My mind wanders over the people who filled this time of darkness with the most delicious richness and texture – OWL’s warm nuzzle under my arm and his sweet sing-songs from the back seat of the car, the warmth of mittens knitted by a new mama’s hands and the cooing and laughter of her foxy little babes as we talk-cook-sit-listen, tree-shaded walks through rabbit holes with wounded animals and talks and coffees with the children running ahead or lagging behind, the rise and fall of a lover’s body next to mine in sleep, the soft coat of the cat against my bare leg, acoustic guitars melodically joining teenage voices and hand-crafted gift tags, the growing bellies of mamas-to-be, falling asleep on a boat in the May heat of Florida and hot spring swims, the ballet and dinner, late night phone calls full of tears and laughs and love….

The freeze up of loss and loneliness is not so solid after all. The lake is full of the cracks and fissures of a continuing life, a current below the surface. A slow and steady breeze winding through the constriction picks up speed.

Open-eyed in yoga, I move through mountain to eagle to warrior 3 to standing split with my hands wrapped around my ankle, finger tips gently tap and sweep the floor with grace to regain balance as I laugh out loud. My heart  fills with green grass and a sky painted golden and pink by the rising sun, a light blue sweater tossed off to the side. A lotus blooms in the mud as the sun warms my face and arm through the southern windows. I see and feel and know the openness of the coming year, and greet that mystery with curiosity. With a smile that knows the transformative power of the eagle, and that starting fresh is not the same as starting from scratch.

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