Took a few days to read a New York Times Magazine special feature about the past, present and future of the human life span. I had to take it in mini-bouts. Put our current state of affairs into stunning perspective. Did you know that between 1920 and 2020 the average human life span doubled? A number that never really varied much throughout human
history? That until mid 18th century, 35 years was all you got? If you were lucky. Because only three out of five children survived to brief adulthood.
Three pivotal breakthroughs shifted all this: germ theory, antibiotics and (you guessed it) vaccines. Each development a fascinating story woven of scientific curiosity, public resistance and socio-political activism. Take vaccines: there’s evidence the original vaccine—variolation—originated in India thousands of years ago. By the 1600’s variolation was saving lives in China, India and Persia. Enslaved Africans brought it to the American colonies. This scientific technique has been around the block for centuries. But it took social and political activism to bring it to widespread use. And begin gifting us years beyond 35. And, as with every other breakthrough, once again we’re experiencing the resistance that inevitably accompanies change.
The long and winding road eradicating small pox, cholera and typhoid is paved with different details but the same elements. Chlorination, pasteurization, penicillin. Science first, activism second. And the creativity and inventiveness resulting in reduced mortality has opened a Pandora’s box of new problems. Can earth support this long-lived population? Some believe our interconnected globe and its dependence on industrial livestock is leading us into an age of pandemic. Population explosion and climate change are intricately entwined. Oh lord. Enough already.
I put the article down and looked out into my garden. The flowers know nothing of this and keep on blooming. The tomato plants are setting fruit. The sky is vast, infinite, incredible. I am still breathing, grateful, present. Curious how to navigate these monumental changes and scale them down to a local, practical, rooted in the moment level. How to continue to serve community in the face of all this.
Somewhere in all this musing I feel the onus of responsibility shifting. For more than a year, I willingly embraced a form of guardianship. Finding ways to keep us safe AND connected: teaching on line; distance garden dancing Sundays; Wednesday Waves on/off with masks, fans, open doors; Essential Recharge for the vaccinated. I’m not sure when to let go. When to trust that our individual self-care choices will not put ourselves or others at risk. It feels like the burden of responsibility may be moving on to the shoulders of the unvaccinated. Clearly I don’t know. It just keeps changing and I keep placing my finger on that pulse. Listening.
So I’ll keep offering up this strange hybrid. Because it is in the field of practice where clarity continues to arise. For me, for you, for us. This is how the current hybrid looks:
- ON LINE Dance Essentials Saturday May 15 10:00-11:30. So turned on teaching Unbound with Erik Iversen last Saturday. Exposing a contingent of folks around the globe for their first experience on a foam roller. And the way it ushers us into the free form joy of dancing through space. Really. This Saturday we start with release, move into dance and end with stretch/shivasana. Ninety minutes of joy in the safe comfort of your home.
- LIVE Wednesday Waves Clara May 19-June 30 6:30-8:30. Eight sessions, limited to 12 participants. The incomparable depth of a committed group. Beginning our session with physical distance, masks, fans, open doors. Feeling into the group, arriving at consensus about these details as we begin to move together.
- LIVE and ON LINE Sunday Sweat Your Prayers May 16 10:00-11:30. I’m up front this week simulcasting from the garden. We continue to keep physical distance out there, masks optional…so much space.
- ON LINE Essentials every Thursday/Friday 10:00-11:30 in May. Choose your day, lay out your mat: roller, tennis balls, blocks, blanket. 90 minutes to release those fascial binds, access/tone deep subtle core, stretch out those needy tight spots, feel it come together in asana. Drop in; recordings always available; music always stellar.
- LIVE Essential Recharge 11:30-1:30 Saturday May 22. For the vaccinated, pre-enrollment required. Over the top amazing to be with you in the flesh last month. A good landing zone if you are new to practice, great support for cyber-practitioners. This month I’m bringing a box of infamous pokey balls so we can get a bit deeper into shoulder and hip release.
- LIVE Cultivate Being residential retreat July 23-25 Four Springs Center. Yes, you read that correctly. This is the fifth in a five year series that we had to cancel exactly one year ago. We will be dancing, making art, swimming in the pool, frolicking in the forest from Friday night to Sunday noon. My son Ross is catering the event. Who knows? Maybe I’ll make some soup! Harbin Hot Springs is four miles away. I’ll be at Harbin all day Friday and will return there after the retreat on Sunday. Masks will be optional at this residential gathering. Take a moment to read the details and join us please!
Take a look out your window right now. Take a full breath in and out. In this moment it appears all is well with the world. I’ll take that.