Monday, October 02, 2006

light heart, right speaking

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The challenge today is to not say anything bad about anyone. Just for a day. Just to see if I can do it - no matter how justified it may be. No, yeah, I know, it’s ridiculous. But it also includes not saying anything bad about myself. Which makes it a little break from self-judgement and criticism. So even if I screw up (let’s face it, there are thousands of opportunities every day,) the challenge will be to move past it and not get attached to the mistake, lest it hold back the process.

Will report on that later this week. *snort*

No practice Saturday or Sunday. I might have practiced Friday morning; I can’t remember. Rested the knee, which seems to have done a world of good.

(It occurred to me this morning - maybe in the shower - that I might come up with a restorative sequence that would be blissful and helpful, while not straining the knee. Or a sequence that really gets the psoas cooking - with arm balances and stuff. There are ways around the knee thing. But this weekend I was just wiped out. And at some point, the most compassionate thing you can do for your body is rest.)

Up ridiculously early for practice this morning. Duckie (and Bach) kept me company. Used to be she would wake up and try to crawl under me during downward dog. Used to be she was a serious impediment to morning practice. Now she hangs out with a sippy cup and watches, offering the occasional narrative: “Mommy jump!” “Jumps again.” “You fell down!” Giggles. Eventually she gets bored and goes back to sleep on the sofa. I can hardly blame her.

It struck me again this morning that lunges are also balance poses – they’re not just for leg-strengthening. Which is why I fall occasionally, and why I’d really rather not do them at all. But you know, it’s one of those things you just shouldn’t avoid.

Speaking of lunges, here’s the pose of the month from the power yoga website: the balancing high lunge, arms wide open. (I particularly like the dog hanging out at the front of their mats.) I was first introduced to this by Cat at Asheville yoga and liked it a lot.

When Kest added it to the Saturday morning routine, it came late in the sequence and we were all worn out. I felt like the only thing keeping me going, other than sheer stubbornness, was the sound of his voice. Like a yogic preacher, he pulled us through, lending us some stamina, some energy, keeping the room alive. “Come back up into Warrior One.” *crescendo* “Lean back a little if you can – make it a backbend if you want; it’s up to you how far you want to take this!” *crescendo* “Now stretch back, let your head fall backwards, let your arms fall open to the sides, and open yourself up to God.”

It was absolutely an order. I didn’t get the impression that God was anything specific, other than the energy of the universe, focused and intensified by the collective work we were doing. Another exquisite heart-opener. And balance, and leg strength. In the midst of an hour-and-a-half class, it’s no big deal. After two hours, it’s a challenge.

It reminded me of William Byrd’s Mass for Four Voices. I sang it during college, with a 12-person choir, in a small chamber with awesome acoustics. At some point the voices, the song becomes sacred in its performance; I became a transparent, grateful vessel for nothing but energy. That’s how it felt.

At least, it did until I started to fall over.

So I’ll add this one into rotation this month and see where it takes me.

Lots of Stuff to do today; I’d better get to it. Thanks for all your comments, y’all. It means a whole lot to me. I know I’m not alone on the journey – but it sure makes it more fun to have some voices shouting back from cyberspace from time to time.

Namaste, y’all.

*

2 comments:

James said...

"And at some point, the most compassionate thing you can do for your body is rest."

Good for you. That's "right view" as we say in Buddhism.

"open yourself to God."

I love this. Especially your speaking of it in the energy of the Universe, "focused and intensified by the collective work we were doing."

Yes!! Good job of being mindful of the Oneness of all things.

Kiki said...

So did you get through the whole day without saying anything bad about anyone? I don't think I could; I know I'd eventually burst out "you fuckwit!" at a baseball umpire or something. But it would be an interesting exercise...