One Day I Will Rule the World

World Domination, Babies and Middle Eastern Dance

March 6, 2011

The Physical is Emotional

Psoriasis, Cirrhosis, Psoas, Sciatica: words we kept getting mixed up at yesterday’s salon with my family.

At least no one in the group has Cirrhosis. Please.

This weekend I bought more vintage linens and also some kitchen tins. You know, the dated 60s kind for holding your flour and sugar and coffee and tea. It seems almost silly, when you look at all the pretty, ornate, mismatched tins that my family manages to collect, that I went and bought a set (a set!?) of plain white, kind of cheesy kitchen tins. Whatever, I wanted them, and I’m going to get them up in my kitchen and then take a picture and then you’ll see and then you’ll Quit Judging Me- uh yeah. I guess when your family is as tasteful as mine is, sometimes you find yourself measuring everything in your life against their tastes.

I also bought a really lovely green glass oil cruet. It’s a very unusual green – neither that pale depression green nor the deep emerald green that is so common in glassware. I was putting it up on my shelves of green and white things when Ian, carrying Hannah, walked into the kitchen. “Wow,” Hannah said quietly, with an almost-gasp. “You like it?” I asked her. “It’s the one I’ve ever seen in the whole world!” she exclaimed breathlessly. “The one what?” “Yes,” she replied very affirmatively, “in the whole world.”

Speaking of how my family is about tasteful things, when I was leaving my family salon at my Aunt Apple’s house, I stopped to admire the cut wood snowflakes hanging on her front door. “Do you have any more of these?” I asked her. She said that she did. “Would you mind if I borrowed two or three of them for a little bit?” I asked. And she said, “Oh, I’ll just go find the box and you can pick out a couple.”

“What do you want them for?” My mother asked as my aunt walked away.

“I was just going to use them for inspiration for embroidering my new curtains.”

“No! I’ve changed my fucking mind!” My aunt told me. So funny. I hope you can imagine this scene clearly enough to understand the stitches it had me in.

And, as my mum said to her, “Oh like you don’t already have so many tasteful things in your house.”

I told this story to my Aunt VagabondQueen and she said, “well yeah, but we just want to do it all. We want to embroider and sew and knit and quilt and paint and write and yoga and belly dance.”

It’s true. And drum, and bead, and crochet, and build furniture and restore antiques and renovate and fix up old cars and program mobile apps and make and update websites and travel and bake.

Anyhow, she relented and lent me the snowflakes. I guess I’d better do something about those curtains now. Not this weekend though. This weekend I went to two classes at a new yoga studio. This was at my 40-day-challenge instructor’s encouragement. The owners of the studio are friends of hers, and she said she wanted us to think about starting points for other ways to work practice into our lives. She’s ridiculously sweet.

The classes were intense. I am not sure I have ever sweated as much as I did in the last two days. This afternoon, whenever we hung out in down-dog for a couple of breaths, when we came up, there would be drips all across the front of my mat. I would wipe my hand down my face and feel like I was sluicing liquid off my face. I thought, “this is like standing in a rainstorm, that is how wet my face is.” I should clarify that it was awesome.

Afterward, all the coworkers who came along to this field trip class went out for smoothies and we talked yoga – which was kind of nice. Usually we show up to class, we practice, we run for the showers, we get to work. I don’t know if we’ve really taken the time before this to, as a group, share what we thought of it. It wasn’t deep talk, just talking about our progress, what we liked and didn’t like. We talked a little bit about moves that were emotionally intense – ones that aren’t about physical ability, but about feeling not enough in control to let go and get into the move.

One of my coworkers said, “maybe the instructor doesn’t know that your objection to the move is more than physical?” And I questioned, “Surely anyone who’s done yoga for years already knows that sometimes the physical is emotional?”

I don’t know. I mean, certainly, he could think that when students say, “I can’t” that they just mean physically and therefore he needs to push physically – and that belief would be consistent with a very western setup of fitness-student-teacher relationships.

But it seems to me that even most of your physical-physical blocks are going to be, truly, mental or emotional blocks, and I suppose I hope or expect that anyone practicing yoga is already coming from a mindset of understanding how linked the mind and the body are.

I guess what I believe is that most of the hurts we don’t address, or can’t fully address emotionally, become stored in our bodies physically. And sometimes you can heal the body by healing the mind. But, also frequently, you do whatever it takes to heal the body, and as you work on the dysfunctions in your body, the root mental/emotional issues are released and have to be dealt with as they come up.

That was, actually, the biggest reason I hesitated about taking yoga with my coworkers. Because, as much as I want my lower back to be strong and flexible again, I suspect that getting there is going to be not just physically, but really emotionally intense.

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