enrolled in the school of life….12-2-14

Ever feel washed, wrung out, hung to dry? I spent yesterday afternoon couch-curled, sunk in recovery, a bit breathless from two over-the-top weeks. Many extraordinary things came to pass in a brief chunk of time and on this rainy morning stretching empty before me, quiet drapes my shoulders and I recall a Mary Oliver line: “what was that beautiful thing that just happened?”

Right in the middle of this roller coaster was the peak of Attunement, a great holiday gift workshop for all present. Astounding how much I received as I straddled the fence of producing, working and participating, since I had never multi-tasked quite like that. Ever. I harvested three inter-woven pieces that keep circulating and surfacing and here, in this quiet space, I flesh them out more fully, allow writing to capture what feels so ephemeral. If that’s even possible.

I’ve spiraled around this first piece again and again. Years ago when my son was recovering from grave illness, I needed to tend my own recovery along with his. My heart was so shut down, closed for business under the duress of a year’s intensity. My sense of wonder, ability to laugh, access to lightness or joy or bliss…gone. Fortunately, my intuition was intact. I joined a singing group that provided an immediate heart jump-start. That was 23 years ago. If you know me at all you have heard this ad nauseum: I was born into, always been comfortable in my body and my mind is a (too) well-developed instrument. The final frontier? Uncover, unshackle, continue to open this heart. I have re-remembered the singing path to heart access time and again. Using my voice in song for three days, and everyday since, is doing wonders…and it is not necessarily about bliss. Feeling some hard stuff…but the key word here is “feeling”. And creating sound, especially while I am moving, is a truly heart-healing modality. Maybe this time I won’t forget that.

We sang four Sufi phrases over and over and over. They circulate in my blood, shed in my tears, I wake in the night to their continual re-play. They counsel me to remember my strength, power and endurance to be with things as they are and to heal. To heal from wounds inherited and those I have played forward. To bow to those wounds as the source of my greatest gifts. To drop all grudges, to let go, to turn toward the light. This is, of course, a life long process and I feel a bit caught in some crosshairs. Paraphrasing Gabrielle here…I have been turning suffering into art for many years. This is essentially what we are up to in the dance. That art turns into awareness and I am grateful for this reliable deliverance to insight. But the final piece – letting that awareness turn into action – well there’s the rub. This piece I’m working with, this piece that feels centuries old…seems the only action has been to develop as a steadfast witness. Watching myself repeat an ancient pattern that no longer serves, simultaneously looking this gift horse in it’s awful mouth. A difficult crossroads. Staying with.

The third piece? I had the magnificent unfolding task of playing music two sessions a day at this workshop. This was the medium to enter into every square inch of our bodies, feel the life force pulsing through us, connect with our breath and each other. This was no warm up. And the whole concept of “warm up” came under close scrutiny for me once again. There are only three Thursday Fall Wave classes left in this series and I’m not sure where we’re travelling but I know business as usual needs to be tossed until next year. Come for two waves: the first will set the tone (see above), the second will be the next dive in.

I guess at this point I am just enrolled in The School of Life and it’s always best for me to hold space for us when I am moving in this stream. The four phrases – ya aziz, ya gaffar, ya gafur, ya tawwab; the Gabrielle quote – suffering into art into awareness into action…somehow this will be fodder for this week in class.

Come move with me…Thursday, Friday, Sunday…