the place of resource

July 18, 2014

 

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Seated here, crossed-legged,
I am archaic sea creature
Clamped fossil-like to a rock, 
Grafted on the sea's dark floor.

Tentacled, pocked by deep abysses,
I am swaddled, spat, swayed
Within the vast nowhere-cloud
Around me. Clinging, forgotten.

Forgetting. Since rippled womb-hole, 
Aloneness was my primal base;
Reaching beyond flickering fear,
And desires paddling the surface.

But now it reveals its gravity, its grace.
Like a sea creature clamped to a rock;
I am swaddled, spat, swayed
Within the shores of vast awareness 

Within me. This aloneness opens a wave,
I remember, let go and swim into its tide.

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In this poem I am attempting to illustrate a movement, 
a transition of soul, a threshold of thinking, where a sense 
of being in isolation and abandonment, reaching into stories 
of the past, changes into a place of resource, 
of grace, of opening. 

This metanoia, interestingly, and I know this to be true, 
does not occur firstly in the form itself. The 'sea creature 
clamped to a rock' does not alter; what changes in the 
space 'beyond flickering fear and desires paddling the 
surface' is the relationship to the environment, the ocean bed. 

Here aloneness, which to begin with seems to follow the context 
of 'clinging' and being 'forgotten', becomes re-fashioned; 
a primary trueness of our embodied condition is revealed 
(that we are each alone); and yet the word aloneness 
re-appears as the place of opening, of movement, of letting 
go, of connection.

My body uncovered this sea-creature experience during the 
stillness of meditation one morning; a process that had 
started in a yoga class some weeks before when a lifelong 
feeling of imbalance in one foot and leg started to turn around, 
like an eye suddenly aware of the periphery of vision. The 
teacher came over and said words to the effect of 'look away 
from the struggle and see what's here in your spine.'
A hand on that side of my sacrum was enough to understand; 
this was the place of resource, a space from which the place of 
'struggle' could be 'swaddled, spat, swayed', and located in a 
new light. Since, I've had glimpses of the world in a new light.

Vanda Scaravelli, and numerous other practitioners of movement, 
point towards the healing that can happen when we challenge 
our impulse to fix and mend, impose and push (often most 
coarsely displayed in the yoga hall) and give ear to the intelligent 
resources of the body. Here the paradoxes of life are most 
intricately entwined: weight and space, liquid and bone, 
'gravity' and 'grace'. Scaravelli named these resources as 
Ground, Breath and Wave and, like the whole patterning of 
nature, one feeds and enhances the source of the other. 
See here for a day workshop I'm running with Giovanni Felicioni 
in London this October when we will be exploring this very theme.

The last lines of the poem bring in the images of memory, 
swimming and tide, metaphors reminiscent of the 'rippled 
womb-hole' and being born. Finding ourselves in the place 
of resource is therefore a remembering, where the tide of 
life threads us back into an ancestral insight into who we 
really are, where we are free to swim back to the beginning 
(in this context the beginning of the poem) and through the 
cycle of discovery again and again; that our aloneness 
is the wave on which we are brought to the shore, the 
threshold of constant movement, where the other can 
meet us, where the mystery is that we are never alone.

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