Monday, February 25, 2013

Body Language

On Mondays I sit in on a class taught by the epic human being that is Ken. He's a gushing geyser of raw, weighty bits of wisdom, and today one such bit was this: "Tension is our body asking for attention. Listen.. the body doesn't lie."

I started thinking about our bodies as ever-honest entities. When we hurt, it's our body talking. I wish I was fluent in its language, but unfortunately I don't speak aches and pains. The vocabulary of the body is skin condition, headaches, muscle tension, energy levels, digestion.....

Don't revolt. Listen, and respond. Don't ignore or minimize or rationalize your body's voice, it's one of the most powerful voices you can be attuned to. For the record, I am speaking to myself when I say this, but perhaps you can resonate while listening in?

Of course there are tons of physical conditions that we cannot control, like genetic diseases or allergies or cancers... but often, the physiological burdens we frequently tolerate are the body's way of saying we're not being very good caretakers.

I'm imagining if the body never spoke to us.. though I'd love never to have pain or fatigue or any of the other symptoms I frequently experience, silence of the body would foster insidious harm. If I was never notified that things weren't ok, I'd never learn how to take care of myself..

So as much as I hate it when my body seems to be screaming at me in the most uncomfortable way, I'm thankful that it vocalizes needs, that it tells me what it can and cannot handle, and that it speaks the [sometimes brutal] truth.

A piece of me found home again. A piece of me came back to life. It’s just a piece, but it’s an important one. 

I played soccer for the first time in a year- let me repeat that... A YEAR. and I was terrified. It’s strange to think that I was so afraid of something I love so much and that held such paramount importance in my life, but injury and fear can do that to you. Fear of re-injury, fear of having lost any ability I ever had, obscured my love of the game. And though I never thought it’d be possible to stay away as long as I did, I let fear dictate my decision to stay away.

One thing I was afraid of was stepping on the field and realizing I’d never be able to play like I used to... that maybe I’d realize in an instant that soccer would never be the same for me. But I was so wrong it almost brought me to tears.

The field smelled the same, the immediate comfort with a bunch of scrappy guys that I had never met before felt the same, the sweat dripped the same, the ball felt the same.. and within minutes I felt like a part of me finally woke up after hitting the snooze button a few dozen too many times..

This is not to say that I was anywhere near as fit as I used to be, or that I wasn’t rusty, or full of aches and pains.. but just to have gotten back out there felt illuminating. Being injured for awhile makes you realize what a privilege it is to be able to simply move, and play out all the angst and tension held inside. No matter what level you’re at, the luxury of playing is some sacred gift that I’m exponentially more grateful for now than ever before. 

I woke up yesterday morning in a bizarre state, part flustered and part calm. I immediately recalled the dream I had just come out of (this is exactly the dream as I remember it); I was lost in a maze of foliage.. running in every direction, I kept hitting high walls of dense green growth, and no matter how quickly I ran, or how many turns I took, I couldn’t find a clear path. I remember looking straight up at the sky every time I hit a dead end. I must have been waiting for someone to peek their head over the hedge to tell me where to go.. but that head never appeared, and all I was left with was more uncertainty and a neck ache from looking up for answers.

In utter frustration, realizing that my running around yielded nothing but confusion, I sat down where I was. I remember sitting indian style, like a stubborn kid in need of a new plan. I figured if I was this lost, then to hell with the aimless wandering, and all I could do was sit down right there and water the grass around me. If I had nowhere to go, then I could, at the very least, make sure the small surrounding patch of grass was nourished.

..and while recalling this part of the dream it dawned on me, in my groggy, half-awake-ness:

Water while you wait.. 

because sometimes gardens begin in smallest patches.
"In these times I don't, in a manner of speaking, know what I want. 
Perhaps I don't want what I know, and want what I don't know..."
-Marsilio Ficino

This current season of life feels simultaneously busy and aimless. It's a strange pursuit, the search for desire. We often see people searching for opportunities to obtain what they want.. a job, a significant other, recognition etc.. but what do we make of the search for something to desire in the first place? Where do we begin looking? How do we direct our energy when our energy doesn't know where to go?