When I began a draft for this post, I was writing about the physical journey of getting here (Portugal) and what that evoked in me emotionally. Side-tracked by the miscarriage, the draft has sat and I’ve had time to think about ‘getting here’ in more expansive terms. This rumination is underlined by what I’ve come to understand as an annual cycle of spiritual cleansing that happens for me in the fall. It took me many years to recognize it, but sometime in my mid-twenties I realized that every year, come mid-Autumn, I found myself in the middle of some transformation. Becoming conscious of the cycle has made the occurrence less of a crisis and more of an opportunity; I’ve come to trust the process, to turn my face as directly into what’s scaring me as possible, and to know that change will happen, life will settle and my heart and soul will be clearer on the other side.
So what is the center of it this year? Only as I type these words does it become truly clear. Changing my geographical location is manifesting itself as the perfect opportunity to examine, and flush out, long-standing habits that have long since stopped serving my alignment and happiness. Perhaps the biggest habit is lack of structure/discipline. Some part of me just resists and resists, as if structure inevitability means stasis, which it doesn’t. What I know deeper, and am slowly taking steps to embody, is the knowledge that healthy structure is alive, and supports all the watery, non-linear parts of myself that seem to resist the structure.
For instance, I have an empathic personality, feeling a lot of the emotions of the people and place around me. I have learned to distinguish what is mine and what is not much better than, say 7 years ago, but unless I have some active practice to flush my system of all that energy/information, I tend to feel gunked up, and sluggish. Physical activity is the best way for me to achieve this, especially something like yoga. Yoga is so simple, and yet so effective and far-reaching. So why has it been so hard for me to make this a daily part of my life? I don’t have the answer, but instead of searching for it, I have just started doing at least half an hour of an Ashtanga yoga video in the morning, these past three days. I have often tried to think my way through things when thinking only goes so far, and yoga circumvents that dead-end process. It’s both astonishing and ordinary.
Kale’a recently started school, and I’m noticing that her routine is helping me–it’s something I don’t have to make a decision about, but I do make decisions about how I structure my days around it, and that feels good. Like a gift. So we wake up in the morning, and we each take a quick shower to wake up (Bruno has already awoken early, and is doing his own yoga downstairs). Admittedly, it is hard for me to be patient with Kale’a in the morning, because I crave quiet, and she is such a vivacious little talker. But we’re working on it. She has been helping to cook her scrambled eggs, and I sit and drink my lemon water with her as she eats. Sometimes I eat a little bite then, sometimes not–today I had some bread, butter and cherry jam, to hold me over until after yoga. This morning Bruno, Kale’a and I fed and watered the chickens together, then I took my turn for yoga.
Ashtanga yoga is challenging and intense, and it is a good practice to be where I am with it, learning the sequences, and allowing that I am nowhere near as flexible as the teacher. And it is the practice is important–yesterday Bruno and I were discussing this. Doing yoga daily is not to get more flexible–it is just to do the yoga now, because it brings me back in alignment. Opening myself to communicating more clearly and vulnerably with Bruno is not to get back to some state, but to communicate now, because that is at the heart of our relathionship, this moment-to-moment sharing of life. I find myself wanting to get somewhere with him, and then I am stepping back, shifting focus to getting nowhere and practicing this yoga of heart . . .
And in this yoga of heart, what do I return to in myself? I turn to these words, words longing for expression, imperfect, messy, even disorganized, but alive, born on my breath and through my fingers. Bruno and Kale’a leave for school, and I am learning to sit down, to let all else wait until I have poured forth some part of my soul. I am learning to carve out what is already there, like Michelangelo revealing the form hidden in the particular stone. No form placed on top, only revealing, allowing, flowing, being with. Then the body calls, for lunch and nourishment, and there is simple cooking in the sunlit kitchen. Today there will be tomato soup, a little bit of pork cooked with garlic, salt and pepper, bread delivered to the house last night (bread is delivered Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays!), maybe some fruit. Somewhere in here I will load the laundry, and then later hang it in the sun. There is lavender to prune back. At 2:30 I will leave to pick up Kale’a, and as the weather is still beautiful, we will go to the beach. Home from the beach I will rinse the bathing and wetsuits, hang them up, along with the towels, out to dry. Bath for Kale’a, shower for myself. Kissing my mother-in-law hello, helping with dinner or laying down to read for a bit. Dinner together–Bruno brushes Kale’a’s teeth, and I sing her songs as she quietly–or, like last night–not so quietly wiggles herself to sleep. These past nights I have been quite tired, and wanting to sleep early, but last night Bruno and I started reading out loud to each other again (The Lord of the Rings) and it is a sweet way to combine my desire for intimacy, and reading, and entertainment.
I don’t so much need an answer as to how I got here. I think I have answered that question enough times to have uncovered the threads, follow them back, and then out again. I see their colors in my hand, and I slowly reweave them into a simpler pattern, one that follows life as it is. In cranio-sacral anatomy, we say that form follows function, so I endeavor to choose the forms that support the graceful expression of my soul in this world.