....from Rilke's Book of Hours: Love Poems to God
You are not surprised by the force of the storm-
you have seen it growing.
The trees flee. Their flight
set the boulevards streaming. And you know:
he whom they flee is the one
you move toward. All your senses
sing him, as you stand at the window.
The weeks stood still in summer.
The trees' blood rose. Now you feel
it wants to sink back
into the source of everything. You thought
you could trust that power
when you plucked the fruit;
now it becomes a riddle again,
and you again a stranger.
Summer was like your house: you knew
where each thing stood.
Now you must go out into your heart
as onto a vast plain. Now
the immense loneliness begins.
The days go numb, the wind
sucks the world from your senses like withered leaves.
Through the empty branches the sky remains.
It is what you have.
Be earth now, and evensong.
Be the ground lying under that sky.
Be modest now, like a thing
ripened until it is real,
so that he who began it all
can feel you when he reaches for you.
Bits of this poem- or rather the tone of this poem- have been rattling around in my head for the past week or so. I have been trying to take it as slow and easy as I can and really soak up these warm and brilliant fall days. The long falls that we have been having in the upper midwest the past few years have really allowed for a chance to linger in the light and the brightness of the season before retreating more and more indoors once winter hits. I have been basking as best I can, drinking in all of the golden light through my eyes, through my skin.
There have been a few things that I have wanted to share as of late. Some thoughts, ideas explorations. But all of that was somewhat suddenly put on hold earlier this month when Chris and I lost our health insurance. We knew that it was coming, so it wasn't a shock per se, I mean it has been shocking but not because it was a surprise... Chris was promoted earlier in the year so it was only a matter of time before we were bumped off of Medicaid (thankfully not promoted to such a degree that our kids were bumped- they are, thankfully, still covered by the state), and as he is employed by a Canadian company, they are not particularly quick on the uptake in regard to health insurance. So, it is a godforsaken shit show out there in the health insurance world. Which I have known, hopefully we have all known, it's just that right now I really know, ya know? Anyhow, we are insured on a relatively decent plan. For the small fee of what an airline ticket to someplace amazing would cost. Every. Single. Month. And good luck getting a 20% coinsurance after deductible to make sense to any rationally minded sane human being.
This is most definitely NOT what I have wanted to talk about. But, it occupied the very forefront of my attention for every waking and non-waking moment (I mean I dreamt that Chris and the kids and I were being hunted- on foot, sleeping in abandoned houses and scavenging food and destroying all trace of everywhere we had been) until I finally clicked enroll and sealed the deal and like 10 round trip tickets to Bali later....
What I wanted to talk about, and really spend more time absorbing and processing in general, was the MovNat weekend workshop that I participated in in Milwaukee at the beginning of this month. I have been tentatively exploring the world of natural movement for about the last year or so- really since I decided it wouldn't be the end of days for me to explore any type of movement that happened off of my mat. I met Kellen Milad, a MovNat trainer and coach, last spring and knew right away that I would very much like to learn from him. He is certainly a beautiful mover, but he also very smart and centered and connected in a way that appeals to the yogi in me- both student and teacher. And I just really love to be the student of a good teacher, blah blah blah I've said it a million times before. On this very blog.
So, the weekend was challenging. Like, very physically difficult. And then difficult in the ways that come along with that. My assumptions were checked a bit. I wasn't as indifferent as I had perhaps hoped to the skills that are out of my range. But, it was also a blissful weekend. Which caught me particularly off guard. In retrospect, I guess it's not really surprising at all that spending large spans of timeand energy engaging play with awareness and attentiveness- while primarily outside- would result in the experience of internal unity, or bliss states. What I mean by internal unity is an equal engagement of different aspects of self. Identity parts, as it were. But also unity between aspects: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual.
I was exhausted at the end of the weekend. Physically spent. And perhaps more than ever before in my life as a person who lives in her body has it ever been so clear to me that my entry point is the body. That the way for me to connect to my soul has always been primarily through the connection to my physical self piggy-backed right on top of my connection to the physical/natural world. My body is the earth and the earth is my body and the connected of the two is for me the very gateway to my heart. And I know that I have always known it but maybe know the thing I feel myself coming to know is that natural movement helps me connect to the animal that is me in the very real world that I live in today.
Also! I am feeling so curious and inspired about the way that natural movement can help bridge the gap between the boundless creative playful exploration of childhood and the early adult loss of play and curbing of movements that I certainly know I underwent as a teen. During that entire dreadful stage of trying to dis-embody. Did you do that? I sure did. And watching Maple in her beautiful, growing, not quite and child's not yet an adult's body grow out of some of her childhood play and the movements that that asked of her- wanting to hang on to that type of freedom and ease and power in her body even as the impulse of that sort of play dissolves. I think that natural movement has this amazing role to fill here. Staying in the full range of our physical while transforming our purposeful play of childhood into the purposeful movement of adulthood.
And, hello, I still love yoga. And I am re-inspired regularly. By friends. By teachers. By students. I have cracked into the programs in the back on LOY again for the first time in about 3 years. Working my way through the intermediate series over the next 6 weeks or so. Does anyone remember when D had us do the advanced series? We worked through it over 6 consecutive days at YO.... In like 2004? He was the only one who could do all of the postures, or maybe even like half of the postures. I'm sticking with the introductory and intermediate, because hello- 40 in a month and a half and the intermediate course is hard!!!