Movement Meditations #3
Movement Meditations #3
(Photography by John Carlson c 2004)
“When moving backward is really moving forward.”
Not even the end of January and all ready I am nursing an injury! Its the usual place that I experience injury- my shoulders and neck. Our bodies seem to assign places, storage centers for the stresses of life. Lower back, knees, eyes, stomach, jaw, the list is endless and unfortunately all too familiar. Of course, there is the story of the injury- the original moment of strain and the inevitable insult to add on. Mine began this time with backing out of a particularly windy, ice-covered driveway. I further complicated things by shoveling massive amounts of snow, instead of letting my body recover. This was nearly 3 weeks ago and by last week the discomfort was enough for me to forgo my yoga and flow classes. Already my best-laid plans towards better health are falling apart and I am the one doing the sabotaging. I wonder should I throw in the towel, drop the classes, and accept my out-of-shape-grumpy-aging body as an inevitable reality?
Fortunately, it occurs to me that perhaps this injury is actually an opportunity to take care of myself in a different way. To say what I really need this day is a gentle walk, a hot shower, and an extra hour of sleep for a few days. What I really need is time to heal, to make an appointment with my chiropractor, slow way down, and do some surveying.
Surveying is a movement form that explores the surface of one’s body much like a surveyor might map a landscape. Pick a place on your body and moves from that place to another along paths suggested by the contact between body and floor, wandering over bumpy bones, along skeletal ridges, into smooth hollows. When I survey I often find myself in spots where it feels like I cannot move forward- to continue in the direction I have set out on will either hurt or is just not physically possible. But discovering a cliff edge at the end of a trail as I hike does not mean I must jump or consider my hike a failure. I have so many options to choose from- I can take out my thermos, drink some tea and enjoy the amazing lookout. I can change direction and explore the extent of the ridge. Or I can simply turn around retrace my steps back the way I came. The journey down is as interesting as the ascent-its is in fact a new trail to follow with a different start and a different end.
Homework: Walk as slowly as possible from one room in your house to another. At some point along the way, retrace your steps, let go of your sense of beginning and destination, all the time moving slower than you think you can. Remember- your body loves to move!
Playlist (Karuna (“Karuna”, “Tibet”) by Nawang Khechog
Symphony No. 3 Op. 36 (“III. Lento-Cantabile Semplice”) by Henryk Gorecki
Playlist (Movement Meditation Class 1/24/08)
Baraka by Michael Stearns
Four Phrases for Separated Clarinets by John Bertles
Cicada by Deuter