Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Summit Doesn't Differ From the Dark Valley and the Valley Doesn't Differ From the Kitchen Sink

Back injury flaring up again. Probably triggered by long, harried bike rides across town with a bag packed full of clothes, books, yoga mat and water bottles. Do I have a house? I haven't seen it lately. Like Zen Muffin said, when I am home I say Don't BOTHER me, I'm trying to RELAX. I wrote that two weeks ago; now I'm moving out of my house. More on that later.

Thought of the first time I went to a hot class, (hi john!)and how much pain I had because of the degeneration. Remember feeling nervous for the class, I could hardly bend down without my back freezing me in place. Realizing the importance of stomach muscles. Ha! I've spent most of my adult life letting my belly hang out, trying not to suck in, like hey I love my body, you love it too. Now I get lectures from my yoga instructors to suck in, suck in, suck in. On a bad day I take it personally--okay that's a lie. I take it personally all days.

Like most I've written, this post is spanning several days. On Saturday I took a friend's dog on a long, winding hike up Gregory Canyon/Green Mountain, pausing at the top to call Zen Muffin to talk. The view gave me no clarity, looking back where I'd been just made me look farther back--two years or more since I moved into the house I'm leaving this weekend. In yoga I am, unexpectedly, addressing the ways I do observe myself now. Judgemental and accepting. We did an asana practice a few weeks ago with ear plugs and blindfolds, which was challenging not only to my balance but also to my sense of self in my yoga practice. During Dhanurasana I thought my legs were not as high as they are when I can see them in the mirror, even though I could feel with my body that they were. Waking up to how often I rely on my image for validation. Not just in yoga. Hello, story of my life.

Because of my back I've had to modify some postures. The pain comes and goes and it's hard to say what posture triggers it, and so I've been trying to be safe. There is a lot of emotion in modification. An instructor I really admire and love at CP said having injuries gives you compassion. I don't know. I'm also on Z-Muffin's cleanse and thus far I feel the same, except maybe a little lighter. I should say I have not had much compassion for myself recently. Today is the last day of April. T.S Eliot had something to say about April, the cruellest month. I would not say cruel here, but I submit instead change, which feels cruel when what is changing is something you wish would stay the same. Physically I can feel and see changes in my body. I feel longer, leaner, stronger. My mind is worried today, it is on most days since I decided to move out--prone to exaggeration and dramatics. Last night was an inversion and arm balance workshop and everyone had the attitude of playtime. Yoga sandbox. I began feeling light, happy, excited. Ended by falling out of handstand and blurting out "I KNOW how to do it, I'm just AFRAID!" to Erin. I guess my anxiety caught up with me. Then I felt stupid for the rest of the night. Sometimes I don't want to let go of my expectations, sometimes the disappointment feels good. Like a measure of how badly you wanted something. Anyway I know I'll get handstand to stick. I did peacock, which was surprisingly easy. Again with the core. Hello, abs. I think I have freakishly strong forearms.

Last night I dreamed Laura Kupperman and I were talking about our back issues, and she said when you feel pain just keep lifting your heart, push your heart out over and over again, and then Yoga John showed up with some line about imagining a string attached to my heart being pulled up to the sky. I woke up feeling happy, and late. After her class today my body was buzzing. Now it's six hours later and I've cried twice. Keep lifting my heart, keep lifting my heart.

What is my point? There were other things I wanted to write about, but perhaps they are points we're all destined to miss. I'm looking for change, seeking it out, and I'm still attached to so much. My fear of going upside down even makes me feel nice sometimes. It's just easier. Maybe my fear will give me compassion, too.

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