Wednesday, 27 June 2012

its always been this way

Mnemosyne….goddess of memory…the mother of the 9 muses of greek origin…is present now…with this breath….the feel of the woollen wove rug beneath the barefoot soul I extend deeper into it…she is present in the aching of my calves, to stretch this way, that way, extending my limbs in shapes known and ancient…arising from the state of ‘being’, of paying attention, of arriving to my practice destination ‘?’, the intention to open and receive and return home being the map to guide me…music chosen today soft, undulating, reflecting my pulse on this strange humid heavy day…and so I follow, I mean jesus what else can I do?!...and so I follow, and as I pursue in languid fascination the movements of my body, I soften into the edges, opening up a little more into a shaded cavern in the crevices of a city slammed body and mind…breath rushes in, light its friend and I expand…god this feels delicious, and after some time purring contentedly into that shape I feel the impulse to shift, to transform and a new path guides me someplace new…

When I come to my practice with the states of ‘innocence’ and ‘inner sense’ my mantra this is what takes shape….some of the shapes my body responds into, following its own memory, are unknown to me, simply the whispered traces of spirit passing through momentarily..and yet some are known, though fascimiles of the yoga asanas, bound to the memory of my muscle, engrained like habits, serving me well this time (hurrah for ‘good’ habits!), seem older than me, older than the yogi(ni)s first flourishing in forest fabled times..these shapes seem to echo those of my ancestors, my ancients, our ancients, linked through our DNA always and forever, renewing and responding with each new life breathed alive into conscious being…
I am reminded as I practice, and it touches me, that I move in the ways of my tribe…my brothers n sisters of the yoga world, those I share space and sometimes a moment of connection with on the dancefloor of my dance practice, my parents, perhaps dancing their first dance of life on their wedding day, or the dance that created me, the dance of my grandparents (apparently my mother’s folks met at a tea dance at manchester’s famous ‘ritz’ nightclub, a venue I have also frequented and stepped my steps on the bouncy dancefloor (yes really)); the dance of my ancestors moving from lands known to new; the dance of my forefathers and mothers in ceremony, in celebration, for the goddamn pure joy of moving their bodies….

we have always moved..its in our nature…did you know that the familiar shouting out of ‘ole’ in the grandly soul filled dance of flamenco stemmed from its origins in Sufi dance..the twirl and ecstasy of the dancer so provoked the appearance within themselves of ‘god’ that folk would shout out ‘allah’ in recognition and honour of that literally awesome moment…
And so, as my body allows, perhaps for the briefest of moments, a chance to ‘be’ without my head in the control room, my body breath and heart sing spirits unique song through me, linking me with all of life itself…this is why I practice, this is what awakens and wakes me up…my grateful heart rests in wonder as these words roll out to greet you…

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

grab life by the arm....

''grab life by the arm and tear chunks of flesh from its bones with our teeth...''
'100 months' john hicklenton

the sun makes a rare celebrated appearance over the skies of manchester...bringing the bluest of blue sky space...the lighting up of paving stones, arms exposed, wheels glinting, warming skin as one moves to the city beat...maybe the sun knows that its a special energetic day today..the summer solstice...the highest 'yang' point of the year...the longest day...maybe it came out in tribute, basking in its own glow :-)

whilst reading about this shift of the cycles of the earth, i am struck by the fact that today and from this week onwards, we are at the turning point towards 'death'....yikes...did i just write that??!! the sun stands still (the meaning of solstice) it, if you like, now turns around to make its journey inwards, slowly of course (thank god), but inevitably...

the quote that stands at the top of this post i have had stored in my phone for a while of those pieces of word jigsaws that makes a mark, that resonates somewhere well below chin level (if i recall correctly, this '100 months' book is a graphic novel...hmmmm..i love graphic novels!)..i like its almost untamed, wild and animal like tease of how to live life...indeed i have been reflecting lately on whether we really choose to live you give 100% of yourself, to your family, your time with friends, in your lovemaking, to the service we call work, to walking the sun shined streets of your home place? you allow yourself to receive 100% of what life offers to you, letting it seep into the very fibers and pores of your cells, blood, memory, to become integrated in deepest wisdom, foolish adventuring and knowing experience? guess is that, like myself i quite frankly must add, you do not

to practice turning up in all of who we are and how we are into the play called life everyday is the practice of inviting ourselves more fully into being 'alive' each every emotion...every thought...pleasant or otherwise...all of our tools n techniques gleaned from perhaps a multitude of life long learned discilplines gear us towards this simple alive..listen..feel....and soften to fold our kindness and curiousity around all that arises....its our responsibility, 100% to choose either to react (usually through fear), or respond (through love and faith), to the patterns and often chaos that is part of being in the ocean of life

it does feel as though the times we live in are creating a mass of possible change and with that, a sense of chaos...can we dance with the chaos? surrender into its frenzied whirl just enough to ride the waves? in doing so we have a real chance of (cheesy cliche alert!!), swimming in the sea of life ;-)

i am exploring all of this in the ongoing quest towards a life lived more fully...sure, i recognise how often i can disappear 'under water' for a while, bobbing in the mass, waiting to pop up somewhere new, blindly hoping for perhaps jonahs whale to pass by, carry me, and force me out on a pale of exhaled breath and a gallon of water, onto shores new!....hmmmm, perhaps not taking responsibility here me thinks!...not to mention i will not have been paying attention to the journey (shit another new age cliche) or the view!!...

the solstice reminds me, and oh god, how that reminder is always a welcomed balm, to stand drop into feel it all in its imperfectly perfect play of pleasure pain and the passing moments of time...i am learning, slowly, often with a bucketload of resistance, to embrace it all, knowing as i give in and do so, i can, effortlessly surf the seemingly impossible wave (well, i might as well make it a hat trick!)...

water teaches us flow, yet fire is the element associated with this summer solstice, and the task of 'going through the fire', standing in its heat, offering all that we wish to burn up, is the key your heart...soften your belly...and invite into the party all the absent parts we have chosen to leave tucked away, locked up and hidden, that which hurts or pinches the tissues of our memories, all the points and parts that gnaw away at the wonder of our wondrousness, poisoning ourselves against, well, our we drop and pour this obscure and oppressing tangle, the fire in its alchemy blows all to ashes, relieving us, lightening us, allowing the gradual sigh of release into the quiet whispers of the next we we are...

so as we approach the knowing of certain death, one day, some day, we may be sure, with a heart centred certainty, that we gave as much as we could, to the 100% of our uniquely grit n gift filled life!

as stephen levine, meditation and buddhist teacher advises, 'complete your birth before you die' 

solstice blessings lovely beings



Tuesday, 5 June 2012

ways to open the heart number 718!!!!

you know those phrases, those 'cliches' which however much they make you grit ya teeth with a lil rise of irritation, somehow, somewhere within hold the pulse of truth?? well, i have been rolling the following round n round in my mind for the last few weeks now....'if at first you dont succeed, try and try and try again'...along with these words, there are countless phrases that i have read over the years pertaining to the fact that, well, if we make a mistake, or fail, or 'it' goes wrong, then simply acknowledge this, the feeling of disappointment, the hurt, the 'aaawww!!", and when ready, start over once more!

allowing ourselves to fuck up n get it wrong is the path of the, as my teacher would call it, 'recovering perfectionist', the letting go of the reins of control, and loosening up the 'how to's' somehow....its the path of humanness, and the path of taking risks over n over again to walk amongst the living..important for us human beings, less so for the zombie-kind!! ;-)

i have been allowing myself to tip toe tenderly deeper into the pool of the unknown recently, and in doing so, have been facing the slightly 'ouch' creature called disappointment....when i sit with her, i notice her hues and harmonies..slightly off key, she speaks of the torn within me, the ache of the hollow...she sits in the centre of my chest and tears a lil hole in the wholeness of my heart...i want to avoid her, and for many years i did just that very thing...but, in my quest to open more to life, and the softening to let life in to touch me, i am meeting her more fully, possibly for the first time...

i long to know her, what makes her tick, what makes her ticked off, and what can tickle her to shift n shake her tail feather into something richer...i know by avoiding 'meeting' her, i avoid, and turn away from an essential part of the very nature of human risk is to take the chance that we may get disappointed. full stop. and quite frankly, unless we walk around in a cloudy shroud of delusion, the chances are we will meet her somewhere, the dance of relationship, in the corridors of our ambitions and desires, in the throes of family n friendships, and in the day to day unravelling of the ordinary.

i am reminded of how thomas edison, inventor of the light bulb, only had the patent for that particular invention approved after something like 70 or 80 odd other ideas had been rejected!! or that abraham lincoln suffered many a defeat both politically and professionally before becoming president. n if i recall correctly, a certain young jack nicholson was told he couldnt act so give it up!!! i am sure there are countless tales in a similar vein..and yet one thing stands out...they all carried on despite, or maybe even because of those defeats and dis-beliefs, and proved that by continuing to take the risk, to have faith in their dream, anything was possible!

so..taking solace from these stories of fellow human kind, i choose to honour the meeting of disappointment, to welcome her and her gifts, and as i keep softening into all that life offers, remember the words of this beautiful Rumi poem:

The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.