Little did we know Wednesday
night was our last time at Clara in March. The venue is closed until a
tentative re-open April 1. We pause for a while. Breathe.
Feel. Wonder. My friend Carrie at the front desk stopped me on my
way in that night. Smack dab in mid-life she ushered a friend over the
threshold and the experience moved her in fundamental ways. She wanted to
know of my recent time with my dad and seemed curious about my perspective from
an elder standpoint.
“Do you feel like an orphan?” she asked. No, that’s not how I feel. “Do you feel lonely?” she continued. No, I don’t feel alone at all. “Well, what do you feel?” I closed my eyes, I took a full breath and the truth just fell off my tongue. “I feel as if the very bedrock on which I stand has shifted. And I feel I am standing solid in that new place.”
Much more fundamental than orphan or lonely. And I had one week to be in the grief-world of this massive change before the bedrock began to shift dramatically for all of us. My vulnerability volume is turned way up right now. I weep at the literal drop of a hat. The release is at once personal and global, confusingly woven together. Letting go of my papa will forever be entwined with this mysterious global moment. Others are with me, moving through difficult passages compounded by current events. I am overwhelmed with compassion for us all in this moment.
And the moves I made today to postpone classes—just so not the medicine I need right now. The opposite is needed really. In fact, I had a visceral experience of why we need practice spaces, in times like this more than ever. I was uncharacteristically and utterly still for days on end for the full week from boarding the plane to San Antonio ‘til the Sunday Sweat this past week. In the midst of this stillness, after my dad passed, my brain fell into re-playing the wonder and terror of his last breaths. I witnessed this frightening and seductive repetitive mental loop. It gave me an inside view of how PTSD memory forms. It was so fresh and real even though I knew, like most memories, it would probably shift and soften. Yet to watch it persistently rerun was horrifyingly mesmerizing.
As I moved on that Clara floor Sunday the memory arose several times. I just kept breathing and moving, trusting the practice to hold every bit of it. By the time I settled in at home in the afternoon it was obvious that something super-basic had shifted. The loop had disappeared. The memory had softened, sweetened somehow, became almost desirable, precious. This is how healthy human memory functions. My teacher Gabrielle is oft-quoted here:
“When we free the body, the heart begins to open.
When the body and the heart taste freedom,
the mind won’t be far behind.
And when we put the psyche into motion,
it will start to heal itself.”
I am concerned for us. Community support helps us free the body
and put the psyche in motion. In an effort to sustain us, I’m going to
utilize YouTube, a resource with which I’m familiar. Anyone on line can
access YouTube at no cost. This FIVE-SONG WAVE, just created, is to practice
finding ground as the bedrock shifts beneath our feet. There are simple
instructions on the left but the movement is more important than anything you
read. Turn it on. Trust yourself. Move and feel.
I’ll post mini-waves periodically on good old Facebook. You can friend me if we’re not in that status already. Also Dance Sacramento 5Rhythms is a good place to find out what’s up. The calendar on the web site is up to date. The third in the series of Essentials is cancelled. If you are enrolled look for an email from me. You can request a refund or roll it over for Essential Recharge. And, of course, I am continuing to treat and support individual patients for physical therapy.
The fruit of our practice on the mat and on the floor is ripe for the picking right now. Knee jerk reactivity, addictive screen time, tendency toward inertia are all fingers pointing in the same direction. Pause. Be outside. Move. Breathe. Deep down we know this will pass. And when it does we’ll practice communally again. Because we are in this together.